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Excellence as a process

Excellence means greatness... the very best. It is something that as a society we appreciate because it is so very scarce. We admire those who achieve excellence because it is almost unimaginably difficult to do.


There is, however, a real problem with the way in which we perceive and identify excellence. As a modern society, we often put too much weight on excellence as a final result. In this elitist view, someone has only achieved excellence when they are the very best...and by this same view, everyone else who isn't the best has not achieved excellence. We tend to invalidate the efforts of those who are not the absolute best, even if they exhibit great behaviours. We favour those that achieve and discourage and exclude those that do not. In my experience this is a very counter-productive and a harmful view of reality. We are all capable of exhibiting excellent behaviours and enjoying what we do, even if we are never going to be the very best at something.


As a Sensei, it does not matter to me if a student is the very best at what they do. Medals and awards are not how I measure the success of someone's progress in Karate. Instead, I aim to encourage positive behaviours in my students, such as work ethic, perseverance, patience, compassion, respect, positive self talk, and taking care of their mind, body, and spirit. In my experience, cultivating these key positive behaviours ends up being a much better predictor of long term success in life than narrowly focusing on achievements. Excellence in terms of achievements is fleeting and rarely transferable, but excellence in terms of positive behaviours and enjoyment in healthy activities is applicable for life.


This is a view that I put into practice at PoCo Karate. We foster the development of our students by focusing on excellence as a process...part of our unique individual journey in developing positive behaviours and enjoyment of healthy activities for life.






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