Goal! Student Message Is Insightful, Inspiring

By Alan Kandel

On June 6, 2012, I was watching a nightly-news broadcast. One segment I caught highlighted a successful educational program in the New York City area. The segment reporter asked questions of students enrolled in the school about various aspects of their educational experience. One comment from one student in particular caught my attention. On giving advice to new enrollees and whether or not new enrollees should stay the course, the recommendation from the commenting student was something on the order of: even though the work is extremely difficult, in the long run the effort will be well worth it.

After allowing myself sufficient time to digest what was said, I thought, this sums up in one thought, my karate training history to a tee. How insightful, how inspiring this middle-school student must be. There is no question that this and other students enrolled at this particular school were getting quality instruction in a very conducive-to-learning academic setting!

Carrying this idea farther, what a person gets out of an endeavor is the sum of the parts put in. One must not forget that commitment and diligence are part of the equation too. Being interested in what one is involved in, well that’s an important component as well. As far as interest goes, martial arts is attractive to many in that sense. It has a tendency to awe observers, but, even so, it’s not for everyone, obviously. Those who decide to practice the arts understand that many hours of training will be required and usually, the more one puts into one’s training, from that training, the more one will take away.

Reaching a particular goal or level of achievement will take longer for some compared to the time it takes others to do the same. Even though everyone achieves at different rates, the bottom line is everyone achieves. It’s called progress. For some, there will be major setbacks. Not so much so for others.

Beginners oftentimes have a tendency to want to get to the finish line as fast as they can. Martial arts training is not a race. Training is slow but steady and its deliberate. One foot in front of the other, in other words. Some other considerations to be aware of is that some fall into the trap of putting more of their energy into practicing and perfecting techniques they know they execute well, while other techniques or areas of practice do not get the attention they need for those techniques or that area of practice, respectively, to improve. The key is to dedicate more time and effort on the areas that need more work and in the end, all aspects of training will be balanced. That way, the martial arts practitioner becomes more, well rounded. In the academic setting it’s little if any different.

Meanwhile, the role of the instructor (sensei, sifu, etc.) is to instruct, to be the facilitator of student learning and to some degree, is the facilitator of student success. But it is the student who must do the work. A person is what a person does. And, if the student is able to go the distance, that is, put in the required time and energy, that student should have every confidence that sought-after goals and objectives will be attained.

And as for advanced training, establish a foundation first and then build on that.

Copyright © Alan Kandel. June 7, 2012.

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