Kaizen is a martial arts term which was moved into the rebuilding of Japan following World War II. The word Kaizen means "continuous improvement". It comes from the Japanese words "kai" which means "change" or "to correct" and ("Zen") which means "good". One thing at a time, keep it simple, do it right or don’t do it, practice and improve and keep getting better at it.
Kaizen is part of a way of life philosophy. If something is in your life, it’s important, and you should want and need it in your life or if not you should get rid of it. The same is true with material stuff, if you’re not using it, then it’s clutter, so get rid of it. So, everything you put in your life; people, habits, food, job, family, friends, activities, social, TV, tech, etc. everything, and everything should be looked at as important and treated with respect and improved or get rid of it, if it has a negative effect on you. Since Kaizen is a philosophy and not a rigid system, it’s flexible and adaptable to the person or company. Just 1% better every day, what extremely small step can I take to improve my life, process, product, life?
Kaizen is based on making changes anywhere and everywhere that improvements can be made. Western philosophy may be summarized as, “Good enough”, "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" “We have always done it that way, why change it now” The Kaizen philosophy is to "do it better, make it better, integrate with other improved systems, improve it even if it isn't broken, because if we don't, we can't compete with those who do. If life is out of balance, balance it. It is not however the “Massive Change” or “Go Big or Go Home” type change, Kaizen is less about obsessive hustle and working more, and more about thoughtful adjustments, accepting failure, and applying learning to work better and smarter.
Kaizen in Japan is a system of improvement that includes home, Dojo, school, business life, and manufacturing. It is a concept that is applied in every aspect of a person's life.
Kaizen is the Japanese word for constant and never ending improvement "Good Change". In the dojo, martial arts is a lifestyle, no time off, you are a martial artist all the time 24/7. If you witness senior students and instructors they are always working on improving their mind, body and spirit, they enjoy those thoughts and the practice. Many people set goals, but it’s your daily habits, being mindful of what’s important, your systems, that accomplish the goals.
Only a small percentage of people read but will spend countless wasted hours on the internet or watching TV, however successful people constantly read and listen to positive and inspirational books and tapes, they seek out mentors and experts for guidance, they analysis their results. They know that by reading 60 minutes every day, within a few years they can be in the top 10% of their chosen field, this method becomes their daily normal, it’s not forced, they enjoy it. In the dojo, top black belts are 100% present in every class, the practice those skills on their own, building their mind, body, spirit, skills and attitude.
Kaizen involves setting high standards, but starting at the most basic level, then continually improving those standards at the most basic level. By setting high standards at basic level, your foundation, in all areas, it has a compounding effect that is nothing short of incredible. To support the higher standards Kaizen also involves providing the training, materials and supervision that is needed to achieve the higher standards and maintain their ability to meet those standards on an on-going basis. Kaizen is a system that involves everyone here at the Dojo - from Hanshi Alexander, Kyoshi Riedmiller to the brand new 7-year-old white belt.
The five foundation elements of Kaizen are; Teamwork, Personal discipline, Improved morale, Quality circles, Suggestions for improvement. Everything is based on Kata (system), and should stay within Kata, your Kata or system is a way of life. A bad system will destroy you where as a good can make things amazing. In a solid Kaizen system; Everything should be organized, professional and tidy, clean, standardized, sustained, and discipline.
This concept is now being used by pro athletes, has been used to rebuild small & massive company’s, and has recreated nations from the edge of ruin to world powerhouses. But it started in Martial Arts thousands of years ago and was the backbone of the old traditional Dojo’s, transforming countless people. Change starts from within yourself first.
Kyoshi Riedmiller has been researching the kaizen concept for years and has consulted with some of the top authorities in this field. In the business world there are Kaizen based awards "The Deming Prize" and "The Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award" the highest awards on TQM in the world and the U.S. that recognizes individuals and management.
In the Dojo, you will see Kaizen manifest itself in many ways; Advance training classes, the way classes are taught, World class seminars, recommended reading, Lessons in Mindfulness, Leadership development classes, and commitment to the highest quality and standards in the world.
Summit Martial Arts Standards of Excellence
The Chinese say that a journey of 1000 miles begins with one step. Kaizen
is all about making that step towards improvement, everyday.
Kyoshi Charles Riedmiller 7th Dan Head Instructor/Owner Summit Martial Arts Delaware, Ohio and has over 43 years experience in the Martial Arts, he started training in Goju Ryu karate and Judo at age 13. He been training in Goju Ryu & Shorin Ryu Karate, Kobudo, Judo, Jujitsu, Aikido for over 4 decades and BJJ for over 20yrs with Professor Pedro Sauer. He has been dedicated to teaching authentic, high quality Martial Arts his entire life. Sensei Riedmiller has taught thousands of Military, Law Enforcement, pro-fighters/champions and martial art students of all ages.