“Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Willing is not enough we must do.”
Periodically, we get feedback from karate students re: asking for new katas, advanced techniques, how-to sparring advantages, shortcuts to flexibility, punching development, etc., etc.
Who is really responsible for their karate training at a dojo? Yes, at first blush, the Sensei is the leader and as such, holds the ultimate responsibility for students training and martial art development. But, and this is where the rubber hits the road! Any serious, not so serious and in between karate student must bear responsibility for their own training and development also, no question!
If, the average karate-ka at a minimum, attends two classes per week for a combined total of maybe three hours under direction of his/her Sensei, there is a huge void left for training opportunities.
This brings us back to questions and requests made by students. As followers of our art, we have so many opportunities to make ourselves better and enrich our training.
Our Sensei(s) are there to guide us, lead us and steer us up that mountain, they cannot do our training for us.
We take the guidance and information Sensei gives us in class and with the desire to advance, we train, doing the katas we already know and make them better, recognize that advanced techniques are just better kihon, spar relaxed, stretch at our convenience anytime we can and use the makiwara often. We don’t need our Sensei to stand over us constantly watching us at all times to make sure we are training. No, we are each responsible for our own training – when and where we can.
On arrival to the Dojo when we have time prior to class or after, we can stretch, use some weights, hit the makiwara, practice kata, work with a partner and so on! At home, many of us have weights, maybe do some meditation, read up on your style or whatever it takes!
We should be engaged in our own training, we are the one’s benefiting!
Ask your Sensei or instructor and you will undoubtedly realize, they too, train all the time also – in and out of the dojo, during and after class! Always ready for their next session with their own Sensei!
Gary Christensen – Shorin-Ryu.ca