I’ve always maintained two minds when it comes to external gratification in the martial arts.  (Don’t believe me READ THIS…)

On the positive side, having an external goal can provide a focal point to training and solicit the hard work necessary for youth (and adults) to feel that critical sense of improvement and forward momentum…and that’s exactly what I saw at our recent dojo competition.

It’s all a matter of perspective when it comes to the observation of karate tournaments.  You could see youngsters throwing potentially dangerous techniques at each other or repeating some antiquated set of moves that seemingly make no sense or… you could see what I saw that day.

Here’s my take…


Those techniques you saw are indeed dangerous BUT are being thrown with skill and precision that saw ZERO injuries (with nearly 100 matches) on the day.  Why? Training.  There is not one spectacular goal, perfect musical note, high exam grade, or pressure packed martial arts technique that isn’t the product of hard work and partnership between dedicated student, focused program, and diligent coach.  So FULL PROPS #1 to our athletes and their volunteer coaches who go all in for the love of the art.


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Quote time.

“We gain strength, and courage, and confidence by each experience in which we really stop to look fear in the face… we must do that which we think we cannot.” -Eleanor Roosevelt

There isn’t one athlete on the mats that hasn’t experienced fear, self doubt, and, in a lot of cases, the feeling that they’re going to throw up. At this competition I saw kids with steely confidence facing challenges that would have brought them to tears a year ago.  That’s a WIN and the power of staying strong through the tough times.  Mental toughness is a life skill that can make the difference between success and failure in most endeavors. For this, I have to give some HIGH FIVES to the parents who stood behind their kids during the rough patches and didn’t let them QUIT ON THEMSELVES.  Being a parent is tough but seeing your child stand like a champ on the mats is an amazing feeling.


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I’m not sure of any other place that you can punch and kick someone and the product is respect and deep friendship. We saw some EPIC back and forth battles on the mats but the best part for me was the smiles, hand shakes, hugs, and support between competitors for a job well done.  In one case, two students were talking about movies before the match, then bowed into the ring, fought an incredible fight to a decision, and then went right back to their conversation afterwards.  That’s just plain awesome.  So SHOUT OUT to my comp team kids for sheer incredible-ness.


More quote goodness.

“When a team outgrows individual performance and learns team confidence, excellence becomes a reality.”

Our team consists of EVERYONE who walks in the door of the dojo.  When we work together and agree that MARTIAL ARTS EXCELLENCE is the goal above all else, we do indeed achieve true greatness.  (back to my obsession with SUPER ORDINATE GOALS 🙂

And in case the Inner Dojo Competition wasn’t enough, it was an added bonus to see so many of our athletes, friends, and family using their strengths to support the community the day after at the Active Cambridge Urban Adventure Race.

With work…life can be great!

Our TEAM is always looking for enthusiastic new members…Join us for a tour and chat!

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