The Character Development Program encourages students to further develop values introduced in the dojo and apply them in their daily lives. Through a progression consisting of participating, becoming a model for others and finally engaging and leading others, important values such as respect (for yourself, others and the environment), compassion, integrity, sincerity and a good work ethic are applied to the 4 areas of a students daily life - Home, School, Community and Dojo. Students are awarded a different crest for each level attained. Participation in the Character Development Program is voluntary up until a student makes application for a rank of brown belt or higher. At senior levels, involvement in positive activities outside of the dojo is a requirement.
The BigRock Aikikai CDP is all about giving. This is where you put your time and effort into positive activities at home, school, community and dojo. Think about what you can do for others. Find ways to lend a hand with what needs to get done. Look for ways to show you appreciate all that others do for you. Contribute to and participate in the positive activities happening all around you. In the beginning the most important thing is to participate. Get involved in positive activities. Below are some examples to get you going.
- Dojo - arrive early enough to help clean and prepare the dojo for practice, help a junior student learn to tie their belt, practice good manners with your fellow students, let your good focus be an example to your fellow students
- Home - help prepare meals, help clean-up after meals, keep your room clean, take out the garbage, help with younger siblings, take care of recycling, take care of pets
- School - do homework on time, study regularly, keep school work organized, participate in classroom discussions/activities, participate in extra-curricular activities, volunteer to help teachers, read lots of books
- Community - shovel snow off an elderly neighbor's sidewalk, clean-up litter in a local green space, volunteer at a local library, volunteer at a seniors home, donate your allowance to a charity
Having difficulties getting started? Print one of the following “kick start” documents and complete as much of the information as possible. Hand it in to Sensei and he will provide more direction from this point on.
This second level is about continuing the positive work you've been doing. Here, you want to be a role model and that means your actions are full of good habits. Continue to participate in your positive activities. Feel free to replace some of your original activities with new ones; it's always good to explore new ideas.
This last level builds upon the foundation of the all the hard work you've put into the first two levels. With lots of experience in positive participation behind you and now being a solid role model you can begin to engage and lead others toward their own positive participation. Start small, remember what sorts of activities helped you get started and use those ideas to get others started. Remember, this level focuses on leadership and that means positive participation plus followers.