With our Holiday events coming up, I would like to talk about the importance of community, teamwork, and relationships. I remember when I first opened Kovar’s back in 1978 I was doing most of the teaching on my own. The first year or two were manageable, but as the school grew and classes got bigger, I realized I would soon need some help. I didn’t have to wait long. Before I knew it, volunteers started popping up left and right. My high-ranking students began helping in class, parents offered to help however they could, and our school grew even faster.
Very quickly, parents began asking me to talk to their kids about focus, respect, discipline, and many other life skills. These talks eventually became a part of every class and continue to this day. I and the entire Kovar’s staff believe that it’s our duty and responsibility to guide our students toward a better life and that it takes a village to raise a child. In turn, I’m touched and heartened by all the students and families contributing to the positive culture in our academies.
I’m comforted to know that when I inevitably face a challenge, I won’t have to face it alone. I’m fortunate to have built so many good relationships in both my personal and professional life, though this hasn’t always been easy. When I was younger, I believed I could do most things on my own. I quickly came to realize that people enjoy supporting a worthy cause, and that I could do much more when I worked with others. Asking for help is never a weakness. One of my favorite philosophers, Marcus Aurelius, once wrote “Because a thing seems difficult for you, do not think it impossible for anyone to accomplish.” When I struggle with something, I just look around me for someone who knows a little more about that topic and I ask for help.
When I visit the various Kovar’s locations, I’m always impressed by the palpable sense of community I feel. I see student volunteers smiling and learning on the mat, parents talking to each other in the stands, and instructors engaging with families and friends. It never feels forced. I’m so happy to see the schools grow far beyond what I began over 40 years ago. Everyone needs a place where they feel they belong, and I believe creating that place is an essential part of what we do as Martial arts professionals. Thank you all for being a part of the community.
As the holiday season approaches, I’m excited to visit the dojos and see what’s happening in our communities. Holiday parties, buddy days, and camps are so fun, and I encourage you to ask your school staff how you can get involved.
Thanks again for all you do to make our dojos special places.
Yours in health,
Hanshi Dave Kovar