Blog of Sara Jakša

What Did I Learn About Discipline

I had been a karate assistant teacher for almost a year. Among my responsibilities was also guide the exercise once a week without help.

There is nothing that teaches you about the discipline, that having to lead the people, that you had trained together for years. Especially, if they are early teenagers, more often than not trying to get the easiest way out. And they are not going to listen easily to a person, that was perceived as their equal just a day ago.

The first lesson that I learned, is to leverage the gregarious instinct as much as possible. The older members wants to work out, so they will listen to me, if we were doing something. So I learned, that if I have at least one older member in the group, the whole process is easier.

Not that older trainees have no problems. But getting their respect, and having their authority follows a more logical approach. I have to appear to know what I am doing and ask for their opinion from time to time. I tend to lean more in the way for asking about my job to much, and I had to learn to make my own decision and at least appear that I know what to do.

These techniques do not work on the younger people. They want to have fun and sometimes they are simply not in the mood to exercise.

The first lesson that I learned is, that I need to be stubborn. They need to get at least some exercise. That means, that I had to be firm and make sure they got it. I helped that they figured it out, that I am not that easy swayed.

The example was, when the main trainer told me, that we have to get over all the techniques for the next examinations. A told them, that we are going to go through it. We repeated every technique, until they executed it at least plausibly. They tried to make me give up, by doing a horrible job, but I did not sway. After that, I had a lot less trouble with their discipline.

The other thing that I learned, that they like some parts of the work out better than others. I know that for example, my group prefers fighting to katas and katas to basic techniques. But they like the self defence the most. So I try to incorporate at least some of the things that they like in the trening.

I figured it out, that if they need to work out in pairs, even if I am constantly watching, they tend to not work as hard. That is why, since we have a small group, I try to work in pairs with every single person. If the workout is intense, then I let the others get their breath back, otherwise I try to give them some easy exercises for strength or explosive power to do.

I also give them that kind of exercise, if they have too much energy and are as that harder to control. But I make sure we stop soon after I hear the first complains.

If I have only younger people in my group, then I finish with relaxation. They try some moves, that they had seen in the movies or they think are cool or they are jumping on the cushion. Or trying some exercise, like they give a hypothetical situation and we try to find the best way out. We also talk about many things in that time.

But I am lucky, that I could start with the small group, that are really supportive of me. These lessons are my beginning and I can't wait to try my skill on a bigger group in the future.