Team Training : Adults and Teens
For Kids 6-11, please see the Kids page.
Team Training simply means that we teach to the class average AND ensure that the class average is always moving forward. In order to do so, we are also teaching the students how to hold their own on a team that depends on them to advance. The result is that the students will become the best that they can be as aided by a unified group that is expected to set that same success-energy role model. Prospective students and parents of teens should consider carefully, however, whether they believe themselves (or their child) to be up to the challenge. All of team training occurs in 3 classes per week that team members should do the best to attend (all or most of; please see Class Schedule page), and people of all types can be successful if they are both present in class AND present with positive growth energy and a desire to support the team. Parents of unmotivated or undisciplined teens should not consider our program a means of making their kids motivated or disciplined.
Crucial to success is regular attendance. Our Team meets 3 times per week, and any new prospective members should carefully consider availability. Read more about Class Schedule on the link, above. New students do attend fewer sessions by a third, but when invited to join the Iaido and Jo-do sessions, their class schedule BECOMES (most of) three classes per week. All students have things that come up like travel and illness, but students are taught that they should strive to be successful in all things, which means not robbing progress from one pursuit (school homework, for example) to pay for success in another. Self-denial, self-discipline, self-sacrifice are all tenets of Budo Karate. Perseverance is what develops great skill.
This Team Training notion for what we do at Ligo Dojo represents a major sea change from how we operated up until several years ago. Although our nonprofit mission statement (our primary mandate) is to practice and propagate excellent martial arts, our secondary function (or even tertiary!) is to help needy members of the community. Fifteen years ago, we were recognized by grant making bodies in North Carolina as a program that could be a great asset to undisciplined and court-referred young people. As a result and for years, our nonprofit was funded by groups that also dictated that our energy be channeled into serving challenged populations. As the years passed, however, we struggled to remain true to our primary mandate while ALSO being routinely flooded by students who were often, and in many ways, the least capable of supporting the unified forward momentum required to advance our primary mission. An individual student who is undisciplined DOES indeed benefit from joining a structured group. However, if the MAJORITY of the group is allowed to become unstructured, the individual doesn’t get that benefit.
Since we no longer receive the funding that we once did to serve needy populations, we have shifted to this Team Training mentality as a self-defensive measure to keep our standard high EXACTLY FOR THE BENEFIT OF OUR STUDENTS who come to us to learn excellent martial arts, and that means teaching to an ever-advancing upward-motivated team AVERAGE. Families in this area are familiar with after school club soccer, and also “travel team” soccer. Kids have to try out for the travel teams, and have to participate with a team energy geared towards winning, and they can be cut from the team if they don’t keep up. We don’t have tryouts, and we don’t cut members from the team, but we are following this model, already, especially following the pandemic, because it was our strongest and most correctly motivated students who stuck with us during a year of outdoor training. We are in a very good place for adding new members to our team.
All people (men, women, old, young, athletic or not so much) can succeed as members of our team, but there is one cautionary note that prospective adult students, and also parents of prospective teen students should consider : We teach TO THE CLASS AVERAGE and work to ensure that our class average is always advancing. On one hand, this is the greatest gift we can give to our students (and their parents). However, one should also consider a structure, like a marching band for example, and consider the experience the student might have if they chronically can’t stay in lockstep. Because our mandate is to teach to the team average (and an upward moving average at that!) students who are not in lockstep will be nudged back into line. This is highly successful and our students benefit wonderfully, but prospective students should now begin to understand why regular attendance in important.
At Ligo Dojo, we care for all our students as individuals, but we also always prioritize THE TEAM, and its progress. Sensei Ligo is a teacher, not a coach. This means it’s his job to teach students, but it’s always their job learn and to perform with a strong success energy. Sensei’s Ligo’s job isn’t to “drill sergeant” teenagers into line. Consider the teen student who isn’t excited about karate, but their parents wanted them to participate. In this case, maybe our school isn’t the best place for them. Of course kids might DISCOVER excitement and motivation once starting karate, but prospective students and parents of prospective teen students should be aware that we don’t consider it our role to discipline students who aren’t trying or succeeding. Just think twice, please. And if you do, and still think it’s for you, then we’d absolutely love to have you.
Teens and adults working together at Ligo Dojo. Please note the Team element. Everyone is working together in a structure, even though they are of different experience levels. They are synchronized, crisp, motivated to support a Team energy.
Here Sensei Ligo (not shown) is teaching Kata at a dojo in Costa Rica. Ligo Dojo’s Sensei Amy is in the foreground. Regarding Team Training the important point to note here is the beginning students (lower rank, less experience) at the back of the room. They have joined “the team” so they are required to keep up. It’s total immersion style of learning for beginning students.