Finding Inspiration and Focus for Your Karate Students

At this time of year you know class can be REALLY challenging to teach…

  • People are busy…
  • Class numbers are down…
  • Kids can’t focus with their schedule changes and the excitement of the holiday season is upon us…
  • And if you’re in the USA you know as well as I that flu season just hit and compounded everything even more…

The end result can be low morale at the dojo…

Low morale leads to frustration…

Frustration leads to anger…

Anger leads to the dark side…

Whoaaah, hold on a minute Master Yoda. Let’s back up a little. Things aren’t that bad! Sheesh!

Seriously though, how do you find inspiration and then focus an unsettled karate class that has become distracted?

Last week for the first time in ages, I was battling this problem in my beginner class for my 8-14 year old group. Instead of learning their kata, the 12 or so kids in the class were more intent on talking, messing around, looking out the window, yada, yada, yada.

You know what I mean…

(Wait – is every one of your classes like that? You might need this to help)

kataAnyhow… after a few of them came up and performed their kata with all the enthusiasm of pot-smokin’ lobsters, I was ready to ask Master Yoda for advice.

Just then I had light bulb moment. One of my junior 1st kyu students was waiting in reception and I asked him to come onto the tatami.

“Joel, would you please do a kata for the class?”, I requested.

“Sure Sensei!”, a somewhat startled but honored Joel bowed in and quickly took the center of the mat.

Joel, performed his kata Jiin, with speed, focus and power while the class watched with mouths agape.

After he’d finished, I asked “How old are you Joey?”

“Eleven”, he replied.

I thanked Joel and asked the rest of the class to line up. I explained to the class that Joel started nearly 4 years ago in this very same class, and that next year he would be attempting his junior black belt. I also communicated that if they started to train harder and put forward more effort, there was no reason why they couldn’t attain the same level.

Two days later the atmosphere in that same class had completely flipped. The energy was high, and all students were giving their best.

Sometimes it just takes a little inspiration to kick start a class.

What other ways can you think of to lift the energy of your students?

 

 

Leave a Comment