Karate, like most things in life, requires hardwork and dedication in order to achieve and produce greatness. It is something that may not always come naturally to everyone and in so, must be practiced in order to get better and better.
'Kaizen', is a Japanese word roughly translating to 'continuous improvement'. It is a long-term approach that systematically seeks to achieve small changes that in time improve efficiency and quality. Kaizen can be applied to many aspects of life, whether it be your schooling, sporting activities, or your own personal growth. However, it is also fundamental to karate training.
The most obvious form of Kaizen in karate is the grading system as it follows the same basic principle. Each belt level has different requirement for your basic techniques, kata and kumite that gradually get harder as your progress up through the belt levels. In order to reach your next belt, your skills and karate abilities need to 'continuously improve', demonstrating one aspect of Kaizen in karate.
However, this is not the only example of Kaizen in your karate training. As kaizen is demonstrative of self development, another powerful tool in order to improve yourself is goal setting. Goal setting is a way to focus your mind and strive in order to achieve the best result you can. We know that every students goal is to on day achieve their black belts but is important to have smaller and more specific goals within your training in order to continuously push yourself to be better. This can be achieved by focusing on one thing in your karate you want to improve on, like a paticular stance (cat stance), or maybe even just to fix up your upper block. The important thing is once you achieve your goal you keep setting new ones in order to keep improving.
This skill is important not only in your training, but can also become a great motivator in your everyday life. There is nothing in life that we cannot change or improve by looking for constant small changes and practicing them until we become better.