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A Page Out of Tiahni’s Book – Digging Deeper


I am very grateful that I get to work with a lot of incredible people every day, and in this weeks post I wanted to share a recent experience that I had with one of our students.  Although I could write a book of greatness about this young person, I wanted to focus on one moment in time that we experienced at a recent private lesson together.

In sharing this experience with others it is my hope that we can all be inspired by this young person.  I’m not just thinking in terms of celebrating this person but more in terms of what our lives may be like if we too approached our training/life in a similar way.

Let’s start with a little background information.
Name:  Tiahni Eley
Age:  7 (turning 8 in February 2015)
Started Training at Sunshine Coast Karate:  May 2011
Program Type:  Little Champions
Current Level:  Brown Stripe with four tips (next level is black stripe which is the highest level which can be attained in our Little Champions Program.
Family:  Mum (Tracey), Dad (Nathan) and sister (Alahna) have also welcomed Karate into their lives.  Nathan has recently graded to 5th Kyu and Tracey to 9th Kyu.  Alahna has earned her orange stripe belt in our Little Champions Program.

Tiahni Captured in Action:

‘Photo taken 15th December 2013 at our annual Christmas Party’

 A special moment with Tiahni
In the midst of my Saturday morning private lessons, I was scheduled to work with Tiahni.  Tiahni entered the dojo with her training journal and greeted me with one of her gigantic smiles which instantly filled me with great joy.  It amazes me how kids can share such authentic smiles which take you to the most magical places.

We sat down next to my bundle of highlighters and paper that I had ready for Tiahni.  Tiahni loves to write and draw so whenever I see Tiahni booked in I make sure we are ready with plenty of colourful pens and paper.

To share what it is like to work with Tiahni in a private lesson could only be likened to being on a treasure island and we work together to dig up the sand to reveal the many treasures below the surface.  The learning process is an adventure in itself.  With every treasure revealed we are not only developing our karate technique but we are also deliberately developing ourselves.  We literally bounce off each other for the entire 30 minutes in our own little world trying to make sense of our technique and the world that we live in.

At times we find ourselves digging without finding anything other than more sand.  In terms of karate it would feel as though we aren’t making a great deal of progress or change in our abilities to demonstrate more refined technique.  But this doesn’t seem to bother us, we just keep on digging with a balance of ‘Fun’ and ‘Focus’ until we are presented with a break through.  There is an understanding that remains in the back of our minds that with consistent effort that we will eventually be presented with our desired result.

And then there are times when we hit something in the sand, which calls for more exploration to reveal the treasure.  This is when Tiahni’s strengths of exploration and pursuing greater understanding take over.  She understands that although she may have the basic idea of her karate basics, there is always room for improvement no matter how advanced she becomes with her studies.

In the short time I have known Tiahni I have never heard her say, ‘I know that already, can we do something else’  or ‘I’m bored.’ Tiahni has been very open to digging deeper and challenging herself to get more out of her training and to her credit has had quite a positive impact on many of us in the dojo and I’m almost certain this extends into her schooling and home environments.

A Page out of Tiahni’s Book
Although so young in age, Tiahni holds quite a few keys of success that we all could apply in our lives.
1.  Consistent attendance – if we are going to get anywhere we need to consistently invest time into whatever area of our lives that we would like to see change.  No excuses.
2.  Learning is an adventure – balance of fun and focus and interacting with others in a positive and supportive way.  Although we may find ourselves not progressing, there is no reason why we can’t at least help others.  It’s surprising how the act of serving others seems to move us closer to our personal goals. For some the act of serving others takes the pressure/focus off themselves and as a result moves them into a more relaxed state.  It is in this relaxed state that we can often identify the next puzzle piece that we were trying so hard to find previously.
3.  Pro-active Learner – Choose to train physically yet also choose to expand your mind with regular journal writing and study.  Dig deep and when you think you can’t go any deeper, keep digging.  There is always more that we can learn.
4.  Contribution – This is an area that Tiahni displays with every class.  Her willingness to step up and help others without being prompted.   When Tihani contributes to the lives of others you can see and feel the shift in her energy as she elevates herself in that moment to a life of significance and satisfaction.  There is a deposit in her confidence bank as she shares her natural gifts with others.
5.  Leading by example – As Tiahni continues to grade to become one of our more senior Little Champions we continue to plant the seeds of the effect that she has on others.  Tiahni continues to strive to be the best example she can be in all aspects of her presence at the dojo, and continually amazes us with the great  role model that she has become already in such a short time.

Quote for Today:  “So often you find that the students you are trying to INSPIRE are the ones that end up inspiring you.”  ~ Unknown

‘Tiahni and dad (Nathan) starting out their martial arts journey.’

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