Recently, in a Saturday morning karate class, I had a great discussion with my young martial artists, their ages 8, 11 and 12. Before starting our routine of punches, kicks, blocks, jumping kicks, kata's and self defense techniques which make up the physical portion of our workout, we talked about how does a person really get good at something? Is it just knowing what the techniques are, I asked?
By now these youngsters have figured out that just knowing is not enough; we must apply. After many months or years as the case may be, they have come to understand that in order to get really good at something one must apply a good effort over a period of time. But, there's one more thing that is absolutely necessary in order to be able to make that happen: enthusiasm!
I have always believed there are three essential elements that must be present in order to achieve skill; to master technique; to master ones self: effort, time, enthusiasm. If a person, especially a child, lacks enthusiasm about what they are doing, their effort will show it. It will be hard for them to continue keeping up a good effort over time if they're not enjoying the process. Learning to self-motivate is the key to staying enthused ,which I will discuss in a later blog post.