Word of the Month for June is: Excellence

report card and green belt

The dictionary definition of excellence:  surpassing ordinary standards; it is the quality of being outstanding and extremely good.  At Bernardo Karate we encourage our students to always strive to be better. “Pursuing excellence is a very healthy habit to develop,” says Sensei Tammy Bernardo.  “We don’t want our students to confuse excellence with perfection. Excellence is more about progress than perfection.”

There is no such thing as perfection in the martial arts.  There are always things to learn and improve upon even as a Black Belt.  Vince Lombardi, head coach of the NFL Green Bay Packers from 1959-1967 was one of the greatest leaders of his time.  “Because of his success, he became a national symbol of single-minded determination to win.” One of his most famous quotes is, “Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence.” We could not agree with this statement more.  

Setting non-realistic goals or having unreasonable expectations are both unhealthy, but having too low expectations and settling for mediocrity are also unhealthy and probably have even worse consequences.  We need to find a healthy balance.  

At Bernardo Karate we believe a person of excellence:

  1. Goes above and beyond what is expected
  2. Sets goals and re-evaluates when there are successes, failures and lessons learned
  3. Seeks knowledge and information
  4. Has excellent listening skills and is an effective communicator
  5. Always treats others with respect

Striving for excellence in the martial arts allows the individual to enjoy the journey and progress and make improvements at their own pace each time they come to class.  No matter what happens, good or bad, we teach our students to re-commit to their goals every day. If you have a set-back, there is always tomorrow to start again. The key to success is to not lose sight of your end goal (ie – achieving your Black Belt) and working your hardest to get back on track.  There are no short cuts to excellence. At Bernardo Karate we encourage our students to give a “Black Belt effort” in every class. Every Bernardo Karate Black Belt you see has put in the time, effort and hard work to achieve their current level of rank and success. They did not skip any steps.

“Every single one of our students can achieve personal excellence,” says Sensei Tammy.  “You don’t have to have super athletic skills or talents to be successful in the martial arts.  If you believe in yourself and try your best and want to improve upon your strengths and weaknesses,  those alone are the qualities that will help you become successful in all areas of your life. This is more important to us than wins and trophies and medals.”  We are committed to excellence at Bernardo Karate. We want every student to emerge with more confidence and drive and to try their very best at everything they attempt to do in life.  

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