September 13, 2020

What Makes A Good Student

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Welcome back to the Karate 4 Life Podcast.

Episode 2 – What Makes A Good Student

In this episode, we explore what it is that makes a good student. This is something that we believe is a key ingredient to accelerate your karate journey and also help you to excel in all areas of life.

—- Transcript —-

Martin: Hey everyone, this is Martin & Sandra Phillips, welcome to the Karate 4 Life Podcast.

Sandra: Today we want to talk about, ‘what makes a good student, both in the dojo and in life.’

Martin: We’ve noticed that everyone faces challenges in life, some big some small. But not everyone has a way to navigate these problems.

Sandra: It’s not always easy, but we’ve found that we always keep coming back to what we’ve learned from our years in the dojo.

Martin: And that’s what this podcast is about…

Sandra: Helping us all find the solutions to life’s problems…

Martin: Or even better yet, to remove the problems before they arise.

Sandra: This is Martin & Sandra Phillips and welcome to the Karate 4 Life Podcast.

Sandra: It’s another wonderful day on the Sunshine Coast, and you’ve just been for a bike ride. How are you feeling?

Martin: Feeling pumped and ready to go.

Sandra: Have you got some good information for us this morning?

Martin: Oh, I hope so.

Sandra: I hope you do or we’d be in trouble if you don’t. Just going to share with everybody that we tend to do a lot of discussion about our students. We like to keep in the loop with what’s going on in the dojo. We don’t teach every class together these days. We have one of us in, one of us out, and we, on the odd occasion, are in there together. We do a lot of chatting about students and we certainly have a lot of great students on the Sunshine Coast.

Martin: We certainly do, we have some really good students.

Sandra: Yes. We’ve been thinking about how to help people learn more about what makes a great student. We’ve been thinking deeply and looking for three things. Three things that stand out, which we believe make a great student. Of course, there are a lot of other things we could add to this list, but these are the top three things that we believe, if you do these three things and have the courage to step up, you will be a great student in any endeavor that you choose to do.

Martin, what have we got?

Martin: Oh, you put a lot of pressure on, just three things. First one, I guess, is to have a curious mind. This is what we see, particularly from beginners and the beginner mindset of being able to look at things with wide eyes and go, “Wow, I really want to learn about that. I really want to know how that works.” Just the way how you look at things with your eyes wide open.

This is something, as a beginner, a lot of people are really good at, but then as you get further along, people want to aim to get back to that beginner mindset and look at things with curiosity.

Sandra: I love that. I’ve got to be truthful with you. That’s how I feel when I go to Japan or have a chance to train with Soke Sensei. I just think there’s so much more that I need to know, and I know there’s much more I need to do, but you just look at what he does and the things that he shares, and it’s just like, “Wow.”

Martin: Mind-blowing.

Sandra: Mind-blowing what you can do. I think I celebrate 30 years in a dojo this year, I think you celebrate 60 years or so.

Martin: Steady on. [laughs]

Sandra: 35?

Martin: 36.

Sandra: 36 years in the dojo. I guess, to be so far on in our journey, we’re still quite young really. It’s certainly very wide-eyed for us. Isn’t it? There’s so much more we have to learn yet.

Martin: Oh, yes, there is. Yes. Absolutely.

Sandra: Curiosity. Let’s keep moving on, shall we? What’s the second thing in your mind?

Martin: As you get through the initial stages of practicing curiosity, we’ll look at developing a growth mindset. Looking at how you’re doing things as you’re doing something, because you start over time, obviously, you need to repeat things again and again and again and again. Some people can look at that and go, “Oh, that same old thing doing that and getting bored with it,” or other people staying right next to their mind they’re just getting more curious and more curious and more curious, as by asking that question how can they do better.

Sandra: They’re engaging their mind whilst they practice. They’re not just doing things mindlessly, they’re turning up with a purpose to improve themselves, and they know they need to get their mind turning over.

Martin: Yes, absolutely. That’s a really good way to put it. Engaging the mind in the process so it becomes– A few people I’ve spoken to, and I kind of look at this in the same way, –karate becomes more than just a physical exercise, it becomes a meditation in motion. As you’re moving your body, your mind’s being engaged in such a focused way that you can’t figure out anything else that’s going on around you.

Sandra: Yes. Isn’t that an exciting thing that brings you into the moment, and we are all so caught up in our own lives sometimes, thinking about the past, thinking about the future, and what we’re going to do next or getting our checklist all ticked off and that kind of thing. Yet in the dojo, you’re forced to engage your mind in such a way where it takes you into the moment, that’s the most beautiful, peaceful place to be, isn’t it? You are there at that moment and you simply live fully.

Martin: I think that’s one of the things that people love about coming into the dojo. No matter what they’ve been through in the day, whether they had a tough day at work or school. They get into the dojo and you can see within minutes that the stresses melt away, and they’re just so engaged in what’s happening right in front of them.

Sandra: That’s fantastic. I guess you’ve got the curiosity, you’ve got the growth mindset, and they’re two very powerful ideas, aren’t they? Which, if you actively practice those two things, then you want to go back to the dojo more and more, don’t you? Which comes to our third idea which would help you be a great student.

Martin: Which is, just to be consistent, just turn up. There are going to be times when you just feel rubbish, you just don’t want to turn up like, say, there’s things going on in life outside of the dojo that are taking your focus, or if you’re just physically feeling in a low state or mentally in the low state, and the advice we would like to give him in this segment is just turn up. It’s not just physically turn up, but turn up mentally as well. Turn up and bring your A-game.

Sandra: When you turn up, you see people who are on fire and moving, and some days you don’t have that feeling within yourself, but you say to yourself, “You know what, if I focus on myself throughout this lesson, I’m going to get nowhere,”. If you switch your focus across to those people with you in the dojo at that point in time and jump on their wave with them, that’s another way to pull yourself out of those moments. You actually leave the dojo in a much better state with your energy than when you first arrived.

Martin: Yes, I guess one of the things I love about the dojo is the community element. When you’re having a low state, you can feed off the positivity of others, feed off their energy, and then, in turn, when they are having a low state you can give back to them as well.

Sandra: It’s always about helping each other. You just have to help each other and keep moving forward one day at a time, one lesson at a time.

Let’s wrap up. Our top three things to be a great student one more time, please.

Martin: Curiosity, having a growth mindset and turning up.

Sandra: Awesome. We hope that this helps you all with your training in the dojo and also to apply to all areas of your life. These are three things that we also apply to our lives. Have a wonderful day everybody, and we’ll see you in the dojo.

Martin: Thanks for listening to today’s episode of the Karate 4 Life Podcast.

Sandra: If you found this episode useful, please comment on our website

Martin: Share it with your friends via social media and don’t forget to tag us #karate4lifepodcast.

And if you’ve got a topic that you’d like us to cover in a future episode or questions about karate or life…

Sandra: Please send us a message, we’d be more than happy to share our thoughts.

Martin: Thanks again for joining us and stay tuned for the next episode which will be about ‘The power of leading by example’.

About the author 

Sandra & Martin Phillips

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  1. I love how you relate your ideas and experiences from karate to everyday life. Anyone can apply these tips to the circumstances that suit them.

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