Kyoshi's Technique of the Week

Thought/Technique Archive

Technique of the Week (February 11th, 2007)

From Sensei Matt Kaplan, Shihan
Ueshiro Okinawan Karate Family Club
State College, Pennsylvania


"Families that Train Together Stays Together"

When considering the benefits associated with karate training, we tend
to focus on the physical and mental benefits associated with the act of
training. However, it is also important to be aware of how the social
context that surrounds our training is an important part of the overall
experience. There are many facets to this, such as the sense of
camaraderie that emerges in a dojo, where students motivate and care for
one another, on and off the deck. There is a deep benefit from being
able to support and encourage others. It is an experience of human and
community involvement that reinvests us all in the power of the person
to make a difference in another's life.

Another social dimension to how we benefit from our art relates to our
family lives and identities. In a society where people are increasingly
spending less time with family members, it is significant that we
encourage students to invite their family members -- across generations
-- to join and train together. Many families have few other
opportunities to pursue shared interests and to grow and become
healthier together.

After just 2 weeks on the deck, the mother of a family of four that
joined the Ueshiro Okinawan Karate Family Club (in State College,
Pennsylvania) shared the following in an e-mail: "We have been
practicing our moves and karate walk. We should all know how to count in
Japanese for next Sunday - I hope. The class has added to our family
discussions and it's neat to see how we all like it so much."

I suspect that in all of our dojo, we have families with their own
stories to tell regarding how their families think and feel about
training together. So, I'd like to open up a discussion by inviting
those who have family members in their dojo to send me a few sentences
on the significance (if any) they attribute to training together. I'll
pull all statements into one document and then share with our overall
group. [If you do send me something, please include your name, the
number and ages of family members with whom you are training, and the
name of your dojo. I'll include this information in my write-up unless
you tell me not to.]

Domo Arigato Gozaimasu,
Matt Kaplan, Shihan
Ueshiro Okinawan Karate Family Club
State College, Pennsylvania