by Sensei Neil Prime
February, 1997

In karate we have certain goals that we want to attain which require a certain amount of dedication. The more we truly dedicate ourselves, the more the goals become achievable. You first have to ask yourself what it is you want out of karate in the short term, and then in the long term. You will find that many of these goals will change along the way. Some goals will be accomplished, while others will change in priority as we progress.

A short term goal may be earning your first coloured belt (yellow), while a long term goal may be earning your Shodan (1st degree black belt). In perspective, every belt you earn requires a little more dedication to be accomplished at the next level.

In karate there are a number of areas that you must focus your dedication to. Not only do you have to be dedicated to your own goals, but there are other factors that contribute to your goals along the way.

Being dedicated to your club is very important. By this I mean that you must respect the fact that there is a committed instructor at every workout waiting to share knowledge that has been acquired from the years of dedication that they have shown. You must also respect the people you work-out with. Without sparring partners the learning process becomes very difficult. This is why we want to work with each other, not worrying about who can kick higher or who can punch harder.

The club and the time you spend there is very significant. Some of us with our busy schedules can not be there as often as we wish, so it is more important to devote our attention 100% to what is going on around us. Just showing up to class doesn't mean your dedicating yourself. You can't expect to succeed with the idea that the instructor is going to do the work for you. The instructor is there to guide you in a certain direction but will not and should not be there to hold your hand all along the way.

As an instructor, I sometimes get frustrated when I see someone just dawdle through the class with no direction. You don't have to be so serious about what your doing that you can't have fun but it is a fact, as you get better at what you are doing there is more potential for fun.

Do you think I would be doing Karate for as long as I have if I wasn't having fun?

When committing to a long term venture like karate you should abide by a regular routine. If classes are every Tuesday evening and Saturday morning, then only with special exceptions should you not be there. Karate then becomes a priority just like school or work. It's up to you how you set your priorities, but if you are doing too many things that conflict with each other you will likely have problems trying to juggle your time which can be frustrating and can also take away from what it is your trying to do, weather it's karate or anything else your working at.

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