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Ten New Students

For the first time since my dojo opened in 1997, we have had ten new students during the last month. Enrollment tends to go in spurts, but this is the biggest spurt ever for us. (My son Charles, has been in charge of the class for the last three months. I wonder if he attracts more students than I did?)

My advice to new students is this: practice. If you will practice what you learn at each class, the next time we can teach you something new. Little by little you will learn, and soon you will know a lot. But if you do not practice, the new things will only confuse you. Karate is very simple if you practice.

It is also good to ask questions if you do not understand something. In the beginning you will be learning how to move. You learn how to move before you learn how to use the technique for self defense. So in the beginning it is best to ask about the movement aspect -- how to shape the movements, when to tense, when to relax, how to align your body, when to breath, etc. The questions you ask will probably also help the other new students.

I always tell new students that half of the new students will usually quit within three months. This may be because they do not like the class. Or it may be that they actually do not have time to attend classes regularly. But we do find that attrition is greatest during the first three months.

If a new student can make it to the three month mark, he or she will usually stay on for a year or longer. So try your best to make the three month mark, and then a year. I always say that after two years you will begin to feel comfortable with training. You will know enough to follow along with much of the class.

So good luck the the new students! Good luck to new students everywhere! Try your best, practice, and try to stick it out. One day you might become a teacher yourself.

Every Sensei, every single Sensei including the greatest of all time, was once a brand new student just like you. The secret of their success was that they practiced and never gave up.


Charles C. Goodin