Durbanville Dojo’s New Year Message

Here we are again almost at the start of a new year, but this time our hopes and dreams for the future are probably more similar than ever before. We all want life to get back to ‘normal’. In the past, New Year was a time of fresh beginnings, re-setting of goals, some resolutions, and a lot of optimism. This year feels so very different. We want this Coronavirus beaten.

We have learned that life can change very quickly and without warning. Things that were taken for granted were taken away and suddenly simple pleasures seem to be distant dreams. Karate is for those moments when we are taken by surprise, and we react immediately to protect ourselves.

Our karate has given us many lessons about life and dealing with challenges. We could tackle them head-on filled with confidence that we will always win, but karate teaches us that we won’t always win. We keep improving ourselves through training so that our chances of success slowly but surely get better and better. And life is the same…

Yesterday I participated in Kancho Rony’s Zoom year-end meeting for all dojo-heads and instructors. Kancho’s message was simple. We train ‘tai-sabaki’ (evasion) in the dojo, and so we must apply it in life. Observe where the challenges are coming from, and move out of the line of attack. A movement to the side of anything gives a new perspective and new opportunities. A change of habits or a different response to challenges often brings surprising results. Try it!  Our way is to keep exploring, staying in touch with problems (be sticky) while searching for the cracks and weaknesses to exploit, but never standing still. Life is the same.  Keep learning. Keep moving.

We need self-discipline. Set up a process of living that will yield results. For in karate, and life, an inconsistent and unplanned approach will give inconsistent and unplanned results. These are not the results we want.  The dojo is a microcosm of life, so master the lessons and expectations of the dojo, and then you will be able to apply them in life.

Our karate school is indeed a school in the true sense. We have a documented syllabus, lessons given by teachers, tests set to measure progress and maintain standards, and grades to acknowledge ability and achievement. Just like normal schools, all classes should be attended. A physical injury is not an excuse to miss class, indeed, in karate, it is all the more reason to attend class. (In a self-defense situation you will probably be injured. You may have to continue with a broken arm/nose/rib etc.) Train for reality.  If it is too painful to train, then at least watch the class and learn from what you see. Just like at school/varsity/college etc. But don’t miss classes. That’s the easy way towards inconsistent and unplanned results.

For 2021, know that the processes and routines you need to follow in order to achieve your goals are probably more important than the actual goals themselves. Goal-setting is easy, achievement takes commitment. Commit!

Great news about fees. For 2021 our fees will stay pegged at R380pm, but with a difference. R380 will cover a household. So, if there is one student or more in the same household, only one fee will apply. We are a ‘Family of Warriors’ and this arrangement can draw in the whole family. For Zoom classes, each family can connect via multiple screens if they wish, and outside of class time, the senior student in the family becomes the family ‘sempai’ and can help others at home.   (Each student will need to be registered.)

We will resume classes on Wednesday, 13th January, and I look forward to that very much. I also look forward to seeing our dojo grow, despite the current challenges, so that when Covid-19 is under control, we can have a full and bustling dojo that trains hard and sees each student advancing in their knowledge and abilities.

Please, go into 2021 with a smile under you mask and hand sanitizer in your pocket. Wash your hands and maintain a safe social distance. Commit to the process of achieving your goals in karate and in life. We will overcome!!

Warm regards to you all, your families and your loved ones,

Happy New Year!