Some weeks ago, I sent out a message to a reasonable number fo people with whom I’ve trained in karate for any number of years. People who have had an impact on my journey and who have left a lasting impression. In the previous 5 volumes of these stories, I have shared their thoughts and answers to a few short questions that shed light on what brought them to the martial arts and why they’ve continued or trained in it.
The most important aspect to take away from these stories is the fact that everyone’s answers were different. Why they joined, how long they’ve done it and what they’ve gained or hoped to gain differed significantly from one person to the next and made for some interesting insight into the thought process that goes into the making of a karateka. We had one person who was essentially forced into it, another who joined along, one who wanted to learn self-defence and one who needed it to save his life.
As good as it may be and as fun as it’s been to write about these journeys, what about the ones who didn’t respond? I’ve passed on 5 stories, one of which was mine and I don’t mind sharing that I sent out feelers to over a dozen people. So, what about those who didn’t respond? An interesting phenomenon that I’ve noticed with something like this is very much the same as a previous post I did about wearing karate “swag’ or apparel.
When a person joins karate and are genuinely motivated by it, they’ll talk about it constantly. They’ll wear “karate” shirts and warmup jackets in public. Hell, one of the first things I did in my first month of training was sew my extra school patch on a t-shirt and I wore that thing EVERYWHERE. It also drew some unwanted attention, since it basically broadcasted that I was training in self-defence, but that’s a whole other mess.
My point is that as time passes, so does one’s need to validate what their doing by broadcasting it in this fashion. The same can be said of speaking about it. When I was a young white belt, I couldn’t STOP talking about Uechi Ryu. As I got older and more seasoned in the art, I changed my perspective to simply answering questions if someone asked about it. Nowadays, I don’t generally discuss karate outside the realm of my blog or if I’m actually training somewhere. It seems as though many of my senior counterparts have chosen this path, as well.
in some respects, this is unfortunate and I believe it’s a great loss that we can’t hear their stories as well. For example, although I know some snippets, hearing Sensei’s responses to the questions I posed would have been enlightening. But despite a significant period of time passing and only four questions to answer, many have chosen to remain silent, which I totally respect and understand. This brings the chronicles to a close. Should any of them reach out eventually, or choose to respond after reading this, I’ll certainly be more than happy to add another volume. ☯️