Years ago a student frequently missed classes. Each absence had a valid excuse like work got in the way or family emergency. He was concerned that I wouldn’t believe him, or think less of him for poor attendance. I reassured him that I respected his taking care of priorities. In light of giri and gimu, he should put more important things ahead of Karate training. If someone missed class to laze around, watch TV, or just didn’t feel like it … that’s when I’d have a problem with them. The same holds true with school children. I will never say that Karate is more important than studying, homework, and family responsibilities. That said, I now believe that Karate is more important than studying, homework, and family responsibilities. What??!? Here are two important points:
1- A student cannot get hurt if s/he makes a mistake in Social Studies. A student does not risk hurting someone in a Math class. A Karate student who does not train diligently runs the risk of injuring himself/herself or other students if their skills dull due to lack of training.
2- Parents often face various dilemmas - the child’s homework is not finished, or there’s an upcoming test, or a special project is due. Of course the solution is simple; don’t go to Karate class tonight. While I realize that school work is a priority, the parent fails to take advantage of a major Karate training benefit. We teach students how to be more efficient and effective in physical motion and mental acuity. A good Karate student learns how to prioritize and get the job done. Parents should assist their children in fitting homework, study, chores, family responsibilities, etc. around the fixed Karate class schedule. We should not be the first thing to go because of poor planning. Shaky attendance is frustrating for the student as their skills are slow to develop, holds the class back as some cannot keep up, and puts all in danger as the irregular attendees’ skills are not honed.
Most attendance problems can be solved in three words: Come. To. Class.