Thursday, 4 July 2013

Karate business lessons ... Part 2

Aside from medical insurance (which is my main work and client activity) and science fiction (which I have watched and read since I was four or five) karate is probably the thing I know the most about.
I have studied karate since I was ten in 1980 - that's over 33 years now and I'm a 2nd Dan Black Belt in a style called Tai Sabaki Do (literally 'the way of the avoiding body') and a 1st kyu brown belt in Shukokai karate.

I mention this in the context of my business blog because martial arts are in fact an excellent microcosm of life plus business and in many instances it is possible to draw interesting and relevant parallels or at least parables for life.

I had to run the dojo at yesterday evening at my Shukokai class in the absence of our senior instructor (Sensei). It was a good session and I felt everyone in the class worked hard, listened to me and enjoyed the class.
My thoughts this morning writing this post involves the required trust both by me as the stand in instructor and the students working out under me and I thought created an interesting dynamic. On paper of course there is no reason why the group of disparate people in the class should listen to me or indeed do as I say. This level of trust, especially in a situation where (controlled) violence/danger is a possibility is interesting and is based on a number of factors :

confidence of the instructor and their ability to create a rapport with people; understanding of the knowledge and skill set of the instructor by the students and vice versa (the instructor teaching at the right level for the class which will change session by session) and the ability to create interesting and engaging lessons/content for the class.

These factors (mutual trust, ability to empathise and communicate etc) of course are vital elements of business too and it is no surprise in my experience that many senior karate instructors are also self employed business people in addition to running their own karate class. Of the six senior instructors I know well personally, four of six work for themselves.

Doing karate or any martial art doesn't make you a good business person but many of the skill sets are very transferable and if nothing else the confidence and discipline involved in participating in a martial arts can do nothing but make you a more rounded individual.

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