Soke's Corner

October 1, 2010

TKFI Instructors Continue To Improve the Quality of Saito-ha Shito-ryu

Dear TKF International members, friends and visitors,

As the months pass and the winds stir my thoughts, I take notice of instructors who conveniently use karate to unseed the values and true substance of martial arts in those they teach. Many mouth what sounds plausible, yet when obstacles and challenges come their way, they become mere beginners with their actions. Some speak of loyalty, yet it only holds true if it goes only their way. Others talk about compassion, but when students are hurting, frustrated, or losing hope, they do not make time to have a heart-to-heart talk with them. The modern instructor wants to become •friends• with their students rather than a teacher and a compass, and forget that their responsibility is to teach, guide and hold each student accountable for their choices and actions. They should be nurturing and provide regimented exercises and basics and to direct each student to uncover their weaknesses in order to replace them with a strong positive spirit; not to baby them and extend their excuses. Belts are given like candy and the black belt becomes more of a prize rather than a well deserved rank of honor. All too often, winning at tournaments are the most important goals and students who can win are given special privileges and recognition. Instructors also are not training faithfully and not reaching for higher learning. They are •black belts• of the mouth and only interested in stroking their ego while reaching for the •dough•.

Why do I bring this up you might ask. Well for one thing, I believe that karate-do can maintain as well as restore the values and dignity of human existence. It seems that the present generation is making black and white smaller and expanding ever so greatly the gray area. For example, a black belt required many years of hard work to achieve. The requirements included a solid understanding and practice of the kihon, kata, kumite and self defense with high standards. Today, the standards of many schools have been watered down and the standard of excellence is no longer maintained or understood. Similarly, not that long ago, drugs were taboo and the consequences severe. Today, the thinking and voices say that drugs are not that bad for you. In fact many are saying that drugs are medically helpful so legalization would be the best resolve. It is therefore imperative, that instructors remind themselves of the importance of preserving the essence of karate-do and not waste valuable time in planting sound and healthy seeds in their students fertile soil. And keep it organic as the pesticides and chemicals only broaden the gray areas of their thinking.

How can instructors change their attitude, business strategies and teaching methods to stay on a wholesome path that will serve mankind? Well for starters, they have to want to make adjustments and changes. Then an action plan will need to be implemented. To keep this plan in tact and prioritized, it would be helpful to have staff instructors and assistants involved to keep everyone focused and disciplined. Trust and share the teaching responsibilities so everyone is on the same page. Note the strengths of each teacher and utilize their strengths accordingly. For example, if an instructors is a good listener and advisor, arrange a meeting(s) with students having problems or struggles with them. A •grandpa• or •grandma• instructor would be best used to share philosophy and life's experiences with students, rather than having to lead callisthenics and sparring classes. Synergy is a good way to maintain the highest level of excellence in the dojo.

I take pride in the instructors of TKF International. You maintain your training regiment while continuing to improve the quality of Saito-ha Shito-ryu. Your character is sound and the examples you leave are like shining pebbles that your students are able to see and follow. Often you will have only a small window of opportunity to make a tremendous impact on students that can draw hope and direction for them. And remember, once a committed teacher, your journey of teaching will be with you until the last breath you draw.

For those of you readers who are considering martial arts as a source for higher connection of mind, body and spirit, consider one of our schools to enroll at. We guarantee the finest in-depth instructions, while preserving traditional arts and values as well as exploring contemporary studies.

Most importantly, only the highest standards of teaching are expected from each of our instructors in order that they might help each student identify and defend against the enemies of self. Laziness, disrespect and selfishness will be defended against and replaced with hard work, respect and giving of self. Techniques of improving character go hand-in-hand with techniques of the hands and feet. Performance of the techniques must have good form, focus and other important ingredients which require awareness, understanding, discipline and practice. Students are taught how to succeed in polishing their character in order that they become positive mentors and role models for others.

In closing, we all need to work together and allow ourselves to overcome negative attitudes and hopelessness. There are still many decent martial arts schools and instructors who maintain a sense of dignity, morality and high levels of excellence in all they do, including technically correct movements of the fundamentals and forms. There are also good parents that want the best training for their children, and as they seek a martial arts school to team-up with, they need to be well informed and educated about those in their area before enrolling their children. Martial arts philosophies and activities can make tremendous changes in student's behavior and understanding of life. Adults who wish to incorporate martial arts in their mental and fitness training, must learn to release their ego in order to allow the decency of their being elevate to a higher level of understanding and appreciation.

I wish all of you continued success in your journey.

Peace and blessings to all.

Del Saito Soke

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