By Sensei Neil Prime.
You may ask yourself "how does someone stay in karate for over 20 years?"
I have thought about this from time to time myself and it was a recent topic of discussion not too long ago at one our after workout meetings. Since this discussion, I had decided to really dig deep and question my personal motives.
There is a physical aspect to a regimented training program. It is something that I never used to think about a whole lot but the older I get (and I'm not that old) the more I do. Sure it takes longer for some of the injuries gained from sparring to heal, but you also learn how to avoid those injuries and how to properly nurse them so that you can work around them. There is even what you call a "good pain," if that's possible. A good pain is when you've worked hard and feel the after effects in a numbing sort of way. What really makes me think about the physical gains from karate though, is 2 things. The older you get it seems you know more old people. The ones who stay active all their life seem to have a better quality of life in their senior years. At the other end of the spectrum, it feels good to be able to dance circles around someone who is barely 20. You might think that 20 years is very young and you should be in great shape in these early years, yet it is plenty old enough to let the human body get into bad shape through neglect and lack of exercise.
Along with the physical benefits I feel there are emotional benefits to karate also. Karate to me is a stress relief system that works in a couple different manners. First of all I find that by working out you can concentrate fully on yourself rather than your every day built up tension. Sure, there may be some days that you really don't feel like doing 10 more pushups but this is part of the challenge. If you focus your thoughts into what you are doing at the present you can soon forget about the past or the future. While stretching I find that I could almost fall asleep sometimes. I don't mean this in a negative way. I mean that I am so relaxed that nothing bothers me.
Setting personal goals and achieving them provides a real sense of satisfaction. Karate is full of goals from white belt on. The beauty of karate is that you will find the more you know the more there is to know and you will always be in pursuit of this knowledge. This is true whether you are learning a new kata or perfecting one you already think you know. You will always be challenged in sparring, especially with the karateka you work out with the most. These are the people who know you the best and keep you thinking about innovative ways of scoring your point. If you don't have some "tricks up your sleeve" then you will become too predictable. This is a constant effort to keep on top of.
These examples are truly valid however, there are 2 reasons above all that keep me coming out.
I really enjoy seeing other people accomplish goals, progress in karate, and show their own personal satisfactions from what I have taught them. Every time I see someone win a medal at a tournament or receive a new belt, or just discover something new about their techniques, I get a rush! I feel that I have been a part of that accomplishment.
I remember like it was yesterday when 3 particular brown belts were graded to Shodan, Sensei Roberto Scolaro, Sensei Barry Irwin, and Sensei Peter Leitch. Yes they felt great about their accomplishments and they should have, but I bet my pride was every bit as overwhelming as their own. This to me was worth every minute of work I have put in myself.
The other reason I continue to stay in karate is because of all of the incredible people I have met through karate. My life would not be complete without each and every one of them. Karate is a big part of my social life. I converse and exchange opinions with karateka. I spend time travelling to seminars and tournaments with karateka and share the experiences and knowledge gained with them. I spend leisure time away from karate in the company of karateka. Sometimes we even talk about other things than just karate too!
Karate is not the only thing in my life as a good balance is required, but it certainly is an important part of my life.Back for More Great Reading