Kumite Scoring System

Kumite rules are a little bit confusing, specially if you are not familiar to Karate at all. Many people have argued over the years that this was one of the main reasons that it was so hard for Karate to be considered an Olympic sport; it was simply not that attractive.

As an athlete myself, I`d have to say that even for us sometimes was complicated, because the rules changed so much during the years.

In case case, regarding the scoring system, this is a nice simple video that the WKF made.

 

Share it with your parents! They will appreciate it!

Don’t plan your failure!

Sounds harsh, but that´s exactly what happens when you don´t plan at all. Planning the year for a dojo is very important because once the routine starts rolling, sometimes it´s difficult to gain perspective and slow down.

Remember that there are 2 key stakeholders; the students and the parents. If you want to have a successful dojo, you should please both of them and give them as much information as possible. When I say information, I mean dates basically.

The students should know the dates well in advance so they can get prepared for the following activities:

  • International Competitions
  • National Competitions
  • Local Competitions
  • Exams and belt test
  • Regular Training
  • Specific Training
  • Physical Training
  • Seminars
  • Special Activities

Many people often ask me, why should we give them all this information? The answer is simple, each family has its own reality and they also need to organize themselves. So if you want that student to attend to all your activities, then give them the information with as much time as possible.

Having that said, parents as a stakeholder is almost self-explanatory.  Parents are the ones that pay for their children afterschool activities and sports. They also should know what is the big picture, when are the payments due, etc.

Whenever you start hearing from a mother or father that their child is not participating in an activity because they were not aware of it or the information was sent too late, then that raises a red flag.

By the way, if you are an instructor that teach in several dojos, then planning your year is mandatory. No ifs ands or buts.

Just as schools have their calendar, a dojo should have one.

So get to work!

 

Planifica tu éxito deportivo

Hay una cita de Benjamin Franklin a la cual recurro con frecuencia; “Quién fracasa en planificar, planifica su fracaso”. Ahora, ¿Qué tiene que ver esto con el éxito deportivo?

Mucho, y diciendo mucho probablemente me quedo corto.

Los atletas y alumnos (independientemente de su nivel) deben prepararse para alcanzar una determinada meta y el proceso de preparación debe hacerse por intervalos de tiempo definidos. Estos intervalos de tiempo se llaman ciclos.

Los ciclos pueden variar en su duración, normalmente oscilan entre 4-6-8 semanas y cada ciclo tiene diferentes objetivos.

Lo primero que debemos hacer antes de empezar un ciclo es saber cuál es el punto de partida tanto físico como técnico.  Con respecto a la parte física, Hay pruebas aeróbicas que se hacen en la trotadora, remo, bicicleta que duran 5 minutos dónde se busca medir el esfuerzo máximo. Existen otras como el test de cooper que también son válidas. El punto con esto es que al finalizar el ciclo, la persona debería tener una mejora en su rendimiento si su fase de preparación fue efectiva. Con respecto a la parte técnica, esta es un poco más compleja dado que hay diferencias en la preparación para el kata y el kumite. Hay instructores que se inclinan por mezclar la parte técnica con la física, ejemplo repeticiones de patadas, mientras que hay otros que se van por el lado meramente técnica y se apoyan en grabaciones de videos para comparar.

Algo importante a resaltar de los ciclos es su intensidad. No todas las semanas se trabajan con la misma intensidad ni tiempos de descanso. Eso varía según el calendario y obligaciones de cada atleta. En lo personal, me gusta la progresión lineal de intensidad, bajando la última semana antes del evento.

Ahora que está empezando el año es clave que tanto los instructores como los atletas se sienten a planificar su año respondiendo las siguientes preguntas:

  • ¿Cuál es el evento más importante del año?
  • ¿El segundo y tercero más importante?
  • ¿Qué me sirve de fogueo?
  • ¿Cuál es el objetivo del ciclo?
  • ¿Cómo me organizo para entrenar el físico y lo técnico?

Esto los debe orientar un poco, pero como siempre, para cualquier duda estamos a la orden.

Éxito!

 

 

 

 

Yo Quiero, Yo Puedo, Yo Voy

¨El único obstáculo entre tu y tus sueños eres tu mismo¨.

Esa frase la leí por primera vez hace más de 10 años y hoy coincido con ella más que nunca. Definitivamente nuestra mente es capaz de jugar a favor o en contra de nosotros en cualquier determinado momento, pero si verdaderamente creemos en un sueño, entonces no hay obstáculo lo suficientemente grande como para detenernos.

Recuerdo que la primera que fui como adulto a un campeonato internacional estaba muy nervioso en la fase de preparación. Una vez que la emoción bajaba la intensidad, siempre recaía en la misma sensación de duda.

Dudaba de mi mismo, de mis capacidades y por ende perdía mi foco muy rápido. Sin embargo, tuve la suerte de toparme con la historia de Tony Melendez, el guitarrista Nicaragüense que no tiene brazos.

Su historia inspiró de tal manera al equipo, que se terminó convirtiendo en el slogan de ese viaje.

En lo personal, escribí su frase: Yo quiero, yo puedo, yo voy, en el espejo de mi baño, y durante 6 meses la leía todos los días.

Aquí les dejo el video de la entrevista en dónde sale la frase.

Que lo disfruten.

 

 

 

 

CRM: ¿Necesario en un Dojo?

Primero definamos qué significa CRM, por sus siglas en inglés, Customer Relation Management.

“El CRM designa el conjunto de las estrategias, herramientas y técnicas que permiten registrar, gestionar y enriquecer las relaciones con los clientes —actuales, e incluso los antiguos a los que se quiere reconquistar— y los clientes potenciales. “

Ahora bien, ¿es necesario en un Dojo? La respuesta es si.

El CRM busca en pocas palabras mejorar la experiencia del cliente. En un Dojo, el cliente es tanto el alumno como el padre/madre que lo lleva y paga sus clases. Esto es importante entenderlo, porque muchas veces no está claro y los instructores se olvidan que deben satisfacer a ambos.

CRM es un tema complejo, profundo, pero necesario. Es clave para poder diferenciarse de la competencia y de otras artes marciales.

Próximamente vamos a ir entrando en el tema y a desarrollar ejemplos y tareas que se pueden hacer dentro del dojo en pro de la experiencia.

 

 

Sottaku Doji: What it means and how it relates to education within the Dojo.

The literal translation of this expression is: “Simultaneous pecking from the inside out”. It refers to the action that occurs between the chick that is about to be born and its mother, so that together they can break the shell of the egg.
When this action occurs simultaneously, something special happens, the chick opens its eyes to the world. However, if the mother decides to break the egg prematurely, the chick will basically die. And on the other hand, the chick will never be able to get out by itself just for more pecks that he tries.
This analogy also occurs in Karate or in any martial art. A few years ago my Master Hitoshi Kasuya at a seminar in Tokyo told us about this expression and its relationship in the dojo.

 

A student may be very keen to learn something specific, for example a technique for kumite or a jump from a kata, but if his Sensei does not identify that need or does not dedicate quality of time, then the student will not be able to advance technically.

It also happens that a Sensei can have all the disposition, time and desire to teach, but if his student does not pay attention to him, if he is not conscious at that moment, then neither will the student be able to improve and deepen his technique.

That’s why the moment of Sottaku Doji inside the Dojo is so special. When that moment occurs, when the student’s thirst to learn equals the Instructor’s willingness to teach, then there are no limits to what both can achieve.
Now, if we go to the dynamics of a class in a traditional dojo, we can realize that reaching or identifying this level of synergy between student-Instructor is complex, among other things because of the number of simultaneous students that are

in the class. That is why it is always advisable, regardless of the number of students you have, to take the time to listen to each one. Evaluate it separately, identify the real need of each person.
Only then can we give as Instructors that key advice or correction that will change the direction of our student.

Key processes for a successful dojo management

How can a Dojo be classified as successful? Is it the medals it wins in a competition? The Instructor´s credentials? How about the number of students it has? Or is it the number of full capacity classes it has during a week? It´s not a simple question, however from a strictly business point of view, a Dojo is successful when it is financially sustainable.

Many Karate instructors often fear approaching a Dojo from a business point of view because they think it might damage their reputation or have a negative impact in the Karate community. However, I believe that, like anything in life, a Dojo needs a balance between the technical side and the business/management side.

In Venezuela there´s a common saying: “Amor con hambre no dura”, that means that a love relationship will not last very long if there´s hunger. That principle or saying is perfectly applicable to a Karate Dojo, or at least it´s essence. I have seen and heard of many great instructors and top level competitors who own a Dojo but their expectations with the project have not been fulfilled. In many cases the cashflow is too slow, in others is the communications difficulties with the parents, now and then the initial investment was too high, or at times is the marketing and social media invest that is out of control,  but in most cases it´s just simply lack of proper management tools.

As a Karate Instructor for over a decade now and a dojo owner myself, I´ve identified 5 key processes that have helped not only to reach a breakeven point very fast but also to enjoy performing in both sides of the tatami.

This is not a recipe, but rather key questions you need to ask yourself and your team periodically. From my experience, this answers pave the way to a roadmap that will take you from where you are to where you want to be.

  1. Training: this is the technical side, or what happens on the tatami. From a business point of view, this is your product. Key questions: Who´s your target? Is it children under 12 years old? Are they teenagers? Seniors? What are they looking for: self-defense, conditioning, competition? How many classes do you have during a weekday? Weekend? Is the Instructor following a program? Is the Instructor capable of managing small-medium-large classes?
  2. Marketing: If you don´t sell your product, who will? A strategic marketing plan is the secret not only to differentiate yourself from other martial arts, but it´s the way to capture new students and keep the cycle going. In all dojos, students come and go, however it´s recommended to use simple and low cost marketing mediums such as social media to create brand awareness and if successful enough, create the necessity. Key questions: How much are you willing to invest monthly? How much does a new student cost? Do you have a graphic designer? Do you know anything about social media or publicity?
  3. Fundraising: it doesn´t matter if you own one dojo or ten dojos, fundraising is very important in order to reach big goals. Dreams come in many sizes: sometimes is a tournament you want to participate in, or maybe a seminar. Every so often is the construction of an office or to bring a top level competitor to the dojo. In any case, when you don´t have the funds, you should knock on some doors. Key questions: Who´s doors are you knocking? What do you plan to show to that potential sponsor for that important event; a letter? Presentation? Nothing at all? Are there any benefits or incentives for that sponsor? What´s the exposure that they will have? Is their support tax deductible? Can you make an alliance with this company/person?
  4. Administration: This is without a doubt the core process of the dojo management. Without a clear, objective, but above all a well-organized administration, you might as well be the lost son of Bruce Lee, but your dojo is not going to be successful. Key Questions: Are your students paying on time? Do you charge late fees? Do you sell suits, shirts and protection? How often? Are you paying a just salary to the Instructor? Is he/she happy? How many dropouts do you have per month? Do you have a profit at the end of the month? Do you have any reserves for an emergency?
  5. CRM (Customer Relation Management): Who pays the classes? The parents. Then in that case, your parents are as important as your students. You need and should have them both happy. They need attention and above all, they need to be informed. This is not an easy task, but you should be aware that in many cases the parents don´t understand the dynamics of the Karate world. Key questions: How often do you have a meeting with the parents? Do you send them emails or text them frequently? Birthday gifts? Christmas party? Do they feel you care? Are you building a community? Do they have fun?

 

Managing a Dojo could be a very complex task, or as I like to put it, a series of small well- defined simple tasks. It´s your choice. When I opened my first Dojo I did not have the answers to all these questions, but I followed a well-known advice: I asked for help. Guess what? It´s OK.

Keep training, keep managing, and I will be further developing each process in future articles.

HiiT Training for Karate

Many people wonder what´s the best way to complement the Dojo training; is there some kind of secret or magic potion? Truth be told, there are no shortcuts for success, however, there are some very effective ways in which an athlete can take his conditioning to a more competitive level.

Welcome HiiT training, or High intensity interval training. These type of training is basically when you alternate between high and low intensity exercises or between a high intensity exercise and a short period of rest. Typically these intervals range between 10 seconds to 30 seconds.

If you don´t have any idea about this type of training, the pros and cons, the rest you need to have, I suggest these two short readings: The American College of Sports Medicine has a very clear brief about this type of training which is very helpful https://www.acsm.org/docs/brochures/high-intensity-interval-training.pdf and I also found this well referenced article that addresses the stages of a workout: https://www.precisionnutrition.com/all-about-hiit

Many Mix Martial Artists in the UFC (the famous octagon) train this way because of the huge benefits it has regarding fat loss, blood pressure and conditioning.

For Karate it´s very useful for both Kata and Kumite athletes. In Kumite for example, all matches have several “Yame” to either score a point or to give a warning/penalty to on competitor.  Consider this your rest period. In other words and strictly from a conditioning point of view, in a tournament a Kumite is just a set of work and rest intervals. Same thing applies to Kata. All Katas have a rhythm or a pace, but it´s speed actions usually are no longer than 3-4 techniques followed by a slow movement.

I just started a 6 week training program and it is awesome. It definitely takes a toll on the body but you feel the improvement of your performance in a short period of time. One very important thing, it´s recommended that your rest the next 24 hours after this type of training. What you want to avoid at all cost, is overtraining.

I´m going to be posting Workouts 3 times a week, so feel free to ask any questions.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sottaku Doji: Qué significa y cómo se relaciona con la educación dentro del Dojo.

La traducción literal de esta expresión es: “Picoteo simultáneo de adentro hacia afuera”. Se refiere a la acción que ocurre entre el pollito que está a punto de nacer y su madre, para que en conjunto puedan romper la cáscara del huevo.

Cuando esta acción ocurre en simultáneo ocurre algo especial, el pollito abre los ojos al mundo. Sin embargo, si la madre decide romper el huevo antes de tiempo, el pollito básicamente morirá. Y por otro lado, el pollito jamás podrá salir por si solo por más picotazos que intente.

Esta analogía también ocurre en el Karate o en cualquier arte marcial. Hace unos años mi Maestro Hitoshi Kasuya en un seminario en Tokio nos habló de esta expresión y su relación en el dojo.

Continue reading “Sottaku Doji: Qué significa y cómo se relaciona con la educación dentro del Dojo.”

Welcome!

DojoFi is a place to experience Karate beyond the Dojo. Is a way to live your passion with a 360° view.

Dojo = place where one embarks in search of the way

Fi = faithful/loyalty in Latin.

My name is Tomas Hernandez and I´m from Venezuela. I started practicing Karate when I was 3 years old, and now, 30 years later, my motivation is proportional to my many questions. I´m a 4th Dan (4th Degree Black Belt) of the World Shotokan Karate – Do Federation (WSKF), a telecommunications engineer and I have a master’s degree in political science with a specialization in communications.

My mission is professionalize Karate on and off the tatami with a holistic view of the martial art. I´m going to take my experience as an Instructor, Competitor, Entrepreneur and Engineer and share that information with all my readers.

I truly believe that content is vital in the digital age, hence what you´re going to read here is:

  • High performance physical and technical training
  • Mind Training
  • Dojo Management
  • Education for children
  • Budo and philosophy of Karate Do

 

With all that said, it´s time to get to work.  Thank you and enjoy!

PS: I´m going to be writing both in English and Spanish.