November 24, 2010


— By KJN Dean Wilkerson

I was offered this neat little question the other day by one of my students, “What is the one thing that allowed you to become successful in martial arts?”  After taking a moment to think about and contemplate on this very interesting question, I replied, “I was a good student”.  They looked at me a little perplexed, so I elaborated and offered this advice and by the way, this applies to life too, not just martial arts.

To be a good student is more than just showing up, even though this is vital and very important.  Yes, you need to be there, but you really need to BE THERE.  By this I mean fully focused, engaged in making a deliberate, intentional effort to be aware of what someone is telling you, listening to the details, watching their actions and body language and trying to understand from their point of view, not just what you assume they are telling or showing you.  If you can do this not so simple action, you are 10 times ahead of the rest of the world in achieving success in martial arts and in anything that you do.

Good students, also, study and practice with relentless intensity.  They take notes, draw diagrams and illustrations to help them remember certain details about a subject.  Then they constantly review these materials until they become embedded in their subconscious mind and create a higher level of understanding.  

In addition to this mental training, a student will practice a technique over and over again, hundreds if not thousands of times until they get the details down and it becomes muscle memory.  By doing both of these steps, the knowledge and information will not be lost but etched into the students mind and body to be used or tapped into at a later date.

Great students have a burning desire to learn.  They have a passion and an attitude about them which is fired by a deep down yearning to aspire for greatness.  A good student doesn’t want just mediocre results or will only put out only limited effort, they will go the extra mile, because it makes them feel good about themselves and it feeds the urge or craving to do a good job.  

Good students want success, but understand that there will be failures along the way.  They will not give up or quit just because something just doesn’t go right or as expected. Successful students realize that failures are just stumbling blocks that test and try you. By failing at something, you have to push to find alternative answers and ways of approaching and solving a problem.

Lastly, good students are modest and open minded.  They realize one very important thing, that there is always more to learn and it can come from many different sources or people, sometimes from those that they least expect.  When you think you know it all, you lose the ability to learn and grow.

I finished the talk with my student by thanking them for the interest and their great question and told them, “now go out and be a good student.”

To Your Success!


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