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Coming To Class Late...

Sometimes a new student will ask me about our policy on coming to class late, leaving early, or missing class.

I always tell them that work, school and family come first. If you have to come to class late, it is OK. If you have to leave class early, it is OK. If you have to miss class, it is OK. There are certain protocols to observe, but coming to class late, leaving early, or missing class are not bad things. There is no moral element to it. They are not acts that should result in guilt or shame.

If you can come to class, come. If cannot, cannot.

I also tell new students that our dojo is Okinawan, not Japanese. We do not go overboard with formalities. My formality is this -- be nice and train hard (or train hard and be nice). All the formalities in the world don't matter unless you train hard, and if you are a jerk, then why are you still in Karate? Train hard and be nice. Be respectful of other people.

Our class is Okinawan, not Japanese. Living here in Hawaii, it seems to me that Okinawans are like "local" people, just like us.

I also tell students that it is better to come to class late than not to come. It is better to leave early than to miss class. And if you have a work, school or family obligation that needs to be attended to, you should not be at class! Hey, we only charge $5 per month. What is that -- 60 cents per class? It is no big deal.

Come to class to learn and practice at home. Don't come to class to practice. That is a waste of time. Come to class to learn and practice at home. If you miss a class, continue to practice at home. It is no big thing.

I am not a strict teacher. I am a strict student. I am strict about my own training and conditioning. That is what I like to do. If other students like to train and work on themselves, then I will be happy to assist them. But I am not going to yell or punish Karate into them, and I do not believe in teaching by shame and guilt. Life is too short for that.

There are many more important things in life than coming to class late, leaving early, and missing class. Train hard and be nice.

I will tell you this -- it is much easier to learn and practice Karate if you enjoy it. If you enjoy it, you will try to find ways to come to class early, to stay late, and not to miss class. If you enjoy it, you will try your best to learn and will also diligently practice at home.

I was infected by my own Sensei's enjoyment of Karate. His Karate is joy in movement (and terrible only if it needs to be so).


Charles C. Goodin