5% More

Sempi Glen here. I am in the middle of reading 5% More: Making Small Changes to Achieve Extraordinary Results by Michael Alde.  The book has a real simple message: give or do 5% more and you will achieve more.  It got me thinking about how to apply this book to karate. Before I answer—what do you think?

Today we worked on kata. It is always a good class at the dojo when we work on kata. Kata has so many moves and applications. Thinking back, I marveled at the skills of yellow belts when I was a white belt. They knew an entire kata and could run it without stopping! I was inspired. How about you? Today one of our brown belts ran a kata for the class, and the class thought it was the best kata they had seen. Our brown belt is running all her katas four times a day and would have been disappointed with another response.

The author makes this point in the book: “There is value in momentum and consistency.”  In karate we see this in the belt system. The belt system gives us hope as we see the effort we make in learning new skills paying off in the form of earning a different colored belt. With just a little practice a white belt becomes a yellow belt. And so we progress to the darker colored belts giving more effort to achieve the new belt. My guess is we gave that 5% more effort to reach the next belt.

When I was preparing for the black belt test, I knew it would be difficult. One of the black belt qualities is never giving up. During the months leading up to the test (yes, I can be a little compulsive) I applied giving just a little more to my daily schedule. My goal was to run kata four times per day. The way to fit that in began with finding the time during football huddles and commercial breaks–to get up and practice kata and still see a few plays. I came to hate the no huddle offense. Eventually I had to stop watching football altogether (until after the black belt test) and work a little bit more. That is the message from the book, just another 5% to work on your goals.

As I am preparing for the sensei test, I am wondering as I read this book “How can I practice teaching 5% more?” “What changes can I make that will make a difference for the dojo students?” The book has challenged my thinking. I am asking the question “What else can I do for the students that will translate into having a better dojo?”

Here are my thoughts. My practice, like for the black belt test, requires me to train daily on all skills: weapons, kata, fighting, self-defense, kicking, striking, blocking, stances. I cannot practice each aspect daily due to other commitments. What I can do is to think about my skills just a little more so I am always ready to teach them.

As you look at your daily and weekly schedule, what can you do just a little more of to achieve your goals? I know that after I am done writing this blog I will update my notes from the classes today and go over what I learned. What about you? See you in class soon.


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