by Rino Stabile
To me, karate means self-defence, respect, fitness, patience style, balance and fun.
Ever since I was a little boy, I remember that I was watching a lot of TV and almost gluing myself to the set especially if the show or topics had something to do with karate. I loved watching tough guys beating up the bad guys; I thought it was funny. As I a little older I realized karate wasn't a funny thing , but something that I found interesting, and I wanted to learn it mainly because of all the bad things happening in today's world, a lot of it involving small boys like me!
Karate isn't just about learning fancy moves, gaining confidence and why not, even getting a little tougher. It is also showing more respect towards others, like bowing in and out of the dojo, to your senseis, to your sparring partners, to your opponents in tournaments, and even showing more respect at home towards your parents, teachers and school friends.
Even though the fitness part can be a little hard sometimes, by that I mean knuckle push-ups which are very important for strengthening your whole body but mostly your wrists and stretching to your limits, I still like it because I know that it makes me stronger and more flexible. Of course there are a lot more exercises that are a lot of fun.
Patience means you have to take your time when learning new moves or skills. You have to be patient with your partners who can sometimes be a little slower or a little too aggressive, and even when they don't mean it, they can hurt you if you don't use the proper blocks.
Everyone has their own style when sparring. Mostly in tournaments I have learned that what just won a match for me didn't work in my next match. Lately I'm trying to use different styles with different people. Sometimes I even use someone's own style in trying to score points, but it doesn't always work.
Balance is probably the most important thing in karate. I simply see it this way, if you don't have balance, you simply can't kick, and kicks are very important when doing katas and when sparring.
I left this word out for the end because I thought it probably was the easiest word to describe. To understand why karate is fun, you simply have to understand all of the above.
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