Karate, A Powerful Tool:

By Sensei Roberto Scolaro

Most people, at some point in their life, take refuge in some form of exercise or health remedy to alleviate a growing concern about the deterioration of their bodies. So I guess that when I started karate so many years ago, I jumped right in with that idea. I have been in karate for quite a while, and I'm thankful to say that it really works - not just on a physical level, but on a mental one as well. Every time I finish my workout I am always amused at the burst of energy my body is charged with, considering it's complete lack of absence hours before my workout. This charge usually lasts until the end of the next day. It would be nice to experience this feeling every day, but unfortunately our bodies can only take so much.

Our bodies will start to give us signals to slow down. We must really listen to these signals, because one day, when we reach a certain age, the first thing we'll notice when we get up in the morning is which part of our body is hurting today, and wondering if it will go away. This is where karate can have such a positive influence on your life. There is such an amazing energy behind this martial art. I, like most others, saw karate as simply a series of kicks and punches. However, one aspect of karate that is not focused on as much as the kata - a powerful series of movements that, when done correctly, recharge your body with a boost of electrical energy.

I never gave too much thought to the fact that this was an integral part of karate, until the day when the company I work for gave us a seminar on how to cope with stress related injuries. The speaker was one of our medical directors. It was very easy to read the expressions on my coworkers faces - that glazed look that screams, " I'm bored let me go home". To my surprise, when the speaker walked in, he did not waste any time getting to the point. The more he talked, the more interested I became. There was something oddly familiar about the topic that I could relate to. He spoke about a field of energy surrounding our bodies, and how we can control these fields with our minds and exercises that work towards our well being. He showed us a set of exercises that we were to practice everyday as part of our daily routines. To my amusement, these exercises looked very familiar to me. They were, in fact, very close to our power kata.

He explained that these sets of exercises work on the meridian energy channel that our body is surrounded by. Opening this channel with a fresh supply of oxygen and a relaxed state of mind will cause the body to feel re-energized. This concept became very meaningful to me a few weeks later when, due to a friendly ghost virus in the air, the left side of my face became paralyzed. With the assurance of my family doctor that there were no medications available to fight this virus, the only option left available to me was to sit back and wait for three to six months to get better. So there I was, feeling sorry for myself and angry with myself at the same time. I was missing my workout, I had a grading coming up, I didn't want to let myself fall behind, and I was helpless to do anything about it.

The first couple of days it was hard to concentrate on anything, but once I managed to regain my balance, I started to work on my katas until I could complete two a day. Now I am proud to say that after one week, I was able to go back to work. Unfortunately they scheduled me for the afternoon shift so I will still miss my workout. But what I really want to stress is that if you believe in yourself, miracles can and do happen. And if you have the tools, they will be even greater. In my case, I believe that karate helped me along the way to a fast recovery. I always approached the kata as a self-defence tool, but I have quickly learned, with my rapidly approaching older age, that there are always new ways to see things. Now, everytime I perform my kata, I relish the electrifying power that a simple set of movements can give my body.

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