What we do – hidden in plain sight

It can be hard sometimes to figure out what is going on from the sidelines. It can be tricky to understand why an instructor is reacting a certain way to certain behaviour at times. Be assured there is method to the madness and reasons behind everything.

You, as parents, are paying for your children to attend and learn valuable skills that cover so many aspects of their mental and physical development. We would be reticent to not take your trust carefully and seriously and be uncompromising in our approach to instilling the values we, and you, believe are important.

So it may be useful to provide some insight into some of the lessons and skills we are teaching at many stages throughout a class.

Water bottles, Karate bag, Mouthguard etc: This is the students responsibility. These items are theirs and they need to be responsible for preparing and bringing the items they know they need. No one else is.

Badges: These are not given, these are earnt. If a student wants a certain badge they need to work for it and can always come and ask for it. If they don’t receive a badge but someone else does then they learn self-reflection and awareness of their own behaviour or efforts.

Gradings: All about handling pressure, overcoming anxiety, having the right “I can” attitude, putting in 100% effort to achieve. Goal setting and accomplishment.

Stripes: Short term goals and achievements. Effort and reward. No effort no reward. Conquering the mountain is a journey of many small steps.

Back of the mat bowing in: This is usually as a student has arrived late to class. By having to wait at the back of the mat and be bowed in they are learning Respect of instructors and other people, punctuality, and responsibility. That they need to ensure they are ready so they can get to class on time.

Performing in front of others: This is a really hard thing to do but is such a great accomplishment. Overcoming anxiety and nerves. Developing confidence and self-belief and the ability to perform under pressure. Wait until they have to turn round and face their peers. Whole other ball game ;)

Hard intense exercise: This builds mental toughness as well as physical strength. A determination to push beyond what they think they can do and develop the self-belief that they can achieve anything they are determined to work hard for.

Sparring: This is tough for a lot of students but there are real reasons why a student must spar. It develops confidence, the inner strength of character, situational awareness being in the moment, speed & movement, strategy, resilience, and control.

Partner drills: It is all about working together to be better. Problem-solving, leadership and coaching where you can help you and your partner.

Games: Reinforcement of principles and techniques. Awareness and agility to respond. Strategic thinking. Working together. Developing motor skills. Healthy competition and most of all some FUN!!

Website videos: These are provided to give students the ability to be the masters of their own achievements. They are responsible for their ability and there are no excuses as the tools are provided. This drives a great attitude, foresight by looking at other videos, learning and additional information-seeking behaviours.

Not addressing mis-behaviour by others: We are teaching them to recognise inappropriate behaviours in themselves and others. To develop the courage to speak up and use their voice so that they are simply not letting others do things they know that they shouldn’t be doing or will end up affecting them.

Sitting in seiza, eyes closed: Meditation, calmness and control. Breathing and reflection. Quieten the heart and mind.

Whole class attitudes: If a class of students is not focusing and displaying inappropriate behaviour, then this needs to be addressed, and sometimes sternly. They need to understand that there is a code of conduct in life and at the dojo that they need to adhere to. Some children take this hard as Sensei is an authoritative figure they look up to in their lives and the telling off or expression of disappointment can really hit home for them. But there is a reason, albeit very rarely, a class will be told off on mass. Certain students may be the cause but it is the responsibility of the group as a whole to help and guide each other if they know someone is not doing what they should. Standing by and watching when you could have done something about it is all too common these days.

The Martial Arts: The ability to have some insight on how to defend yourself, avoid and diffuse situations. Confidence and belief in your abilities. Pride and humbleness and emotional control. Patience.

These are some of the things we are constantly trying to reinforce in many ways. There are many others buried all over the place.


Hopefully, this gives some insight into what is happening in any given class. Any and all actions have an underlying meaning and are focused on our core belief of inspiring the best that is within everyone.

We are not going get it right 100% of the time, we are human. But if you ever have any concerns or questions please feel free to contact Sensei Chris at any time to discuss them.