Who are our success stories?

By Sensei Serge Sognonvi and Carmen Sognonvi
Originally published at http://www.urbandojo.com/blog

We were at a martial arts seminar this weekend with a group of other martial arts school owners and instructors. The seminar leader posed this question to the audience:

Which martial arts students are your biggest success stories?

He got many different answers.

Some mentioned students who had won trophies at karate tournaments. Some mentioned students who excelled at performing forms with intensity and style. Some mentioned students who were great all-around athletes.

The seminar leader paused, then said something that surprised us:

My biggest success stories are not always the best martial artists.

He explained that he measures his success as an instructor not by how well his students kick and punch, but by the transformation he creates in his students.

That got us thinking about our students.

If someone walked into our school for the first time, they might be most impressed by the students who kick the highest, or those who are the toughest at sparring.

But those may not be the students we consider to be our success stories.

It’s about contrasting the “before” picture with the “after” picture.

So who are our success stories?

The 4-year-old who spent his first 3 weeks running off the mat and refusing to take class, but has completely turned around and even competed in his first karate tournament.

The boy with a learning disability who at first couldn’t focus on karate for more than 15 seconds at a time, but has shown tremendous improvement not just here but at school as well.

The girl who cried during her first karate class but is now in our leadership program and training to become an instructor.

The beauty of martial arts is that it’s all about reaching your personal best — and that’s what we help our students do each and every day at Urban Martial Arts.