It stands to reason that I’ve met and trained with a number of interesting people over the past 33 years that I’ve been studying karate. I’ve seen the entire spectrum, from folks who walked in and tried it out before walking away, to those who toughed it out and developed themselves beyond the basics. And I have a handful of long-standing friendships that have developed as a result. By virtue of this, I thought it would be interesting to get each of their perspectives on what brought them to karate and some of the details of their material arts journey.
I’ve known Ricky for a little over twenty years at this point, and met him while visiting one of my Sensei’s students who had opened a dojo of her own. Over the next couple of years that followed, the student body at this dojo dwindle to the point that the lead instructor chose to close her doors, leaving thee remaining students with little options. Some went off to different styles but a few chose to join Sensei’s dojo and continue their development in Uechi Ryu. Ricky was one such individual.
Friendly and always quick with a laugh, I’ve come to appreciate Ricky for his warm-hearted and level-headed approach to life. He currently holds a brown belt and is one of the few active, remaining students of my Sensei’s dojo. I had the opportunity to ask him a few questions. Here are the answers:
1. Why did you join karate?
“I joined Karate for confidence and reassurance. I needed that protection not, only physically but mentally as well. I didnt want to go somewhere and be afraid of conflicts. I wanted to protect myself and/or people I cared about. Also, I watched a wack load of movies about martial arts and seen many demonstrations that I found “out of this world” and instantly caught my interest.
Plus, it was cool and deep inside wanted to impress people like they impressed me. Lol”
2. When did you join karate?
”I joined karate in 1997. I was 12-years old at the time.”
3. How many years have you been training?
”When I was younger, I wasn’t taking my training seriously. So it became an on and off thing but when I began to upgrade in ranks, I felt like I needed to change to become better. Focus, determination had to be in me to succeed.
So to answer the question, I’ve been training for over 20 years give or take.”
4. What have you gained/hope to gain from karate?
”I gained the power of mental discipline and a focus I never thought I could acquire. I gained not just friends but a family outside my family.
Physically, I am stronger, faster and tougher.
I truly gained a skill that I can now pass on to people that need it, like I did at the time and to my children one day.”
It’s definitely interesting to hear the different perspectives and reasons behind peoples’ choice to enter into the martial arts. Sometimes, it’s hard to believe I’ve known Ricky for half my life and although we’ll never know for sure, we likely never would have met if not for karate. Another shining example of how the martial arts can provide so much more than just the skills and knowledge of the style. I’m looking forward to providing interviews from a few other people. Stay tuned. ☯️