As all of our students know, there is always free fruit at the Front Desk of the dojo. So far it’s been apples and oranges, but we may get more exotic occasionally. The fruit is completely free – staff and instructors encourage students (adults and kids and visitors) to take a piece of fruit when they leave or when they stop by. Siblings waiting in our lobby for their big sister in class are encouraged to have a piece. We even offer fruit to the UPS driver who drops off packages.
Sometimes, visitors (and even new students) are surprised: what does free fruit have to do with karate? After all, isn’t karate all about breaking things? Being really strong and fierce and able to defend yourself in all situations?
And yes, of course, karate is all of that.
But it’s also about awareness. And mindfulness. And doing the right thing. And being a leader in our community, and setting an example that inspires others.
What We Teach
As a school that teaches karatedo, we are responsible ultimately for helping our students learn and practice all of the different parts of our martial art. And good nutrition – food centered around fresh fruit, vegetables, and other goods things – is very important.
So when we opened our first dojo (now a shibu) in Mill Valley, California, in 2011, we thought about what new visitors to our dojo would first see when they walked in, and what they would think. Yes, we could have had a picture of a seiken strike downwards into stacked boards, or a shuto strike arcing over bricks.
Or we could have fresh fruit, free for the taking. We went for the fruit.
Teaching, And With Impact
We are karateka in the year 2019. In our world, our students and all the members of our dojo community are challenged to lead uplifting, health lifestyles even more than we are challenged to defend against the knife attack in the darkened parking lot.
We teach, train, practice, and actively live the karate that helps us accomplish both. However, if we had to choose, free apples are a lot more important than knowing how to move to the left, execute a tensho block, and disable an attacker.
And that’s why we have those free oranges at the Front Desk, and always will.
Note: This is a close-up of the sign at the Front Desk, next to the current fruit we offer.