Zen Martial Arts Center

Sacramento Martial Arts and Karate

Recently, I have been directing weekly lessons to all of the assistant instructors at the school--things that we can all work on as teachers to make us better, our classes more engaging, and our dojo stronger. This is much like the training that my teachers, gave me. I thought I would share a recent lesson with the entire dojo to give you an idea of the kinds of things my "staff" of volunteers and I are working on:

The Core Philosophies of our School

Your reason for teaching may be different than mine. You might be here because you want to run your own dojo one day. Or maybe you want to get better at your own karate by teaching. Perhaps you just want to give back what your teachers have shared with you. If your experience is like mine, your reasons for teaching and assisting may change over the years, and that is ok. Whatever the reason, it is important that you know, understand, and embrace the core philosophies of our school. I will share them with you.

Out of the dojo and into the world—This phrase has resonated with me since the day I heard it spoken by Tom Callos. It would be very narrow thinking of us as teachers to limit what we teach to that which is effective and useful only on the mat or in the ring. Every class is an opportunity to teach or reinforce something that can be applied to the wide spectrum that is all of life. Compassion, Respect, Honor, have all been a part of karate since the beginning. Many schools have forgotten this, so I ask that you help me to keep these ideas alive in our school.

Creating Futures with the Wisdom of the Past—We teach Traditional Okinawan Karate. It’s ok to step outside of that box and play with new techniques and concepts, especially for use in our modern world, but please don’t forget our heritage. I have promised myself, my teachers, and our students that I will not sacrifice the integrity of our art. I believe that traditional karate has a lot to offer a modern world.

Inspire through Doing—Lead from the front. And I don’t just mean by getting down and doing pushups with students (although this is important too). What I mean is that often, the best teaching that we do is by simply working on ourselves. As an instructor you are obligated to continue to create a martial arts lifestyle for yourself. This is going to be different for everyone, but please, share it! Tell us about how you are practicing being mindful with your diet, keeping your cool in traffic, your struggle with an injury. Crafting our “personal life-lessons” into “everyone life-lessons” is the mark of a master teacher. Start practicing today by posting journal entries on the ZenMartial.com website.

This Week

  1. Pay attention to the ‘temperature’ of the class. Just try to feel the energy and rhythm of the group. Look for the big picture and even extend this off of the floor as well. What is the energy like among the parents and spectators?
  2. Post a journal entry that shares your thoughts on one of the philosophies mentioned above. How have you seen these elements manifested in the dojo? Your life?

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Comment by Chris Hadlock on February 20, 2012 at 8:27am

Love it :)

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