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To Do -- Or Not To Do

My last two posts listed 62 things Karate instructors should not do. The reaction has ranged from "great" to "too limiting". To Do or Not To Do, that is the question.

I personally like to think and write in the positive. Be good. Work on character. Follow the Golden Rule.

But sometimes I think it is useful to write in the negative -- to set forth a list of things not to do. In my case, the list has come from common sense, as well as from negative things that I have seen happen over the years. Every time I see a negative thing, it goes into a data bank in my brain, a list of things I should try to remember to avoid. Hopefully, writing the list will help at least one person to avoid at least one negative thing.

Of course, you cannot go around constantly worrying about negatives. If you have a good heart and try your best, that is normally more than enough.

But then again, there may be some things that might not be avoided simply by a good heart and good intentions. Insurance is one of these. I just sent off payment for my dojo's annual insurance. It is the single largest expense of our dojo. I wish that we could do without it, but we simply cannot. Insurance is necessary. It is not a matter of intention. It is a simple reality of teaching in America - insurance is necessary. Does your dojo have insurance?

For a young instructor, a list of things not to do might be a useful reference. Look it over. If it is helpful, good.

For more experienced instructors, it will probably seem like old news. You've already been through most of what I listed, and probably much more. Experience is the best teacher.

I do believe that it is possible to learn from others' experiences and mistakes. We should learn from positive examples and can also learn from negative examples. You cannot imagine how many people I've met who complain about something their parents or instructors did, and then turn around and do the same thing!

If your instructor was an egomaniac, you should work on being humble. If you instructor was overly commericial, work on creating a greater sense of family in your dojo. If your instructor was a power hungry politician, train hard and work on becoming the best teacher possible. You do not have to repeat mistakes. The more aware you are, the more you can avoid mistakes and errors.


Charles C. Goodin