A number of people join martial arts because they don’t feel suited to traditional team sports. With today’s 24/7/365 demands of team sports, I find it hard to compel my students to come more often than they can honestly commit. I believe the study of martial arts is important, but not at the expense of balance. I understand that team sports demand this time commitment because they’re part of a team, but who isn’t a part of team?
My dojo is comprised of a latticework of personalities, ages, levels of athleticism, coordination, etc. There are no wasted parts and everyone is included. No one is ever benched or cut because they didn’t perform well on a given day, week, month or year. Every single student strives for success, even on their worst days. More importantly, everyone around them is trying to do the same while encouraging each other to push the boundaries of failure towards the infinite markers of success.
If I don’t challenge myself as a teacher, I am doing my students a disservice. If my students aren’t challenging themselves as individuals, then they are not challenging their partners. This is a cooperative experience that requires a ton of relationship building (which includes honest dialog and honest self-assessment). No one walks away unchanged and everyone has something to give.
So when you or your kid signs up for martial arts, remember that there’s twice the number of “T’s” than “I’s” and they stand for “trust” and “teamwork”.