Word of the Month: Responsibility
One of the important aspects of our character development program at Douvris Martial Arts is that it not only teaches students how to become responsible but it also empowers to use that tool to grow and become the best version of themselves they can be.
As Sensei Cody Diesbourg explains, one of the best ways we have to teach children about responsibility is our leadership program. Intermediate and advanced students are given the opportunity to assist in teaching beginner classes. Our leaders are expected to show up and help during the same classes, and to get there on time and with all their equipment, to make sure they understand how responsibility and accountability work. This is not something every seven- or eight-year-old gets to do everywhere, but we believe that giving children opportunities to be responsible early is a great teaching tool for character development.
However, we also take great care not to put too much responsibility on such young shoulders. “We’re not looking for perfection right off the bat,” says Sensei Cody, because that would certainly be unreasonable to ask of children that age. “We’re here to help our students along the way. And if you make a mistake, the important thing is that you’re not just hiding it. We try to show them that it’s OK to make mistakes, as long as you admit it and improve upon it; if you make excuses, you don’t make any progress.”
With responsibility comes accountability, and one of the ways we encourage our students to become better at both is by expecting them to practice their skills on their own so they remember the lessons from one class to the next. “That’s the give-and-take relationship between students and instructors here at Douvris Martial Arts where, when you come back, there’s that accountability that you should know your stuff,” Sensei Cody says.
Karate is a discipline where students learn skills that can be dangerous if used improperly. Our responsibility as instructors is to make sure students understand when it’s OK to use their kicks and punches, and when it’s not, and to remember that difference when they’re outside the dojo. As Sensei Cody explains, “The best way to prove that you’ve learned something is to not ever have to use it. Using your brain – it’s your best weapon – and being able to get yourself out of a situation without having to use your kicks and punches, really makes us happy.”