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Fridays

I have practiced martial arts since I was a little kid (about 8). When I became an adult, it became more and more difficult to make time to attend training. My wife and I were married young, so family obligations were also a consideration. We have four children every 4 years after we were married.

But I still found time to practice martial arts, and at one time, practiced Karate, Judo, Iaido and Kendo all at once. Honestly, it was too much for me. If everything went perfectly well in a week, I could handle the schedule. But if someone got sick, if there was extra work, or if there was some family event (party, wedding, funeral, etc.), it could throw off the schedule.

But no matter how much I trained, or how busy it was, I never trained on Friday nights. That was and continues to be reserved for my wife. It is a night for us to go to a movie, or go shopping, or just do nothing. But my wife knows that it is not a training or teaching night for me.

For ten years, I taught on Saturday afternoons. A couple of years ago, I switched that training to Moday evenings. Now my weekends are also free, which is better for my family obligations (and yard and house work).

The point I am trying to make is that martial arts training must fit into your life. In my particular case, I have a close and pretty large family. Being a good husband and father is important to me. While I enjoy martial arts training, I cannot afford to neglect my family responsibilities. If I did so, what kind of martial artist would I be?

It is not possible to be a good martial artist and a poor father. Think about it for a moment. It simply is not possible. If you are a good martial artist, you must first be a good father. If you are a good martial artist, you must first be a good son. If you are a good martial artist, you must first be a good husband. Martial arts excellence cannot come first and has little or no value by itself. Martial arts excellence must follow excellence in life, which is your first duty. If you are good at martial arts but miserable at everything else, then what?

Sometimes I will hear about someone who is only good at martial arts. Seniors will sometimes describe such a person as being childlike. He may be a fierce fighter, but has no life skills. It is as if he never advanced beyond the 1st grade. How is such a person supposed to live in a modern world?

So I have always kept Fridays free for my wife and now my weekends free for my family. I am serious about Karate training, but I am more serious about my family obligations. First things first.

Respectfully,

Charles C. Goodin