I've been a keen karate student for 16 years, Shukokai and Shotokan, but there still seems to be no shortage of things to learn and explore. I'm hoping this blog will allow me to share my experiences and hear other martial artists thoughts.

Smiles better

The Shukokai club I train at has a really great family atmosphere. We have a good number of mums and dads that train alongside their sons and daughters. We also have lots of juniors who train with the club right into their teens and beyond. A good few posts ago I wrote about our Sensei David and how I think he does a great job leading our club.

In all fairness he’s not alone. He’s ably assisted by Sensei Karen, with whom he forms a great partnership, and the other senseis.

The prompt for this post is my bringing home yesterday of the trophy that is awarded each week to the student who has worked hardest. It’s predominantly awarded to junior students but every once in a while a senior gets a look in. The awarding of the trophy is a really nice moment at the end of the training session. The senseis will put their heads together and decide on the student they think has had a really good session. The student goes up to the front of the class, applauded by their fellow student, collects the trophy and raises it up to the cheers of the class.

I think finding ways to incorporate nice moments like this into a club give it a much more inclusive friendly feel. The student, young or a little bit older :-), getting the trophy enjoys receiving recognition for their efforts. And the other students, who in a larger class might not have the chance to see all the other students training, get a sense of which of their fellow students has trained particularly well.

A longer standing little tradition is the club’s celebration of a students birthday. At the end of the class the student or students enjoying birthdays join the line-up of senseis and then does press-ups while the club ‘sings’ Happy Birthday to them. It might seem small potatoes but again after a hard session’s training it puts a smile on everyone’s face and makes sure no-one is a stranger within the club.

The learning of Karate always needs to be the focus of the club and there are certainly times when it’s appropriate that students are challenged. Learning to perform beyond our perceived limits for eaxmple is I think a really important students of Karate learn. But I don’t think it harms that learning, and perhaps aids it, to have a friendly fun spirit within a club.

I truly enjoy being part of a club that stretches me as a Karateka, gives me the space to explore new things and gives me a chance to share my learning with others by nature of it’s friendly spirit. Nor does it surprise me that the club seems to be in fine health as a result.




  bearshouse wrote @


  nwukshukokai wrote @

Hey Bear, cheers for taking a look at my post. After reading about the temperature extremes you all endure in your dojo I’ll be sure never to have a whinge about being only slightly chilly or warm in comparison. I really enjoyed your Eternity and Perspective post. I love those moments it feels like all those preoccupying thoughts clear and you see something beautiful right in front of you. I love just lying on my bed looking out into a sky full of clouds just drifting by.

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