As good as it gets
Recently I visited a local karate school run by a friend of mine in a North Western suburb of Fort Lauderdale. The layout of the facility was very basic and on quite a different scale from our Dojo (training hall) . From his entrance door a hallway stretches to the main Dojo in the back of the suite. A series of three small rooms, each about the size of my office, are lined up in a row, with the first serving as a reception area, the second as his office and the third as a small Dojo for private lessons. The main Dojo in the back is one quarter the size of our main Dojo, just the size around one of our four ring areas. A class was in progress with an instructor teaching twelve students who only had the space to execute one technique before having to turn around.
I have trained in many different places including gyms, spas, homes, and warehouses, some with air conditioning and some without. Obviously the style and the teacher are important factors which determine which school a student chooses; however, the facility that offers the classes can also be a major factor in the process of making the decision regarding where to train. One of our former students who moved to Northern Florida contacted us to explain that their new Dojo was a small room, again about one quarter of the size of our main Dojo, in the back basement of a warehouse district office building. The room had no air conditioning and smelled badly from all of the sweat collected in the carpet from the intense training of the ten to fifteen people that attended each class.
I have a desk calendar which has “Word Origins” on it. Last week the word “able” came up; meaning “to have” or “to hold”, also “easily held” or “easily managed”. Upon reflection it occurred to me that having a well-appointed facility enables classes to be easily held and easily managed. While having access to great instruction is of paramount importance, once you know that you have that, it is also a big plus to be comfortable while you train and learn. We do not want to have the A/C so cold that we cannot break a sweat , but we also do not want to risk nausea from the smell, or be so cramped for space that we cannot properly practice our skills.
Much of what happens in the Martial Arts has to do with the Feng Shui, or placement of objects in space, and this is reflected not only in the techniques that we teach, but also in the way that we direct traffic in the physical space of the karate school. Our Dojo has been built out to allow up to four hundred students to train in the forty classes a week that we offer. With our present enrollment we have room for expansion, and we have enough space in our twin Dojo that we can add more classes whenever we need to. Since we have a beautiful Dojo that we can all be proud of I would like to encourage you to invite your friends to visit us with a view to joining our classes.
C 2004 Sensei Robert H. Mason
Martial arts teaches many things to kids, and adults too!
Martial arts is featured in many forms of entertainment these days. There is Sandy the squirrel on SpongeBob Square Pants and karate moves in the ads for Yoplait yogurt; there are the movies for adults like “Hero” and “Kill Bill” and others. The Power Rangers are still going strong and Walker Texas Ranger is in syndication.
Almost half of all practitioners of martial arts are between six and seventeen years old according to the Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association. Martial arts can help kids who are bullied, kids who are overweight, kids who are ill-mannered, kids who are distracted and kids who need to reduce stress and clear their minds. At this time of the year, with all of the kids back in school and parents looking to set their activities for the year, now is a great time to refer us new students for our youth programs. For adults martial arts can give a break in a busy schedule while allowing students to let off steam and develop new skills and abilities for personal growth and self-defense. As part of our new referral program this fall we are giving members a $30.00 credit towards belt graduation fees for each new student that they refer for an Introductory Course. This is in addition to the bonus we give later in the process, when a referred student signs up for a membership program.
A note on dealing with Fear and Discomfort
“I can say, I am terribly frightened and fear is terrible and awful and it makes me uncomfortable, so I won’t do that because it makes me uncomfortable. Or I could say, get used to being uncomfortable. It is uncomfortable doing something that’s risky. But so what? Do you want to stagnate and just be comfortable?” -Barbara Streisand, Award-winning actor and entertainer