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Find the Open Door and Windows.

Well, I am definitely in a dilemna.

In only three short weeks, I leave for college. I am excited, slightly nervous, but ready to just get there. My roommate takes Shotokan, and is very interested to learn what I know. I jokingly made a remark how maybe we could make a 'club' teaching Kenpo and Shotokan. She insisted that she didn't know enough to teach Shotokan, but thought it would be great if I could start teaching Kenpo.

And there is my dilemna.

I would love to open a club and teach. To pass on my knowledge, to be in charge of my own business. But wow.

 What system do I use? As affiliates and underneaths are ever-changing, I am sort of ... lost. There's a new studio opening out in Illinois that they want me to teach at occasionally - which is fine. But do I go under him? Do I stay under the one I am under now? Do I seek to go back under that which I was once under? Or do I seek elsewhere? Or do I just go it alone?

 These questions haunt me, but for the first time, I actually feel peace about the next step: teaching Kenpo sometime this year.

 Oh Lord, help me not to get lost in the details ....

Still Within My Veins

I hate 'why' questions, especially when I don't have the answers or when the answer is just too complex for me to understand.

I wrote that in my journal last night, in a letter to my boyfriend. I am slowly working towards remembering again, and martial arts keep meeting me at every turn.

I was texting a girl from working yesterday, and she shared that a tae kwan do black belt we know might have been shunned by his karate instructor. A chill went down my spine. Can you never escape it? Is every martial art like this?

Ironically it inspired me to keep studying, so that I might be able to set a different example, one that includes forgiveness.

That letter also made me realize that I have to share with my boyfriend about my struggles. Maybe not in depth, because I don't want to burden him. But I need to at least give him some inkling that I am struggling (as I am), and ask for his prayer, love, and support. He is the only one I can trust to understand.

I am most afraid of facing the past, the memories, the flashbacks. But in order to make it up this mountain I've been ignoring, I have to. I read over this journal for the first time today. I definitely had to escape twice, away from prying eyes, to let the tears fall when I was alone.

I don't know what lies ahead. I think that's why I've always been afraid to remember what I know. If I forgot it, there was nothing scary ahead, no fog. I closed my eyes to it. But now, I know I need to remember, to, in a way, find that piece of me that I lost when I chose to not remember.

God, please help me. Give me the encouragement and strength to keep going. And God, help my boyfriend not to hate me but to be willing to support me, at least through prayer.

I need all the help I can get.

A Ventation about Poorly Run Studios

A list of qualities I hate in studios (and possibly an explanation why, depends how much I feel like going into it):
  • Unkept Promises.
  •  In my opinion, this is among the worst of them. Promises made to your instructors or your higher belts that are unkept or met with excuses will cause your higher belts/instructors lose faith in you, and possibly in the Art itself. However, because they have experience in the field, they are unlikely to quit because of this - only become discouraged.

     However, when you do not keep your promises to lower belts, you can expect a fall-out of sorts. Orange to green belt is the most important time in any karateka's life. This is when a student decides whether to continue his studies in the martial arts, or whether to give up. A truly excited student (and ideally good) is hard to find, especially when he has good ideas to help improve the studio. If you promise him to start something, then make excuses and never start it, he will become discouraged and quit. You will lose not only a student, but a powerful asset that could've set your studio apart from the one across the street.

  • Poor Budget Planning
  • It is proper to set your goals into four groups: weekly, monthly, yearly, and five years in the future. If you have a realistic expectation for where you are, a dream of where you want to be, and a down-to-earth plan of where you want to be, you should be unstoppable.

    You should also budget accordingly. Is that white out board worth the five bucks, or is it better to save up a little more and get a better bag? Which will help the studio out more? Which will contribute to the happiness of your students?

  • Loss of Appreciation for Your Staff


      Your staff is your way of being in more than one place at one time. They will either confirm or deny the customer's expectations/hopes, and you should train them accordingly.

       Here's the honest truth: your staff is what will make or break your business. Not your location, not your product, and not you. While all the things will help, your staff is how people decide whether or not they will continue with your business or seek to find a different one. 
  •   That being said you must also be sure to appreciate them. Make sure to take the step to thank them for doing a good job. Take some time out of your schedule to show them something new, or ask their opinion on a decision. It does not have to be 'business partner esque' - but something to make them want to keep coming back and strive to be the best.

Life Examined.

I am continuing to try to study on my own. I am beginning to write manuals, which has definitely been a challenge for me, but also very good for me.

The hardest part right now is keeping which is the 'old way', which is the 'new way', and which is the way we're doing it. (Which in some cases, is actually a third way.) It's definitely challenging.

I also definitely don't have the 'fire' I used to with Kenpo, which is sad. I do miss it, but it will take a more heavy duty training and consistent with-others practice to get it back.

I'm hoping that once I 'leave for college', that my boyfriend will agree to begin working with me again. Not that he's turned me down, but I'm hesitant to ask. It's too confusing with being in two separate heavily-competing studios.

Time will only tell ...
So, after much prayer, I talked to my boyfriend about the studio situation. I was really preparing to leave. I knew that I would face endless ridicule from both my family and from the old studio to which I was returning, but I was willing to face the challenge. His answer surprised me:

You need to stay where you are. Because even though I love my studio, it's not that great all the time. The old problems are still apparent. You can always learn Kenpo. But this happens to be a rare chance that you can learn how to run a karate studio, which is what you need. You won't get that chance at the old studio.

So I am staying where I am for now. College in the fall will change a lot, I'm sure. And if he gets his own route, that will change a lot too. So I'm just praying and waiting. We'll see what happens. :)