Gene Dunn once said, “Your technique means nothing if you’re not using your talents for the betterment of humanity.”
I began studying the martial arts what feels like a very long time ago. Thirty-one years ago this year, to be precise. Although I started this journey with the intention of improving my health and saving my own life against the complications associated with Diabetes, it would end up becoming who I am as opposed to something I was doing.
Martial arts have provided me with more than I could possibly express in written word. I have carried and used my skills with dignity and with respect for others. Through my study of the Way, I came into Buddhism, which became the central focal point of my faith. I believe that as a people, we have an obligation to give as much as we get. And on the occasions where the only possible response to prevent harm to others or myself was violence, I have been swift but just.
My chosen career has carried me far from home and away from my dojo over the past ten years. Although I have never stopped practicing, it’s been a lonely road considering the rural areas I’ve lived in generally never have martial arts schools.
When I moved to Regina, I was elated to hear that there were several schools that I could explore and I was excited at the prospect of training among other students of the way once again. I visited MANY martial arts schools over the course of a few weeks and observed several classes. None of them seemed to be a fit. Although I wouldn’t presume to classify any one style better than another, I believe a style should call to the person and fit their requirements.
That’s when I walked into the Regina Institute of Kempo Karate. After observing only one class, I came to realize that it would be a good fit. Not only because there were some techniques and aspects similar to my own, but because of the ambiance and the manner in which students were taught.
Without hesitation, I was accepted as a student despite being an outside black belt (something that many instructors would not allow). When I decided I would be testing for my next degree of black belt, I was allowed to step outside of protocol and practice my forms during class even if they were not of the same style.
For the many who believe that learning the martial arts is simply about learning how to fight, it’s important to look at the quality and value that comes out of a dojo’s students. The growth, maturity and knowledge that is imparted on a student is truly the trademark of a quality dojo. If you consider training, be sure to do your research and find something that is a good fit for you. In the long run, you’ll get much more out of it. ☯