Sensei Mae here. In this information age, we all want to “google” everything and DIY-it on Pinterest and whatnot. The essence of karate is the exact opposite of the information age.
There are a lot of great things about this information, for example, this blog. But as good as we are, Sensei Glen and I cannot teach you karate through this blog. One must simply go to class. But don’t stop reading; let me explain the top 5 reasons on why going to class is so important.
- Learning karate is a “hands on” activity. Most people who are “hands on,” tactile learners, need to physically do things. I am that way and so is Sensei Glen. We like to think that we have more fun that way! Class is a great way to be hands on.
- Reading is not the same as doing. Reading about karate is a great way to supplement your learning. Reading is also a great way to stay current with news, explore new topics, or see what new moves you should be incorporating in your dojo. That’s why we have to go to class. We have to keep up our skills, and we have to do something.
- Regular practice keeps your skills sharp. When I was getting ready to test for black belt, my goal was not just to get my black belt. My goal was to be able to go to black belt class. That way I would not forget the skills I worked so hard on achieving. Having a black belt doesn’t stop bullets and doesn’t stop people from attacking you on the street.
- Knowing is not the same as doing. Just knowing about something doesn’t mean you can actually do something. I’ve watched plenty of baseball games and heard people talk a lot about baseball; I have seen movies and read books with baseball themes. Of course that does not mean I can play baseball or am qualified to play in the World Series. I’m not convinced I understand baseball at all. But I recognize it when I see it. As with watching baseball, I can’t have the same attitude with karate.
- Seeking feedback from an expert will improve your karate. Unlike the Great Sport of Baseball, karate can and has saved my life. Working with a qualified mentor will move your skills to the next level. Regularly working with your Sensei and asking questions will assist in pushing towards the next goal. You cannot google the information your sensei brings.
Martial arts and all athletic events have this in common: they require regular practice, and improvement comes with a good sensei. When we say “regularly” we do not mean every few years dust off your gi and reminisce about the fun times.
Karate is not so much an achievement as it is a journey that has achievements along the way.
Achieving black belt is a tremendous accomplishment, and it is meaningless if thrown in a box. Going to class builds your skills the way technology cannot. A video is a good reference tool, but there is no substitute for real learning.
That is why Sensei Glen and I always go to our master teacher. If you always go back to the source, you won’t be wrong. We work out regularly at home to keep up the skills taught to us in class. We go to class to continue on our journey.
I am happy to report that Sensei Glen and I completed the 21 day kata challenge. What challenge is next for you?