Many parents look to the martial arts to help them teach their children discipline. It is a smart move. The spirit of discipline that the martial arts offers is a positive force on all students that experience it. Even the students that don’t stick with martial arts can carry a sense of discipline beyond the dojo. Just having a sense of discipline can improve one’s performance but you need more than just a sense of discipline if you want to achieve excellence.
There is a quote that makes its way around social medial that asks the question “How long does it take for the average person to earn their black belt? And answers “The average person does not earn their black belt.” It is the same with any difficult goal. You need more than average effort to achieve excellence.
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” Aristotle
In martial arts drilling leads to improved performance, in school studying leads to high test scores, or stated a different way, practice leads to better performance. It is not the talent that leads to excellence. It is the practice, the endurance and the discipline that leads to excellence.
Just because someone has talent does not mean that they have the discipline to hone that talent. It is important to instill a sense of discipline above the expression of talent. Motivation to excel is not permanent. If the student does not have the discipline to get him through the tough or boring spots to the next stage of motivation, he will quit. Even when these unmotivated students without discipline stay in class, they show that they have quit in their heads. You can see it in their poor technique.
Most of our students will not need to defend themselves. There are many ways for our students to stay fit. There are even more ways for our students to find enjoyment with their time. The thing that will add the most value to your students’ lives is the addition of discipline. Not only will the sense of discipline help your students reach black belt, it will help them succeed in life. Defense, fitness and enjoyment are all valuable to your students but having discipline will help your students most.
Getting a high school and college degree requires discipline. Reaching your goals at work and even staying in shape as we get older all require discipline. If you can instill discipline in your students, you are doing them a greater service than just teaching them kicks and punches. Lead by example, stay in shape, train hard, and show your students the benefits of living a disciplined life.