Along with learning Martial Arts, at Pro Martial Arts Waterloo we also emphasize Character Education as a cornerstone of our program. Each month we focus our “mat chats” on a specific topic and through conversations with the students extend their area of a particular life-skill. Being a part of a larger system allows us to tap into exceptional curriculum to help students develop through the program. The focus for this month is on developing an understanding of Respect, which is a core lesson in every class. Many parents today lament that their kids do not have as much respect as they did when they were young. Using proven curriculum, we are able to have conversations with our students to help them re-think how they can be more respectful.
Learning respect is not a once-a-year activity in our studio (dojo). It the essence of any good Martial Arts program and the nature of how the discipline is taught fosters respect and appreciation.
In an article by Nathan Bernardo, he discusses how the process of learning Martial Arts develops character and respect in students. He outlines what we witness at our studio as students become more self confident and learn how to demonstrate success to the instructors and fellow students. We hear stories from parents about how this behaviour continues outside of karate class and permeates all aspects of their lives. As he says “It permeates a person’s life and creates solid relationships and a sense of justice and respect”.
As described in this article about ‘How martial arts teaches respect‘, learning humility is a key cornerstone. “There’s always someone with greater skills, so humility is a major part of training. Kids who learn humility by seeing they have a lot of work to do will come to respect others, especially those who are talented. In fact, being humble is an integral part of being respectful.” In karate (as in life), there is always someone better than you. Kids learn to understand that they do not need to compete with each other in class and can focus on cooperation and helping each other.