Your Comfort Zone Is A Horrible Place To Die…

When all is said and done, you’ll really only get as much out of life as you put into it. Want to lose weight? Eat right and exercise. It won’t happen on its own if you’re sitting on the couch scarfing potato chips and doing fuck all. Wanna learn a new skill? Buckle up and settle in to study, train and develop yourself. Wanna learn karate? It ain’t a knitting circle so you need to be prepared for the blood, sweat and tears that will ensue over the next decade or more to become proficient. Notice that I say “proficient” and not “master,” as karate is a lifelong journey that you’re never really done studying.

An important lesson I’ve learned recently is just how little I actually know. I’ve been studying Uechi Ryu for over three decades at this point, with one third of that time being on my own by virtue of living 3,400 kilometres away from my Sensei. The passage of time and lack of travel ability has brought me to my current state where I made the decision to transition to a new style. Still karate, of course. But I recently joined a Shotokan school and it’s already been quite the ride…

Besides the fact that I’ve become older, slower and thicker (not in the complimentary way), the challenge is significantly different for me, this time around. Add to that the fact that I’m an old dog, teaching me new tricks is not without challenge. My hat’s off to the team of instructors in my new dojo that has to deal with the skilled, unknown black belt gracing their dojo yet doing everything just a LITTLE bit different than how they do.

And this is where the relevance of the title comes in… The past couple of weeks have certainly taken me out of my comfort zone. I’ve started learning different stances, different ways of doing the techniques that ARE familiar, as well as being exposed to a plethora of new forms and katas. I’m definitely enjoying learning new things but it’s been a humbling experience to acknowledge that even though I’ve grown proficient in my style, I’ve also grown comfortable and complacent, which is a horrible state to be in. Complacency leads to loss of proficiency in a terrible “chicken or the egg’ scenario, when it comes to one’s training.

I’m glad that I’ve been able to hammer on and start learning again. Despite how long I’ve at this and the realization that I don’t quite have the same amount of piss and vinegar that I used to, it’s humbling to recognize that there’s still a lot to learn, still a long road to travel and still some exciting surprises for me in the world of karate. I attended my second class of the week last night and my legs are definitely feeling it, with the last class of the week scheduled for tonight. Between work and other obligations, I’m hoping I can keep the circulation going and hammer through tonight’s class efficiently.

Find something you’re passionate about. I think that’s my main message. It’s important to have goals to achieve, but it shouldn’t be torturous and you shouldn’t come out of it feeling as though it was a chore. It’s okay to acknowledge that it was hard; anything worth your time will be. But hard and torturous are two entirely different things. Karate started out as a way to save my life. That’s why I started training. But it’s become a part of me and something I love. I’m blessed to have found a new path on this journey and would encourage all of you to find the path that’s right for you. ☯️

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Shawn

I am a practitioner of the martial arts and student of the Buddhist faith. I have been a Type 1 Diabetic since I was 4 years old and have been fighting the uphill battle it includes ever since. I enjoy fitness and health and looking for new ways to improve both, as well as examining the many questions of life. Although I have no formal medical training, I have amassed a wealth of knowledge regarding health, Diabetes, martial arts as well as Buddhism and philosophy. My goal is to share this information with the world, and perhaps provide some sarcastic humour along the way. Welcome!

5 thoughts on “Your Comfort Zone Is A Horrible Place To Die…”

  1. Seeing anything as a chore is as much a mindset issue as anything. We live in a society that is getting so lazy that it’s going to eventually see breathing as “unfair” and too much work. It sounds like hyperbole, and it SHOULD be, yet even here in the US South, I’m seeing people dressed relatively nicely (so you know they’re not homeless) who think there’s more dignity in begging in front of businesses than actually going inside and asking for a job. There are so many help wanted signs around that there’s no way you can panhandle and NOT be within 10 feet of 3 or 4 of those signs.

    Heh, got off on a vaguely related tangent there. Suffice it so say that a comfort zone is a horrible place to die. On a personal note, the treatment for that recent spider bite showed me just how bad a shape I was really in. I’m taking steps to fix that.

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    1. Glad to hear you’re recovering from the bite. It sounded pretty nasty. We experience a fair bit of that here in Saskatchewan, as well. It amazes me how someone who finds themselves unemployed passes on job opportunities because they don’t pay as much as where they were, or they consider it “below” them… Last time I checked, $5 in my pocket was still more than the $10 I don’t have but what do I know?

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      1. The bite was fairly minor compared to some of the horror story pics you can Google up. That said, it still kicked my butt.

        The work thing… I see articles online all the time saying how employers aren’t willing to pay or give benefits. I’m sure it’s partially true, BUT the local fried chicken place is offering a $1500 sign on bonus… to work fast food! Ergo, it’s far from all true.

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  2. It’s cool your into martial arts. I did kickboxing for like three sessions when I was 15 and this guy punched me in the face really hard so I quit Lol. I might get beck into it though. Even though I’m 21 and haven’t done any in my life.

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    1. There’s nothing wrong with that. I was about 11 or 12 when I started but I know a lot of students, most of them actually, who start in their late teens, early twenties. Start now and train hard and you could be a black belt by the time you reach your thirties. And it’s extremely rewarding. People usually associate martial arts with fighting, and they’re not wrong. But it provides clarity, fitness, enlightenment AND you get to learn how to defend yourself.

      If you decide to step into it, my suggestion would be to try a few different styles and see what feels right. Martial arts is a very subjective journey and what works well for one person may not be a fit for the next.

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