Qualities of a Champion
Curiosity and Focus
Novembers trait of a champion is curiosity. Curiosity is having the strong desire to learn or know something. Individuals who are curious, often do not need the information they inquire about, but rather they seek information in search of gaining knowledge. Those who are curious may also actively seek out challenges and new experiences to broaden their individual horizons. Curiosity is a key ingredient of critical thinking and logical behaviors because it leads to knowledge as well as affording opportunities to make connections among various pieces of information in a consistent manner. For parents of curious children, it's less important to have the "right" answers and more important to create an environment where questioning -- and learning -- can occur. You can help children develop curiosity by encouraging questions, finding media that stimulates curiosity, and helping kids find credible sources to build their knowledge.
Being curious can manifest itself in the activity of asking questions, but it can also be a position from which one approaches their life. Todd Kashdan, an Associate Professor of Psychology at George Mason University and author of Curious? Discover the Missing Ingredient to a Fulfilling Life, has made his career on being curious and affectionately calls curiosity “an engine of growth.” He believes that in order to find purpose and meaning in life, one must be curious, engage in experimentation, and utilize all that can be gained from life’s many trials and errors. He believes that it is from our openness – and not our closedness – that we are able to develop depth and richness in our existence.
This month's stripe is for Focus. Focus is the thinking skill that allows people to begin a task without procrastination and then maintain their attention and effort until the task is complete. Focus helps people pay attention in the midst of distractions and setbacks and to sustain the effort and energy needed to reach a goal. John Ratey, M.D, the author of “Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain” tells ADDitude magazine that regular exercise, like Karate, can turn on a child’s attention system – consisting of the cerebellum, frontal cortex and limbic system – which can affect the parts of the brain responsible for sequencing, prioritizing, working memory and sustaining attention. According to Ratey, exercise does this by increasing the brain’s dopamine, serotonin and norepinephrine. These brain chemicals can positively affect the attention system’s ability to stay regular and consistent, which can increase alertness in children.
Curiosity and Focus are two traits of a champion that when paired together can be a major driving force for Karate students. The Karate student is naturally curious in their desire to learn karate for any extended period of time. These traits help the Karate student to increase their karate by being curious as to why certain moves apply and do not apply. While at the same time being a focused student helps the students ability in each aspect of karate to become more finely tuned and performing at a higher capacity than which they originally thought.