Spirit, Style, Community! Our Dojo of the Month: The Rio Grande Valley Shotokan Karate Club
We asked the Rio Grande Valley Shotokan Karate Club (RGV), our Dojo of the Month in March, what spirit, style, and community mean for them. Because that are the principles The Shotokan Times stance for. The RGV puts its heads together and wrote us these fantastic and moving answers. They show deep understanding of Do. See yourself. Oss!
Spirit means for us… maximizing each individual’s potential. Although some may have natural abilities greater than others, everyone must “endeavor” to do as much as they are capable of so that they are “seeking perfection.”
Spirit can be evidenced by the passionate teaching in the dojo. The instructors impart a passion for their art to their students. As a teacher, I’ve rarely seen a class where 100% of the student population wants to be present 100% of the time. Yet, this is the reality at RGV Shotokan 5 days a week…every week that classes are offered. Students can often be heard discussing how they would like to go more often when they are not able to. There is a longing to be present! Passion for the art leads to inspired teaching and the students can’t get enough!
Style means for us… tailoring your style of karate to benefit you the most. How can you incorporate the style of your techniques to suit your own physicality? Even though we are lead by SKIF guidelines, these are to make sure we stay focused on the way, but it is important to experience variations of techniques from other systems to better understand our style as a whole.
Style-Shotokan is a strong style which features hard strikes and long, deep stances. Body conditioning is prevalent, preparing the karateka to achieve some pretty amazing goals (higher jumps, faster motions, etc.). Compared to other dojo’s in the area, RGV Shotokan comes across as super-legit! Students are required to train hard in order to advance, and Black belts cannot be earned in house. Shodan, and subsequent ranks, can only be tested for once a year in Houston. Candidates congregate to be judged by instructors from SKIF headquarters in Japan. This brings a high level of authenticity to the goal of earning advanced ranks!
Community means for us… leaving a place better than you found it. Sometimes this takes understanding and adaptation, but sometimes this takes plain hard work mixed with repetition followed by reevaluation. Whether this is our small dojo community, which includes not only dojo member but their families, or the local community people and natural wildlife.
RGV Shotokan is more than just a dojo, it’s a community of instructors, members , and parents, who go out of their way to support other members outside of the dojo. From attending each others’ plays, concerts, musicals, and other sports events to planning parties for the members of the club; RGV Shotokan is a place to truly feel welcomed and encouraged!