Mostly For Parents

Sensei Keeling is known for his holistic teaching approach and sharing non-Karate tips in classes. Here is a short list of things he has spoken about multiple times in classes that parents may want to keep in mind and discuss with them further. Some are philosophical and most are intended to make people think.

  • “You don’t need to clean your room…if you don’t make a mess!”
    • The idea here is that if you are responsible about how you act, you won’t need to worry about how to clean up your messes if you don’t make any. For kids, the message is straightforward when it involves cleaning. For older people, we should also understand the implications for self-defense – You don’t need to worry so much about how to get out of trouble if you don’t let yourself get into trouble.
  • “If you accidentally hurt someone (physically or emotionally), ask first ‘Are you OK?’ and then after that you should probably apologize.”
    • To default to saying “Sorry” as your first response seems to relieve ourselves of blame and make us feel better. Let’s instead focus on the other person. Let’s show compassion as our default.
  • “Karate is like math, and focusing on the basics is important.”
    • As with math, we should focus on /prioritize the type of Karate maneuvers we are expected to be doing at our particular level. But it’s a good idea to review things that are more basic and sometimes challenge ourselves with something we aren’t yet quite ready to do well, to keep improving our foundation while looking ahead into the future.
  • “Eat your vegetables so you can sometimes get dessert for a treat.”
    • It’s OK to be silly or have fun sometimes. But we must first spend time doing serious stuff to earn the right to have fun, just as we shouldn’t expect dessert if we haven’t eaten our vegetables first.
  • “Not all aliens (or monsters) are bad. We need to pay attention to make sure.”
    • The idea is that we should be conscious that some people look bad but are good, or look good but are bad. We should be paying attention and thinking to really understand the intentions of others. Don’t just assume. Some people (such as vampires) are sneaky. This has obvious implications for self-defense.
  • “Always do your best, even if nobody else is watching.”
    • Basically, the message is “Do the right thing” as opposed to worrying about how other people perceive you. More on this here.
  • “It’s not whether you win or lose…unless you win!”
    • Life shouldn’t be a constant competition and certainly should not be about showing you are better than other people. But when you do win, be proud of yourself! Never rub it in someone else’s face if they don’t do as well as you. Cheer on others! But it’s OK to cheer on yourself, too!
  • “Pay Attention and Try”
    • As I tell students often, not only is paying attention and trying going to help them get better at Karate, but it will help with ANYTHING. You may not get better at something right away. But paying attention and trying will speed up the process.

(Other tips will be added later. Parents: If you hear Sensei Keeling say something in class that you think should be added here, please let him know.)