Sensei…I don’t have the time…(Yes you do).

“I don’t have the time”…really? Yes you do…let me explain why this excuse doesn’t work with your Sensei…

Over a period of time any student in martial arts will use this excuse as to why they are slacking off from training. Using this excuse as a reason to miss out on classes really doesn’t cut it and most Sensei, although we nod and shake as if we understand, know the reality is that you’re lacking self discipline to see your goals through. Now, before the yelling at me begins, let’s take a look at this closely.

You had the time when you began training. You made training a priority and it was scheduled into your daily events. Most martial arts schools these days hold classes on average of 45 minutes long and from four to six days a week. That is only 45 minutes out of your day to improve your Karate thus improving your health, confidence, focus and ability to build self discipline. Add in the average drive time and most are only looking at an hour of their time in any given day. The average person wastes anywhere from 3 to 4 hours every day playing video games, chatting on Facebook or other things that are, we to put it bluntly, stupid. You made Karate a priority in the beginning and the only thing that changed was you slacking off on showing up.

Then you have the “my schedule changed” or “things were added in” excuse. This doesn’t hold water either because you used to make getting to the dojo a priority and scheduled things around it. The only thing that changed here was you allowing your training time to slip away. This, too, is on you and is not a valid excuse…especially since (as stated above) most schools have classes up to six days a week. So your Tuesday scheduled changed then modify your Monday schedule to get the dojo. Problem solved…no excuse.

While there are literally hundreds of excuses people make to miss training the reality of it is they are just that…an excuse. No one accomplishes anything in life without struggle and sacrifice. Anyone saying different is lying, plain and simple. It is that struggle, that sacrifice that makes achieving anything GREAT. Without it you don’t take pride in your accomplishments nor will you value them.

Then you have the “I’m burned out” or “I lost my passion for it” excuse. These are terrible things to say to your Sensei because, guess what, they get burned out too and have been burned out many times but their training gave them the self discipline to show up, to teach, to help YOU (and other students) even when they would rather be fishing, riding their bike or simply relaxing at home. Telling your Sensei the reason you are missing classes or quitting is because you are burned out is nothing more than your own failure. Yes I am aware that people will get upset when they read this but that is because it is the truth. When confronted with it the excuses flow like water over Niagara Falls…but they are still excuses. How do I know? Because I have been there and so has anyone who has ever earned a black belt and became good at their Karate…just like YOU. The only difference is that they realized you can’t just quit things when you are bummed, burned out or losing interest in actual life. I worked a job for five years, three of which because I need to pay bills. I was burned out on it, hated going to work every morning but I did it…why? Because there were no other options for me at the time as we were in a recession. I got the discipline to show up to work and still do a great job, even being burned out, because of my Karate training.

So the “Don’t have time” excuse is not going to work with your Sensei. We see it for what it is 100% factually is…your failure to follow through on achieving your goals. Karate is not a short term goal…it is a long term one. No one has ever became successful at something in a few short months that requires long term objectives. That is another fact.

While I know that my personal experiences don’t apply to everyone out there teaching Karate I want to share with you how I built the dojo you train in. When I opened the doors to my dojo in 1991 I was working three part time jobs and going to school full time. I taught four nights a week and I was always there, even if no one showed up. Most of my weekends were spent working one job, going to a tournament and then teaching on Sundays (my only day off). This lasted from 1991 until 1996. In 1996 I got a full time job, worked a part time job, still was in school part time and still taught but now it was 5 days a week. My weekends were much of the same as before. Sure there were many times I wished I could just be out partying like all of my friends, enjoying fun times in life, and yes I was burned out over and over again from lack of sleep and energy but I had a goal. That goal was to build the martial arts program and dojo YOU are training in right now. It took sacrifices, blood, sweat, tears and being so broke that my bills had bills…and, guess what…

IT WAS ALL WORTH IT!

Yes that’s right, it was all worth it. Why? Because I have met great people like you. Trained thousands and watched their lives improved (once they stopped making excuses and trained regularly) as well as my own life has improved immensely from what I have learned teaching you all. It was the sacrifices that I made to set a schedule and the discipline to see it through that made me a successful teacher. Many times in my dojo you will hear me use the phrase “Anyone can be a black belt, especially if I did it”. I believe this with all my heart. I also know my program doesn’t fail people…people fail themselves. Karate doesn’t make excuses for you. You make excuses for failing at it…and those that do are the ones who really need to understand this article. My black belts are successful people in life. They see challenges and welcome them in. They excel at things they do be it school, a career, a relationship…whatever it is because they understood that passion comes and goes and you will get burned out but you can’t just quit because of it. That is why they are wearing a black belt. You could be too but first thing you must do is stop making excuses and get to the dojo.

One of my favorite sayings is “Dammate Keiko” which means shut up and train. This doesn’t mean to be quiet at the dojo. It means to stop making excuses why you are missing classes and get to the dojo to train. Another saying that we use in my dojo is “Nana Kurobi Ya Oki” which means “Seven times down Eight times up”…this is about how to become successful, not just in Karate, but in life.

As long as you keep making excuses why you can’t get to the dojo to train, and you keep justifying them (mostly in your own mind) you will never improve, never understand the process of growing beyond your comfort zone and never gain the ability to achieve success. Even though I say everyone can be a black belt some are not meant to be one. That is not a choice made by your Sensei or others…it is a choice made by you and to this day I have never, not once, met a person who said they were glad they quit Karate. They all say they wish they stuck with it and they miss it. The type of person you want to be is your choice. As for me, well I don’t make excuses. I show up and teach people like you even when I am burned out, don’t have time, would rather be doing something else or simply lost my passion for it…that’s why I am succeeding at teaching Karate. In the meantime get to the dojo and train. Leave the excuses at home and eventually you will be so glad you did that you will understand everything I just wrote in this blog. Thanks for reading and have a great day.

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