Last week one of our advanced students, a Mr. Sammy, told the class that one example of respect is “not blaming others.” I thought this was brilliant. Sometimes it seems so easy to be critical of others; I guess this is why it is important to have another person edit our writing. However, to me, a big part of being a martial artist is adopting a compassionate outlook. One of the great things about the martial arts is that students really learn to work well with others. Here are a few questions we want our students asking themselves when working with partners, especially when they feel that their partner has made a “mistake.”
1.) Have I ever made a mistake before?
2.) Is it possible that I have made some mistakes of which I am not even aware?
3.) How can I help this person in a manner that will help them to feel good about themselves?
4.) How can I maximize our training time together?
5.) If I feel that they are doing the technique incorrectly, how can I express that to them in a kind and respectful manner?
First off, I will admit that sometimes accepting advice or constructive criticism can be difficult. However, I have recently begun to understand how valuable this input can be, and now, I am asking, nay, BEGGING for more of this amazing resource.
For example, one parent voiced the opinion that in a Karate Camp virtually all of the activities should be geared toward...<gasp>...Karate! After considering this insight, we, the instructors, agree. While our previous Summer Camps have featured intense martial arts training, we have created a schedule for events that will have our campers learning and performing martial arts related activities for virtually the entire day. During lunch breaks, we are even requiring that all students cut their sandwiches with samurai swords (just kidding!).
But seriously folks, this is going to be our best Summer Camp yet because of the carefully laid out lesson plan and curriculum which was developed as a result of one parent's input.
We are available to take your calls any day of the week (410-561-5245), and/or you can speak with Ms. Candice at the front desk during classes.
What would enhance the martial arts experience for you and your child? Would classes on Sunday's help? Do I sometimes have bad breath while teaching class? Whatever it is, we would love to hear about it.
It is true that we cannot accommodate every single "request to a t," but we love hearing from our parents, and we will always take their thoughts into deep consideration.
When I was attending Towson University, I practiced martial arts whenever I was not in class (Why don’t you call me some time, when you have no class? (Rodney Dangerfield, Back To School)). My youth and free time permitted me to train as much and as hard as I wished. I always worried, however, that when I finally graduated and went out into the real world, that I would have a really hard time fitting training into my busy schedule.
Now, having graduated from Towson almost 10 years ago, I still find time to train, because it is one of my top priorities. I find the time to make the 30 minute drive from Timonium to Essex at least once a week to train at one of my instructors' schools. That is in addition to the training I am able to do in the evening with our adult students at our Timonium location. However, since my available training time is more limited than when I was at school, I really have to make every second count.
When I was at Towson, I could basically show up at the gym or school after my class and do whatever I wanted. I had plenty of time and I was rarely if ever injured. These days I have to be much more efficient and smart about my training. How can I maximize my training time while avoiding injury? It’s all about training hard but, even more importantly, training wisely.
I find that people (myself included) frequently underestimate or overestimate the amount of training and repetition that is necessary to develop the skill, or neural adaptation, that we desire. I used to think that 3-4 hour training sessions were the key to success. Now I believe the key is to train diligently for much shorter periods of time, on a consistent basis. Few of us have time to train 4 hours a day, but we don't need to in order to make progress.
When I am not training I often find time to read martial arts books or study martial arts videos.
These tips have helped me to avoid falling into the perilous “I’m an adult so now I don’t have time to train trap.”
Now, you may be thinking, "That's easy for him to say, he teaches martial arts for a job." True, but you might be surprised how big of a difference there is between teaching and training martial arts. Sure, they go hand in hand, and each can help you to do the other more effectively, but as far as the question of time goes, it can be difficult to do them both simultaneously.
Sometimes I think that we have some of the world’s greatest young martial artists right here in the Timonium/Towson/Cockeysville/Hunt Valley/Sparks/Baltimore metropolitan area. Mr. Archer and Mr. Azzie helped to confirm my suspicions last Saturday when they put on one of the most exciting Black Belt tests I have ever seen.
The techniques, sparring, and board breaking were all phenomenal. Even more importantly, however, is how each of these young men really acts like a Black Belt. They are very modest about their skills, always willing to work with younger students, and helping them to improve their skills, while making them feel good about themselves.
I am looking forward to watching Ms. Eliet, Mr. Johnathan, and Mr. Glenn earn their Black Belts this month! Those tests will be held on March 14 (Ms. Eliet) and March 15 (Mr. Johnathan and Mr. Glenn). Come on out and support them while watching an amazing martial arts demonstration!
-Jonathan Tissue is the head instructor of Maryland Martial Arts in Timonium. A 2005 graduate of Towson University in Towson, he holds Black Belts (or the equivalent ranking) in the arts of Taijutsu, Kung Fu, San Shou, a purple belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, and a green belt in Ninjutsu. He has taught martial arts in the Timonium/Towson/Cockeysville/Hunt Valley/Sparks/Baltimore metropolitan area for over 10 years.