Character Chats

What is Teamwork?

What is teamwork?

Here at True Balance Karate in Downers Grove, Illinois, we have a social-emotional learning program called True Character, and this month, we’re talking about teamwork.

I’m Master H, chief instructor and owner here at the studio. I was a special education teacher and I hold two master’s degrees in education, basically taking everything I learned in the classroom and applying it to how we instruct our youngest students of 3 and our oldest students of 83 on the mat, making sure that we’re best meeting all of their needs.

What is Teamwork?

And this month, we’re talking about teamwork.

Teamwork can be easily defined to a younger child, we get the job done together. To someone older, teamwork could mean that together, everyone achieves more.

Basically, the idea is the same though. We have to do the work together.

Now I am also a parent of a 14 and a 17-year-old and there are days that getting them to help out around the house is difficult. As any parent will tell you, it might mean loss of electronics or privileges or special things that go along with it until they recognize the fact that we are a team.

No one likes to be the person that’s always emptying the dishwasher by themselves, no one likes to be the person that only ever takes care of the dogs or something like that by themselves. When we work together, we get things done faster. We achieve more, we think of things in a different way. We bounce ideas off of each other.

And that’s what we’re going to be describing to our students this month, what teamwork can look like.

What does teamwork look like?

And younger kids can tell you and even us adults understand that we all play a role in teams in different areas of our life.

So if you’re an elementary age kid, you’ve got your team at home, you have your team at school, your classmates. You’ve got maybe a soccer team or a baseball team, those kinds of things.

If you’re talking about an adult, we have our family, obviously, the family within our four walls as well as our parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, we understand the extended family and how much of a team that all plays.

We also have our work teams. Maybe we’re in offices and we have different groups or different teams that work together to solve problems that way and then there’s also the other side of things.

Maybe we’re coaching our kids’ team for soccer or baseball and it’s that kind of teamwork that plays a role in it.

Maybe as grownups we really like to play rugby or softball ourselves and we’ve joined an adult league, and that also is our team.

So we can see teamwork basically part of our lives everywhere we go, and to help the younger students understand what that means, it’s reinforcing it positively.

Teamwork at home

So in my house, one of the things that gives them the ability to stay home alone is that they recognize that they’re part of the team and they have certain rules and responsibilities and jobs that need to be done in order to maintain the privilege of staying home alone now that they are in their older teen years.

When they were little, it became a game. Let’s all put the toys together as a team. Let’s play music. Let’s set a timer for five minutes. How can we work together to get that job completed together? How can we be positive about it?

When we’re here at the studio, we have an entire week that is dedicated to being part of a black belt team, partner drills where they do jumping jacks and high-five each other. Partner drills that also include a karate hockey drill.

We talk about the importance of high-fiving and congratulating your fellow teammate. We talk about the importance of telling them what a great job they’ve done or giving them some positive encouragement on how to do something better.

And so being part of the team is not a matter of you lost the game for me or why didn’t you score the run, here at the studio we really define it as praising, giving a small correction, and then praising again because it’s the effort that they’re putting forth that helps raise the team for everyone.

Building each other up

I’m reminded of when I black belt tested and yes, you’re doing it by yourself, however the energy in the room is brought about because of the team, because we’re all working to bring out that positive energy, and I would get high-fives or thumbs up from my fellow testing candidates next to me to help raise ourselves up.

So as we go forward, we’re going to constantly reinforce this idea that together, we all achieve more and when we’re working on a project, when we’re working on a skill, when we’re working on a chore at home, the best way to go about getting it done is to work on it together.

And the more we reinforce the fact that we become our best selves when we’re part of a team and we get to have those conversations.

Thanks and we’ll see you on the mat.

True Balance Karate was founded in 2012 by Master Sue and Paul Helsdon.

We offer kids karate lessons for pre-school children ages 3-6 and elementary age kids ages 7 and up. These lessons are designed to develop the critical building blocks kids need — specialized for their age group — for school excellence and later success in life.

Our adult martial arts training is a complete adult fitness and conditioning program for adults who want to lose weight, get (and stay) in shape, or learn self-defense in a supportive environment.

Instructors can answer questions or be contacted 24 hours of the day, 7 days a week at 630-663-2000. You can also contact us here.