Karate: More Than Just Self-Defense Sensei Michael Agbay
Posted: February 08, 2022
Karate and other martial arts have evolved in so many ways in the past several decades. If you haven’t been involved in training at a professional dojo, then your education is from movies, TV or YouTube videos. These show you that fighting is how we deal with conflict, which is so far from the truth. In this article my goal is to educate you on how the power of Karate taught properly can change the lives of children and adults alike. Thank you for taking the time to read this article. Educating and teaching is my life’s passion.
Martial Arts defines many styles which most people identify as traditional systems. For example, Karate, Judo, Taekwondo, Ju-Jitsu, Kung-Fu, Tai-Chi are some common traditional styles. Media is fixated on promoting MMA which is Mixed Martial Arts. All martial arts are broken down into different categories: 1. Striking Arts 2. Grappling Arts 3. Internal Arts. They also need to be put into categories of how they are practiced - 1. Sport 2. Combat. In the 1940’s during World War II soldiers stationed in Japan had been introduced to different kinds of Karate, Judo and Aikido. These arts were taught in what is called Budo (the way of the warrior) arts. They were taught in a very tough and military manner. It was then introduced in the USA during the 50’s & 60’s and still taught to adults and in a traditional, tough way. Only the strong were able to benefit from training in the martial arts. Meanwhile Bruce Lee & Chuck Norris were on the movie scene putting martial arts on the media’s map. They built their characters up as heroes. I wouldn’t be writing this article if it weren’t for them. They are by far legendary. Then June 22, 1984, the first Karate Kid movie was released. What made this different than anything before? Mr. Miyagi taught that karate was a discipline and only used for self-defense. Mr. Miyagi became a legend in the world of martial arts. Martial arts dojos were filling up across the country and the world. Now children and everyday people can experience the benefits of the true arts.
When someone walks into our dojo and enrolls in our programs the first impression is critical. The first thing I want my potential students to see is my courtesy and respect. During their first 6 weeks of training, we will show them that we are leaders. They will begin to trust in who we are and what we do. We’ll guide them through the basics, help them to believe in their abilities. In the process they see through their training they learn to achieve something. In the dojo it’s a belt rank. They are also learning to build character and see who they are and what they can become. Through discipline and hard work, they achieve their first belt rank. Over time they see there is more to this than meets the eye. As time goes on, they continue to grow and achieve. Their confidence and achievements inside and outside the dojo are growing. They are pursuing the goal of earning their Black Belt. Overcoming the obstacles towards Black Belt, students see that there is more they can do. Some are invited to participate in our Leadership mentoring program. This is a program that at first teaches in more details how to apply the life skills in their young lives. Their confidence is growing deeper. Their knowledge about themselves becomes clearer. Our Leadership Program starts with Intro to Leadership, Jr. Leader Program, Assistant Instructor Program, and Instructor Program. The objective is that one day they will achieve their Black Belt and be an instructor as well.
Communication is essential. It is imperative that we first listen to the parents of a new student or an adult about what they would like to gain from our programs. Every parent has a specific immediate life skill that they want their child to learn. Every adult has specific goals for themselves, too. Once this is determined then we go to work and make this happen. Through this process the student will gain more confidence in what they are achieving and more confidence in us as instructors’ and mentors for all of our students. No matter what they do or where they go, they will have these skills to develop and use for their entire lives.
What motivates us is something we see ourselves doing and achieving. Knowing the purpose of our goals will help keep our eyes on that goal. Overcoming every obstacle and holding true to what we know is our purpose in achieving it. I say this because I not only believe it, but I continue to build on this in all aspects of my own life. I have contact with so many of my students who have grown up and moved on to pursuing their goals as young adults. It’s so powerful.
Culture is something we’re all accustomed to. We all have our families’ origins that brought their cultures to America. No matter where you come from it’s instilled in our lives. We celebrate certain things and pass them on to our children. The culture in your martial arts school is set by the owner & leader of your style of martial arts. They may be partly the traditions of the style they were taught. In our dojo we teach the students where we came from. We also show how we evolved. The most important thing we want to show is respect & courtesy. This is the start and development of all our character. “We are a family friendly facility that teaches excellence. As the (Sensei) Chief Instructor/Owner of our dojo, I want all to feel welcome, whether they’re new or have been here for many years. I believe character comes from the culture that you show. We lead by example.
A quote I live by: “Good teachers teach good students. Great teachers inspire!”
For Children's Programs https://mjamartialarts.com/programs/children-martial-arts
For Adult Programs https://mjamartialarts.com/programs/adult-programs by Michael Agbay