Value — continued

I count myself as extremely fortunate to have been given the opportunity to train in multiple styles of martial arts, with a number of highly skilled instructors.  Over the years I have been exposed to the teaching styles, leadership, and philosophies of martial artists from all walks of life.  One of the things I’ve learned in my studies, is that every instructor is different.  It makes no real difference what the style, system, or organization is, as each individual brings with them their own personal experience and insights.  I firmly believe this a beneficial aspect of the growth and progression of martial arts.  And I’ll go into more depth about this in the upcoming entries.

However, one thing I have run into over the years, is the value placed on martial arts training, and the lack of education given to those who are not actively training - i.e. parents.  As I previously stated, all instructors bring their personality with them to the training floor.  Some instructors are very militaristic, harsh, and aggressive.  While others are more relaxed, and even casual in their style.  The problem isn’t the instructor themselves, but the lack of a clear vision, and expectation defined for the student and/or parent.  The perceived value of a student’s training or rank will be defined by the expectations and parameters placed on that student, by their instructor.  

Not every academy or school will have the same requirements placed upon their students, based upon their individual instructors.  It can be difficult to understand, as a student, or a parent, why one academy has a different set of standards in regards to training and rank, than another.  The world we live in avidly promotes comparing everything.  Is this better than that; what kind of online reviews did this or that get; what does my Facebook group think about this or that.  It is a constant within our daily lives.  So, it is no real surprise when you hear a parent questioning one academies training versus another.  I understand, as a parent, the need to know why my student had to attend a certain number classes, including mandatory Saturday classes, while a student from another academy, who was not required to complete those same requirements, is testing for the same rank.  And in all likelihood will be promoted to that rank, just like my child.  Where is the fairness in that?  You’re right.  That’s is not “fair” or “equal”.

But unless I missed a memo, LIFE isn’t fair.  It never has been.  As an adult, we don’t all get a participation medal.  We don’t all get the same opportunities in our careers.  We don’t all get the same stable family life, or access to higher education or opportunity.  I don’t mean to be insensitive, but it really does frustrate me when a parent complains about their student being required to “DO” more than some other student.  Why would you complain about your child being held to a higher standard, and reaching it?  WHY!?  Would you tell me that sacrificing a few hours during the week, and on a Saturday, for a set period of time, to invest in the development of your child was NOT a good choice as a parent?  Would you tell me that you would rather your child have had the easier path, and been handed their belt for just showing up?  That’s garbage, and you know it.

I recently read a quote from a man named Jim Rohn.  Jim Rohn is a business coach and mentor who has written numerous books, has been a keynote speaker, and is highly respected in his field.  He is not a martial artist, however, his words still ring true.  

Mr Rohn wrote, “You will suffer one of two pains in your life.  The pain of discipline, or the pain of regret.  Discipline weighs ounces, regret weighs tons.”  

When you as a student, suffer the pains of discipline, by attending all those extra classes, sacrificing your time, always make attempts to show the utmost respect on and off the mat, pushing your body, sharpening your mind, and tempering your spirit, you grow.  And growing can be painful, but it’s worth it.  I’ve met so many people over the years who tell me, “Oh you do karate?  I did that too.  But I quit at Yellow Belt.”... or Red Belt, or Brown Belt, or so on.  And almost every time, I see the same thing in their eyes.  The weight of regret.  The weight of knowing they walked away from something that would have made a positive difference for their lives.  That is a heavy weight and burden to carry.

Do not fault your instructors for requiring more from you as a student, as a parent.  The weight of discipline is a light burden in the long run, and you’ll only be better for it.  Do not waste your time and effort focused on some other instructors students, or requirements.  The differences will become blatantly obvious over time, as you, or your student travels along the journey that is martial arts.

I’ve mentioned it before, and I’ll keep bringing it up.  Martial arts training is about developing a way of life.  Facing adversity, and rising above it.  As a student, the ONLY person you’ll ever need to compare yourself with, is you.  Is your life better, for showing a bit of discipline?   And as a parent, the ONLY person you need to compare your child with, is themselves.  Have they grown more since yesterday in their maturity, self-confidence, self-discipline, and outlook on themselves and their surroundings?   That is the ONLY thing that matters.  

THAT is the value of your training.

Sa Bom Nim Brandon Bastin

© Aim and Focus Karate 2020