Ojii-san Batta (Grandpa Grasshopper)
It is my hope to share my thoughts, experiences and ideas in this blog. Blogging is new to me, and I don’t consider myself to be much of a writer; however, I do have thoughts, experiences and ideas. I will do my best to share them.
I have spent most of my adult life training and teaching Japanese martial arts. Now, I hope to communicate the many positives that have resulted from my life’s dedication to these arts.
I don’t know why, but I have always possessed a great passion for Japanese martial arts, architecture, customs and all that these entail. My passion continues still today. I mean, who has a dojo in their house? For me, this is a lifelong dream!
This is a list, in no particular order, of some of my up-coming topics:
- What is a founder?
- What is my role as founder?
- What do we add, change or modify, if anything, from our style and the way we were taught?
- How important is Japanese martial arts customs and manners?
- Bushido in today’s times
- Should we try to manage our emotions?
- If perception is everything, can we manage this thought?
- Grandpa Grasshopper
My overall goal and objective:
To use ancient Asian martial arts training of the body, mind and spirit, and apply it to learning today’s important life skills.
Topic 1: What is a founder?
“Founders begin with a thought or idea and then take an active interest in getting the enterprise off the ground, finding and investing resources to form the company and helping it succeed.
Founders are also entrepreneurs.”
Once a founder always a founder.
In 1975, I moved to Mesa Arizona. I then founded Arizona Wado Karate in Mesa, Arizona in 1976.
Sensei Ray was one of my first students. (Sensei Ray will be part of many of my up-coming blogs.)
I am very proud to say that this group of passionate, dedicated students, starting with Sensei Ray, have kept our dojos open continuously to this day and will continue onward. I believe we have helped thousands of people develop important life skills thus far and will continue to do so into the future. I am extremely proud that we have kept our goal, “the student comes first”, at the forefront of our decision making.
Throughout the years, we have had many highs and lows, but we have always survived and conquered challenges.
Topic 2: What is my role as founder?
Staying in my lane
Sensei Ray and I have spent many hours discussing this. Together we came up with this as a starting point:
- Advise leadership on:
- Courtesy and dojo manners
- Establishing a broader training plan for 3rd degree black belts and up
- Write a blog expressing my thoughts, ideas, and experiences. (In no particular order.)
Together we have spent so many hours discussing our curriculum. I am very pleased at the direction we are taking and the overall organization we are undertaking.
Topic 3: What do we add, change or modify, if anything, from our style and the way we were taught?
This topic will always be under review. What is good? Who am I to decide? This seems to be a moving target. My basic thought on this has always been. Never change technique and kata. Change the way we teach as we learn new things. Stretching, for example, has changed dramatically in my lifetime as science has learned about our bodies. Look at all the records being broken in all athletics due to better teachers through science. We need to always look to improve our teaching skills.
Topic 4: How Important is Japanese Martial Arts Courtesy and manners?
For me this is such an important role in our dojos. It is easy however, to forget and become lax in this area.
It’s through courtesy and manners we learn about respect of everyone and everything. We need so much more of this today. I don’t like calling people names. I feel name calling is another form of bullying. I have lived through both calling kids names that stuck. I feel so bad about it now. Luckily, I have had the opportunity to apologize to most of them. I have also been called names. Especially about being short. Very few things got me angrier than “short” nicknames.
We should all try harder to listen more and speak positively whenever we can.
Our words can make or break some one’s day.
Topic 5: Bushido in today’s times?
How do we use some old fighting philosophy and use it today? Most martial arts schools are not using them as they say, “it doesn’t apply to today’s society” I disagree. When you look at most of the samurai tenants in bushido, they all apply.
Topic 6: Should we try to manage our emotions?
I was always taught and have taught myself that we never show our emotions. Never show pain, happy, sad, upset, out of control etc. Nothing more than a blank stare. I still believe this.
Topic 7: If perception is everything, can we manage this thought?
I have often thought about our perception verses reality and is there a difference?
I think we can learn to use our minds to change our perception to reinforce a good life skill.
Topic 8: Grandpa Grasshopper – Ojii-san Batta?
You will have to know about the old TV program Kung-Fu, with David Carradine, to understand the grasshopper reference. I believe the main connotation was “a young grasshopper has so much more to learn from the old blind master. At this point in my life I have so much more to learn (grasshopper) but I’m old but caring like a grandpa. I would recommend everyone watch this old TV program, a little corny but mostly some very good philosophy.
I look forward to your thoughts and comments.
May all your tomorrows be better than today!
Ojii-san Batta. (Grandpa Grasshopper)
Innocent Remarks that can cause damage.
We have the most passionate, professional instructors and staff in the martial arts community. I frequently travel within our industry, and I observe; there is no doubt we have the best.
As good as we are, we are still susceptible to making innocent mistakes. Inadvertent comments that cause damage. Most times we are unaware of these errors.
I’m talking about the innocent remarks made to old students who drop in to visit, asking students why they don’t participate in your class, or the recruiting of parents or friends at the school.
I know these comments are harmful because I have observed the uneasy reactions of people hearing these comments, the actual feedback from individuals who have experienced these remarks, and how I felt in the past when directed at me. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking people are more sensitive today than in the past. People have almost always reacted this way.
It is essential to understand why people take these comments negatively.
A student who has not trained for some time already comes into the school feeling uncomfortable. Many of us have been there before and felt a sense of guilt, even though not grounded. No one wants to hear comments such as “Where have you been” or “When are you going to start training?” These innocent remarks, sometimes just conversation statements, make the person feel uncomfortable and forces them to justify their decisions. These remarks can cause a person to resist revisiting our school. Many have not returned.
The best thing to do when seeing an old student is to express your sincere excitement to see them. Ask them how they are doing. If they ask about training, discuss it. If they start giving reasons why they haven’t been coming, quickly say no problem. I like adding a philosophical response such as “training fluctuates through life. Sometimes we can train, other times we can’t.” This kind of reply puts the student at ease. The nice thing about this comment, it’s the truth. Finally, ask yourself what you would like to hear if you were in their position?
When making the innocent remark of asking why someone hasn’t been attending your class, you are questioning the intent of their decision. You are unintentionally forcing the student to give a reason or make an excuse, thus creating a feeling of indignity.
There is a reason the student is not participating in your class. It could be because of schedule, time, or maybe they don’t enjoy your class. Embarrassing them is not going to solve anything other than creating more negative feelings. I have black belts who never attend my classes. I never ask them why. I know they are great people and there is a reason. I don’t need to put them in an awkward position to justify their actions. Shaming someone into attending your class is not the answer.
The final innocent mistake is in recruiting. Yes, we are in the business of helping people and to encourage. However, there is a fine line between motivating or creating a problem. If a parent or friend shows an interest, of course, discuss the possibility. But be careful of initiating the topic. You may not know the state of mind of the individual. They could take your innocent suggestion wrong and think you are judging their physical condition or worse. Training ideas need to come from our TVs, emails, or other marketing literature encouraging participation. Passive marketing is the safest way. Finally, none of us want to be sold or pushed into doing something we don’t want to do. We do not want to look like those hard marketing schools. That is not who we are.
The following quotes influence me as I communicate daily.
“Be careful with your words. Once they are said, they can be only forgiven, not forgotten.” -Unknown
“Words have energy and power with the ability to help, to heal, to hinder, to hurt, to harm, to humiliate, and to humble.” -Yehuda Berg
In closing, we have all made these innocent mistakes. When in discussions with others, always put yourself in their place. Think about what words and phrases motivate and what could possibly offend.
Choosing the correct word and phrases is another form of karate training.
Your issues are in your tissues
You bump up against the body and feelings any time you are in a yoga class. And there are times in life when you want to be anywhere except where you are. It’s a natural part of the human experience. And yet, if you can learn to stay with discomfort, the next moment often yields something new and sweet—release, emotional relief, or transitional personal growth. What brings you to the yoga mat over and over is that wonderful feeling of completeness and peace when you stay present with whatever arises during practice, and also when you bring what is present in your daily life to the mat.
Journaling after yoga practice can help you to find clarity in the mire of feeling and emotions. It can feel like talking to a good friend — only that compassionate, wise person on the other side of the dialogue is you. A journaling practice can be done in a form of specific questions and answers. Do whatever works for you.
Combining yoga and journaling can help with self-understanding. Yin yoga, combined with journaling is beneficial for acknowledging, “digesting” and “sorting” emotions that arise for you on and off the yoga mat. This practice includes longer holds of postures (one to three minutes) because that allows space for emotions to bubble to the surface. Consider using the old-fashioned, manual art of putting pen to paper instead of typing your notes—studies show that the mere presence of computers or smartphones alters the way you think.