I write a lot of articles about karate techniques and concepts, but not a lot about the people who train in karate. Today, I decided I would do that a little bit! When you start training in martial arts, you will notice that there are certain personality traits that keep popping up in certain people. These seem to exist in pretty much every martial art, so chances are good that you’ve run into them! I would like to take a lighthearted look at just 5 of the kinds of people you will find at the dojo.
The Reluctant One
This person doesn’t really want to be training. Honestly, everybody is “The Reluctant One,” at some point. You’re feeling tired and grumpy, and you really just want to stay at home, but you feel obligated to come to class. Usually, you leave class feeling better, so it works out! Sometimes, though, this is just a kid whose parents made him or her come to karate class. Do your best to encourage “The Reluctant One,” when you notice them having a hard time!
The Enthusiastic One
This person really loves training. This person tends to be me, most of the time, but if you enjoy martial arts, you will probably be “The Enthusiastic One” from time to time. Maybe Sensei is teaching something you find really interesting, or maybe you’re helping someone with a technique you feel you are good at, or maybe you just love to sweat. Sometimes, this person can become “The Overly Enthusiastic One.”
The Injured One
This person always seems to be injured or sick. In all fairness, everyone is going to get injured or sick, eventually–that’s just part of life. Some people, though, always seem to have something wrong. A broken finger, a cut on their foot, a kink in their back, etc. They may be limited in what they can do, but if they are on the mat, be sure to take time to work with “The Injured One!” They made the effort to train, even though they could have become “The Reluctant One,” instead!
The Philosophical One
This person really loves the “do” (“way”) in “budo,” and maybe they fancy themselves a bit of a zen master, as well. They like to have long discussions about self discipline and discovery, self control, and the meaning of life in the form of martial arts. “The Philosophical One” can be fun, but sometimes they get side-tracked, so if you are training with this person–or you are this person–do your best to save the philosophy for after class.
The Reminiscent One
This person misses the Good Old Days™, and will often tell you stories about them. The Good Old Days™ are always relative, and every person has them, so it’s easy to be “The Reminiscent One.” There can be a lot of value in these stories, and they can also be quite entertaining. We can learn a lot from the people who have been there before us, and we can teach a lot to the people who come after. Just like “The Philosophical One,” it’s easy to get wrapped up in conversation with “The Reminiscent One,” so do your best to keep the stories short until training is finished.