Dear Sensei Sashi, Senpais: Destiny, Ben, Brandon, Melody and little Andrew Rivera, and all of you aspiring to be a sensei one day.
I'm really happy to hear you want to become better versions of yourselves by passing on the knowledge and strength you have come to acquire over time. This is the spirit of karate do, and I'm always ecstatic to hear people say how much they want to become a role model to others.
I'm writing this to help you on your way to achieve that dream.
Please know that just because you won some tournaments and have attained a high rank, you're not all of a sudden ready to become an effective teacher.
There are good karateka, and there are good sensei. Often, you can only be one of the two. It takes a special breed to be both of those at the same time.
Good martial artists work hard. They concentrate, persevere, and overcome obstacles. Thats the basic requirement for any ATHELETE. But, for a sensei, the main requirement is leadership. You can have a super-star athlete with many accolades and ranks, but they can still be a terrible sensei because they lack the tools to be a leader.
Leadership entails four not-so-easy to attain things:
-Expertise in your field
If you notice, only one of those (expertise in your field) can be attained through constant training and studying of karate. The other three purely depend on your personality. Charisma being the most important.
Don't get me wrong, charisma, humility, and confidence are not untrainable qualities. Quite the contrary, it's something everyone can achieve, but it's not something we're born with. I was "senpai Alex (PAIN!!!)" for 5 years before I became Sensei. And boy let me tell ya, I was a geeky, unconfident mess before I started the journey of teaching others.
I want to offer some tips on how to get the 4 aforementioned things:
1. Unshakable confidence:
- Each morning give yourself a new compliment. (Don't get too cocky though)
- start believing anything is possible for you (it is)
2. Expertise in your field
- read "karate-do: my way of life" by gichin funakoshi
- not only practice hard, but study tape of the great kata and kumites of our time.
"Absorb what is useful. Discard what is not. Add what is uniquely your own."
3. Energetic charisma (this is the most important out of the 4)
- study famous motivational speakers and how they act while giving speeches.
- learn and memorize new jokes (and the appropriate time to use them).
-Speak to and meet new people as often as you can. Look them in the eyes (If you have trouble with this make it a game, first to look away loses). Stand up straight. Smile. This is great practice.
- genuinely compliment others no matter where you are or who they are. Find something awesome about them and tell them, it's that easy.
- This is self explanatory. Remember, no matter where you are or how far you've come, there's always someone way better than you.
These are only a few of the many ways you can train these 4 traits.
Please keep these things in mind as you embark on the journey of becoming a leader. I promise you, being a teacher and a role model opens up a lot of doors for your own self-development, while leaving a mark on others who look up to you... Nothing more special than that, guys.
Keep improving yourselves..."