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Teaching Karate -- Objectives

How and what you teach will depend on what you are trying to accomplish.

If you are trying to make a living by teaching, you will have to consider your income and expenses. You won't be able to live if you don't make enough money, and you won't make enough money unless you have enough students. And making $100,000 in a year might sound good, unless you are spending $150,000! If you teach Karate as a business, you will have to run it as a business. You should get a business degree.

If you are trying to have a lot of students, you will have to consider where and when you will teach. You usually cannot teach 500 students all at once. Even 50 students is a lot. So you will have to have many classes spread out over the day and week. You might even have to have classes at different locations. One day you might have 1,000 students. Will you remember their names?

If you are trying to have a front window filled with trophies, you will have to enter tournaments here, on the mainland, and even in foreign countries. You might even have to put on your own tournaments. Gradually you probably will collect many trophies and will fill your window, lobby and dojo. And this will attract... students who want more trophies?

If you are trying to become famous, you might need to become an action star, or perhaps a writer. People respect experts who write books on just about any subject. But do you want to do this? And as a writer, I can say that most people will not recognize you, except to say "I thought you would be much taller!"

If you are teaching so that you can become high ranking, I would just say that there are many better things to do in life. I was talking to a man (I cannot remember about what) and the subject turned to Karate. At one point he asked how many years I studied and I replied over 30 years. He asked, "are you a black belt?" I wanted to say, "not yet, but I am still working on it!" Rank is a little silly. Regular people don't understand it and accomplished people don't care about it. Let me put it this way, if you have high rank, the rain will still fall on your head!

If you are trying to solve the mysteries of life (seek enlightenment, etc.) there might be better ways to do this than by teaching Karate. You will probably just confuse and distract your students if you are teaching to seek something that is either obvious or fictitous. There is no mystery in Karate. Karate is revealed by training... period. If you are sitting crosslegged to understand Karate, I would say, "either fish or cut bait."

I teach because I enjoy it. I enjoy learning myself, but I receive the greatest joy when I see students learning something. I am even happier when I see instructors (or advanced students) being happy when they see their students learning.

If you are going to teach Karate, be clear about why you are doing so. That way, you can ensure that your efforts are in line with your objectives.


Charles C. Goodin