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Preparing Kids for the Job Market (Part 1)

A stack of colorful notebooks with the words on them, showcasing different jobs and how karate can prepare people for the market.

Forbes came out with The 10 Skills Employers Most Want In 20-Something Employees’

I’ve chosen 3 that directly relate to what we do within our organization where we add value each and every day. I will speak on #1 in this post.

1.) Ability to work in a team

2.) Ability to make decisions and solve problems

3.) Ability to sell and influence others

Ability to work in a team

A group of people in a circle demonstrating teamwork.

Nothing quite compares to the feeling you get that you’re part of something bigger than yourself; to take part with others in achieving a level of greatness not possible if attempted alone. We must teach our kids to be team players.

Putting a man on the moon, constructing the Hoover Dam, cracking the Human Genome, none of this could have happened without a considerable amount of teamwork.

I speak to these topics in our classes, because I believe in the underlying greatness in all of our students...And that people will rise to their expectations.

Running a company, performing a surgery... Heck, the mere act of getting your child to TaeKwonDo class on time, all of these things require teamwork.


“There is no ‘i’ in team, but there is no team without individuals.”



Being on the team

an image representing a triangular relationship as exists in training a martial arts student as a parent, teacher and his or herself

There exists a triangular relationship that families are all involved in. When your child leaves the home and goes out into the world, there are those people entrusted with their education, training, and well being. Something that should not be taken lightly.

Students have responsibilities. Parents/Loved Ones have responsibilities. Our staff and I have responsibilities.

Our team and I will spend 1,000 hours outside of class if we need to motivating our students to stay the course, It is important that our families know of our willingness to serve.

Many parents talk to me about their child "finding their love." It is through my experience that the first time you take class, it is fun because it is new. "Love" only comes through engaged practice...taking part FULLY in the transformative process that can be martial arts training.

We have many exemplary role models within our group. We have 15 year old college students, Eagle Scouts, Star Academics, Architects, Computer Programmers, those with Graduate Degrees, Inventors, top ranked snowboarders, and other successful people ranging in age from 7 through adulthood. We have had students attend UNC schools, MIT, Stanford, and more.

Successful people come out of this school, but we need to instill in our families the mindset for success. The student is going to have to realize that they are not going to always love everything about what they do in any activity, but at the end of the day, they will have shown GRIT by overcoming small barriers that appear in their way by STAYING THE COURSE.

We teach the student to be their best in all things. It is the state of mind, not the subject matter. Be great in our schools, and you will be great in other things.

We can help you blast past barriers if you are willing to be fully-engaged as a family/team.

Be more than a warm body

An athletic man in a yellow tank top.

Each team member must demand excellence from themselves in order to best maximize their contribution to the larger group.

An infinite amount of warm bodies will inevitably fail to do the work that matters.

Martial Arts is an individual and very personal practice. How then can one develop a strong sense of teamwork? Wouldn’t the term “individual sport” imply that there is little to no teamwork within the martial arts framework?

It’s true. Martial Arts is not typically considered a team sport. Participating in a Karate class, your performance does not directly correlate to the success of others in the room.

Indirectly however, people take notice when you perform at your highest level. We teach that students that others will model themselves after them, and that they are important to the team.

Learn to lead by example

Usain Bolt says that he tries to lead by example. That’s an understatement. Yes, the fastest man on earth...the man who runs the 100m in under 10 seconds leads by example.

It’s human performance at levels like this that challenge people’s perceptions of what is possible.

Every team needs a leader. This is not necessarily the same person all of the time, and children must learn to serve as much or more as they lead.

In individual sports, you can be a leader by always giving it your best. Others complain or break down when they tire, but not you. You belt out Yes Sir/Yes Ma’am/Yes Coach like the best of them. Not because you want to “out-do” the others, but due to your indomitable spirit and the high expectations that you set for yourself on a daily basis. That is one way that you can be a leader: By performing at your highest level.

Another way that you can become a leader is through offering words of encouragement and lending a hand to others, and otherwise contributing as a team player.

In martial arts, the class is your team, and we compete against each other engaging in healthy competition. Doing this challenges us all to become better.

Students are taught that their individual performance does have a great deal to do with the success of others. We’re not talking about just physical prowess, but having a contagious attitude.

The rank formation in class puts the more experienced students up front. These are like our team captains. They are expected to not only perform at their highest level, but to do so with the understanding that each one is inherently a leader for others to follow.

They are held to higher expectations, because after all, if the black belts have a bad attitude, where is there for the white belts to go?

Even the beginners are asked to demonstrate good behavior that is then reflected back to the seniors created an endless loop of positive reinforcing behavior that builds into a positive storm of energy and excitement.

You can’t do it alone.

A woman preparing for a boxing match with the help of her coach.

Your instructors will coach you along demanding excellence from you. Your

parents will offer encouragement along the way. Your peers will build you up. This is your trifecta. You succeed when there is support from all sides. Have you ever needed or wanted more support?

Shadow boxing does not prepare you for real life. There is no winner. There is no loser. You can always stop when you get tired, frustrated, or thirsty. There is no one pushing you towards greatness. You could do it alone, but why would you want to?

Life is a series of punches. Some will miss you, others will graze you, and the occasional one will knock you flat on your back.

Have a sparring partner.

To challenge.

To pick you back up.

They’ll look out for you.

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