Meeting the Challenges of a Busy Schedule

November 2018

From time to time parents of martial arts students have voiced the opinion that school is more important than karate. I beg to differ. While academic success is valuable in this world, so is personal safety and the achievement of physical skills and emotional and mental balance. As humans we have a left brain (used for logical and linear thinking) and a right brain (used for creative expression and visualization ). Keeping a balance between these hemispheres of the brain is essential for maintaining psychological balance while expanding our thinking skills.
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(The kick that Sensei Ra-mos is demonstrating is called “Maegeri” the Front Kick. This is the first kick that we teach to beginning students, but they cannot perform it like this. Sensei Ramos has been training for over 25 years to get this good.)
School tends to favor thinking in words while karate encourages thinking in pictures. In order to succeed in school facts are memorized; while in order to do well in karate techniques are practiced and demonstrated. Most learning in school is intellectual while most learning in martial arts is physical and emotional. We need to offer our children a complete range of learning opportunities so that they can develop into fully functioning adults.
In addition to developing alternative ways of thinking, your brain benefits from a good physical workout. According to a recent study, just 120 minutes of aerobic exercise a week can help improve learning and verbal memory. Our brains need oxygen, and the kind of exercise we do at the Dojo gets lots of oxygen to the brain.
Unlike other sports, karate requires the student to use both left and right sides of their body which then activates the left and right sides of the brain kinesthetically, in a tangible way. This kind of practice helps students to learn how to balance their body, and this serves as an model for balancing their emotions and their mind, allowing for the development of a balanced and sustainable lifestyle.
There are many demands on children and adults in modern life. Prioritizing our busy schedules is a necessity. We need to include both left and right brain activities to meet this challenge. Martial arts is a way to keep both sides of our brain in harmony. This is the “way of harmony” that we seek to teach at the Dojo.

Robert H. Mason © 2018