If it Isn’t Hard, Is It Even Worth Doing?

I read an interesting quote by Ashton Kutcher, of all people, that says, “If it doesn’t seem insurmountable, how is it going to be a life purpose?” An interesting quote and deep meaning behind it, confirming my opinion that knowledge and wisdom can come from any source. Of course, as some of my readers would and have pointed out, a quote is only as good as the confirmation of its source. Realistically, unless one is in a position to actually speak to the source to confirm the quote’s accuracy, it’s up in the air. However, that makes the words no less true. But I digress…

The point and purpose is to speak about those “insurmountable” goals and life purposes and how you can get past the BELIEF that they’re insurmountable. When I look back at my life, I recognize that some of the goals and purposes I planned for myself seemed impossible at the time. Considering I’ve achieved almost everything I set out to do in life, it almost seems laughable that I was as concerned as I was that I would REACH those goals. But Everest always looks insurmountable until you’re touching the flags at the top, right?

When I was younger and I stepped into a dojo for the first time, my health was waning, I had no support from the outside on my choice to start training and I believed my life would end before I reached my late teens. That first class was among one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, considering my blood sugars dropped, I had no physical constitution and the workout was gruelling for those who had been there for a while so you can probably imagine how difficult it was for me. But like taking that first step up the mountain, completing that first class paved the way for me to push froward and reach my goals. The same can be said of most things in life.

It’s important that goals and purposes be difficult. Nothing worth having comes without some kind of fight. If you can simply coast through to the finish line, it technically isn’t a race, right? But while contemplating that thought, it’s important to bear in mind that difficulty is a subjective thing. Maybe walking ten minutes to the corner store is a fuckin’ joke to me and I don’t consider it exercise, despite walking for twenty minutes, round trip. But someone else may have difficulties in mobility, health issues and other problems that make walking for twenty minutes a significant challenge. This means that it’s important never to judge someone else on their chosen goals, even if they may seem like less to you.

Another important quote that I like, in case y’all haven’t noticed that I love quotes, is attributed to Muhammed Ali who said, “Often it isn’t the mountains ahead that wear you out, it’s the little pebble in your shoe.” Getting started and building one’s momentum is what will usually get you there and accomplishing your goals. Just remember that when it gets hard, and it will, that’s normal. If it isn’t hard, it isn’t worth doing. The easy path isn’t challenging. Food for thought… ☯️

Can’t Walk A Mile In Someone’s Shoes When It’s Painful…

Well over a month ago, I suffered a pretty painful injury during a karate seminar as a result of trying to spar like I was still in my twenties. I was doing pretty good, for a few minutes. In my head, I was moving with the same speed and grace as I did when I was first graded as a black belt. In reality, I was moving with the level of grace that a thick sap slowly moves its way down the trunk of a tree. And I paid the price in pain…

My opponent caught me with a straight punch to the upper ribs, with his dominant hand, no less. There are three important lessons to be learned from that experience; one for me, one for him and one for both of us. The lesson for me is that I shouldn’t have walked into an oncoming punch. Although I was throwing an attack of my own at the time, focus should be on preserving and protecting oneself first. You can’t protect yourself or others if you get taken out.

The lesson for my opponent is that at his level of skill, he should have been able to control his strike and even halt it short of impacting. One of the differences that I’ve noticed with Shotokan as opposed to Uechi Ryu, is that the practitioners are all in, on every strike, even in practice. Although this can be useful in developing strength to your strikes, it can be detrimental to one’s overall control. But I digress…

The lesson for the two of us, is that even a strike that isn’t at full power can still be devastating when properly applied. After all, if a strike from 1 to 10, where 1 is a light touch and 10 is the intention to kill, I seriously doubt that my opponent, who just happens to be a practitioner in the same dojo as I am, had ANY intentions of killing me. But the results of that strike have been enough to keep me on my ass for the past month, proving that an effective strike doesn’t have to be “all in” to be effective.

The past month has been increasingly difficult, especially in the first couple of weeks. I’ve had a hard time moving and every little thing, including but not limited to sneezing, coughing, burping and farting has sent me into spasms of pain where I’d be seeing stars for several minutes before it would finally subside. Don’t even get me started on the challenges of showering or using the washroom. A month has passed but the pain has not, although it is getting better. Damaged muscles can take weeks and even months to heal. But I’ve learned to appreciate some important aspects along the way…

My father has been wheelchair-bound for almost 20 years, now. Cursed with a degenerative spine, he’s been living with constant, 10 out of 10 pain for years. Nothing has ever worked for him or is expected to. It’s pain he simply has to live with. And although my pain is nowhere near at the level his is, I can appreciate certain aspects that constant pain causes. Here are a few things that you should never say to someone who is in pain:

1. “The pain can’t be that bad.” I’ve spent years hearing people talk to my mother and make that very comment about my father. For one thing, what’s only a 5 out of 10 pain to one person may be much, much worse for someone else. No one has the right to gauge your pain for you.
2. “Why are you so tired?” Constant pain is exhausting. People don’t tend to think so because when a person is in pain, their last thought is of getting sleep. The problem comes from managing that pain over a long period of time. It takes its toll on the body and can be devastatingly exhausting. Most chronic conditions will be like this. I have a dear friend who has fibromyalgia (hopefully I spelled that right) and although she wears a brave face, the constant pain makes getting through the day with a smile quite challenging.
3. “You’d feel better if you got up and did something.” No, no, I would not. I’ll be the first to admit that one shouldn’t just flop down and refuse to move until ALL pain has subsided. Besides the fact that sitting idle can be a problem for someone with type-1 Diabetes due to poor circulatory and nerve-related issues, there’s the danger of stiffening up from doing nothing, which can extend the amount of time required to heal. Don’t even get me started on loss of muscle mass and atrophy. But sometimes you gotta baby that injury and allow your tissues to heal. This can mean putting your feet up and letting the finely-tuned machine that is your body do its job and fix the injury before you push yourself.

Everyone’s pain is different. I can honestly say that although I’m not on the same pain level as my father, I can certainly sympathize with some of the issues he faces with his back being out of commission. Makes me appreciate all the more, how some people, even medical professionals, try to push him in ways his body is incapable of responding. Don’t ever judge someone else’s pain. You can never tell how an individual may be feeling or dealing with a particular pain. And no one has a right to gauge your pain but you. Food for thought…☯️

Get A KICK Out Of This Story…

Sometimes I look back on my younger years and I become nostalgic for the past. During my youth, I never travelled much or wandered far from the comforting confines of Northern New Brunswick but it continues to surprise me how full a life one can have, even living in such a small environment. And no environment could have given me as much as my home. Here’s one of the memories drifting to the surface of my psych. Buckle up…

This story takes me all the way back to 1989. I was 11-years old and my older brother had another two years of life ahead of him. My health was waning and life wasn’t going so well for me. Increased insulin-resistance and the development of ulcers in my stomach saw me hospitalized almost as much as my brother. in fact, we often shared a hospital room together. I’ll let you decide whether that’s cool or just a little bit sad. But I digress…

I was in 7th grade and we had oral presentation to give in class on a topic of our choosing. As was usually my choice, I spoke about Type-1 Diabetes, its causes and how it’s treated. Because of the number of students, we had two separate 7th grade classes; 7A and 7B. I was in 7A. Didn’t mean I was smarter or further ahead. I think it went by alphabetical order. Anyway, on the third day of presentations when we were all done, the teacher announced that someone from 7B would be sharing his presentation with us.

In walked my friend Guillaume. My Sensei’s son. Friend and adoptive brother. He was asked by the teacher to share the same presentation as he had to his class in exchange for bonus points. Considering she found the presentation worthy enough to share with another class, I had difficulty grasping WHY he would need bonus points, but whatever kept me from doing actual work was fine by me, back then.

Guillaume went on to give a presentation about Uechi Ryu karate, how long he had been practicing it and the benefits it provided him in life, thus far. He capped off his presentation with a demonstration of a form, or kata, which I now know as well. While the rest of the class was busy snickering at the movement and making fun of him, I was captivated by what I was seeing. The flow, the movement, the gracefulness… My eyes were open to the potential of what I was seeing.

It was at this point that I had called Guillaume at home and asked about class times and location. I joined the same month. I had tried other styles and attempted different things, but none struck quite as deep in my soul as Uechi Ryu did. I would go on to study Uechi for the next 33 years. It would ultimately save my life and help forge me into the person I am today. All of that from a simple ten-minute presentation in class. Nice.

Our instincts provide for more than we usually assume. And as the old saying goes, we often find our destiny on the road we least thought to travel. All things happen for a reason. If the teacher hadn’t asked Guillaume to share his presentation with out class, I might have never been exposed to Uechi Ryu. I likely never would have joined. And my health may have continued to deteriorate to an uncorrectable level. Who knows? I certainly don’t. I just know to appreciate life as it’s been offered and continue to live life with no regrets. ☯️

Some Further Ribbing…

Last Friday morning, I had a doctor’s appointment to try and figure out if the constant, piercing pain in my side is actually the result of a broken rib or simply something muscular. After all, getting punched straight into the ribcage would no doubt crush/bruise some muscle tissue, as well. It’s been a pretty disappointing week. The pain has kept me from sleeping or sitting comfortably. The only positive aspect is I’ve been shoving fluids down my throat, non-stop for the past couple of weeks to keep from coughing. On Saturday evening while watching television, I sneezed unexpectedly and almost passed out from the pain.

My visit to the doctor’s visit was inconclusive so he had me scheduled for x-rays to try and examine the injury. Since it was Good Friday, the x-ray clinic wasn’t open until the following day, so an appointment was made. On Saturday morning I returned to the clinic and they took several shots of my torso, facing different directions. The technician was able to say that she couldn’t see any obvious break but that the doctor would examine the x-rays and get back to me. Since it was the weekend, she advised it likely wouldn’t be until Tuesday before I heard anything. Guess what day it is?

Obviously, I didn’t hear anything back yesterday and it’s still the wee hours of the morning. But if it IS muscular, there’s nothing to be done but rest, take it easy and let it heal. Ironically, even if my rib is fractured, there’s nothing to be done other than let it heal, as well. The only thing worse than being hurt is having nothing that can be done about it. the only silver lining is I was provided with anti-inflammatory pills and muscle relaxants. The latter has allowed me to at least get some sleep at night, but my mobility and ability to do anything but the mildest things around the house and at work are still hindered.

My inspiration to write has also been somewhat hindered. It’s hard to focus when your entire torso is piercing with pain. Hopefully, this passes soon. Besides the fact that I’m missing a HUGE amount of karate, right when I was finding my groove and really getting back into it, I’m not doing much physically, which is playing havoc with my blood sugars, my weight, everything… As I always say, life doesn’t care about one’s plan. I’ll blow the dust off once I’m cleared to resume. Hopefully, that happens before the roads are clear and dry so I can start out on the bicycle. ☯️

Less Than A Gentle “Ribbing”…

So, a few days ago I posted about how I attended an all-weekend karate seminar. this happened last weekend and was supposed to last all day, Saturday and Sunday. Sometime during the morning session on Sunday, I took a punch to the left side of my rib cage. The immediate feeling was having the wind knocked out of me. When I left the ring and stood off to the side, it took a few moments for the aching feeling and loss of breath to subside. once it did, i noticed a sharp pain in my side that I was able to ignore for at least the last twenty minutes until the session closed.

Once class closed, I was changing and noticed I was having difficulty getting out of my gi, with a sharp pain shooting up my left side and throwing bright, white stars behind both my eyes. I told some of the instructors that I wouldn’t be returning for the afternoon session. When I got home, I fell onto my bed and fell asleep from exhaustion. When i woke up, I could barely move. My first instinct was that my opponent had crushed a muscle and this was a muscle-based pain. But as the days passed and the pain worsened, I started to wonder if perhaps I had fractured/broken a rib.

It’s been a painfully brutal week. You really don’t realize how MUCH you use your core and abdominal muscles until you’ve suffered an injury that prevents it. The past week has seen me unable to comfortably sleep, do normal daily or chores or even get in and out of my car without wincing in severe pain. Hell, I haven’t been able to get in and out of a CHAIR without wincing in severe pain. And that sucks, since I don’t exactly have the most free time to be out of commission.

Once I realized I had a severe problem that wouldn’t be fixed on its own, I had to contemplate the possibility of finding a doctor. Problematically, finding a family doctor is quite, well… problematic, here in Saskatchewan. I still have a personal physician from my Mountie days but she’s located in Swift Current, which is a few hours away from where I am in Regina. Although making that trip wouldn’t usually be such a big deal, doing it when I’m in pain and my back is pooched isn’t the greatest. Luckily, my wife had a doctor’s appointment today that she no longer needed so she called in and had them exchange it to my name, instead.

I’m not sure what the doctor will determine, whether it’s a broken rib or damaged muscle. My sincere hope is that there’ll at least be SOMETHING that can be done to alleviate some of the pain. I feel as though I was JUST hitting my stride, being back in karate. Just in time to get injured and have to take a break for a couple of weeks. Figures. Either way, it’s important to take the necessary amount of time to heal properly when you suffer an injury. Better to wait it out and get better than return early and suffer potential further injury. ☯️

Your Body Isn’t All You Should Take Care Of…

Training in the martial arts can be taxing on the body. Hell, scratch that… It WILL be taxing on the body. Even if you manage to come out of years of training unscathed from being struck and/or injured in that fashion, any reasonable physical exertion will cause pulled muscles, bruising and sprains. And on top of nursing those injuries and taking care of one’s body, it’s also important to maintain proper hygiene of one’s body, as I wrote about here. But what many people seem to forget is that good hygiene and cleanliness doesn’t stop with one’s body. There’s also one’s equipment and uniform that need to be addressed…

I’ve often noticed that when someone finishes a class, they have a tendency of packing their gi into their gym bag and head home. Some may pull the gi out and let it dry/air out but many will actually just let it sit in the bag, especially if they happen to have class a couple of nights in a row. There are some significant problems with this. For one, sweating into a garment for a couple of hours then containing it inside a gym bag is just asking for trouble. We’re talking bacteria growth and even mold and mildew if it’s allowed to sit for too long.

All of these things will cause noticeable issues for the practitioner, if allowed to continue unchecked. re-wearing sweaty gear can cause all sorts of skin issues, like rashes and dermatitis. Add to that the fact that re-wearing a gi that has absorbed sweat can potentially emit a bad smell reminiscent of bad BO, whether it dried inside the bag or not. What’s worse, is that the wearer often won’t be aware of that odour themselves. It’s others who will notice it. That’s why it’s so important to keep your gi and equipment clean and washed after every use.

The obvious exception is if your gi is freshly washed and you walk into a light class where you haven’t broken a sweat. You get home, take your gi out of the bag and lay it out and you should be fine. but as a general rule, you should be washing your gi after every use and your bag and sparring gloves at least once a month (less for the gloves, depending on their composition and how often you use them). I was reminded of this fact recently, when a student I was training with exuded a funk that could have easily been described as leaving a wet beach towel sitting at the back of a musty closet for a month.

An important detail to remember as well, is that not all gis are created equal. ironically, the less expensive ones will come out of the laundry flexible and fitting the same as when it went in. Although usually composed of cotton, a gi can be sanforized or not. Sanforized basically means that it’s been pre-washed and shrunk to its current size, so washing in hot or cold water makes no difference. A non-sanforized gi will often come out of the laundry tighter than when it went in. This will make it more difficult to move freely while training. It’s not a bad idea to stretch out your gi prior to use.

Hygiene doesn’t just stop with oneself. Good cleanliness habits extend to one’s uniform and equipment. not only will you avoid tons of issues surrounding your personal hygiene, your dojo-mates will certainly appreciate the lack of bad smells. It’s also important from a respect standpoint. For your dojo AND for your uniform. ☯️

Clash Of The Titans!

It often surprises me how few people know of Uechi-ryu… In fact, even most people within martial arts circles don’t seem to know it and those who do, seem to know very little. But i consider my style to be a titan nonetheless… One of the original three Naha-Te styles from Okinawa and the one that has guided me through the challenges of life for over three decades. It wasn’t an easy choice to recently choose to start on a new journey with a new style, but Shotokan has treated me well; a fact that was reflected last weekend during a two-day seminar featuring several senior, high-ranking instructors.

The weekend started on Saturday morning. It was a gloomy, cloudy day that threatened to weep its load onto the world. I was a bit nervous, having never attended a “seminar” before. I had no idea what to expect. Would I be tested on what I knew? (which wasn’t much, at this point) Would I be asked to demonstrate my own style to see how I stacked up? (which wouldn’t have been a big deal) The mystery of the unknown caused a certain level of anxiety that I wasn’t enjoying. But I looked forward to it and packed my bag with some fast-acting glucose, water and my karate gi and made my way down the road to where the dojo was located.

I walked in and was greeted by one of the usual instructors I see on a nightly basis and another, whom I didn’t recognize. I was introduced and found out that he was an instructor from Saskatoon. I started to get dressed and realized I had forgotten an integral part of my uniform: the belt. Already, the day had not started on the right foot. I told the instructor I would be back shortly and dashed out the door. I got back just in time to get dressed for class and get lined up. A number of senior instructors had appeared but there was no chance for me to be introduced.

The morning went by in a blur, despite being two-hours long. Starting at 10:30, we went through a series of drills, techniques and concepts that tickled my brain and made me completely forget about the passage of time. By the time the noon hour hit and we broke for lunch, I was exhausted, sore and drenched in sweat. A little voice in the back of my head told me I should stay home in the afternoon and succumb to that fatigue. The next session was set to start at 2:30 in the afternoon. i had some time to contemplate my mortality and how difficult it had been to train all-out for two hours for the first time in years.

Although class was an absolute blast, I spoke to my wife about the prospect of staying home for the afternoon. In her infinite wisdom (she’s often far wiser than I) she explained that I had committed my Saturday to the seminar and that if I was seriously interested in learning Shotokan that i should at the very least finish out the day. I nodded my agreement and had a light lunch, followed by a forty-minute “old man nap” to refresh myself. I made my way back for the afternoon session.

The afternoon was an absolute blast. We did some pairs training and even some 3-on-1 techniques. My previous style never focused much on facing off multiple opponents so this was entirely new for me. Despite the initial vestiges of fatigue I felt, I was suddenly re-energized and hammered through the afternoon with an enthusiasm I haven’t felt since my 20’s. I got home with a grin splitting my face from ear-to-ear and my wife only had to take one look at my face to understand and asked, “You’re going back for tomorrow’s session, aren’t you?” I didn’t need to answer. She already knew.

The following morning’s session started at 9:30 and everyone was pleased and surprised to see me. Knowing my current limits, I had explained that I would only be attending one day’s worth of the seminar. It was nice to be received so well and we started off the morning with a bang, following up on the techniques and training that we had started the previous day. The morning’s session ended with doing one-on-one ju kumite, which is basically free fighting. At one point while sparring with another black belt, I zigged when i should have zagged and took a round punch to the back ribs. The wind fell out of me and I finished the match. But I felt an explosion of pain behind my ribs.

When the session closed up at 11:30 for lunch, I explained to the instructors that I was happy I had made the morning’s session but that I would not be back in the afternoon. By the time I got home, the left side of my back had almost completely seized up. The only saving grace is that I’ve suffered fractured ribs in the past and this didn’t feel like that. I was thinking I had managed to bruise the muscle tissue over the rib cage, which was why I could still breathe clearly but it was quite tender to the touch. A hot bath and a heating blanket later and it started ot feel better by the time I went to bed.

It’s feeling almost completely normal now, after a couple of days for recovery. But it taught me a couple of very important lessons. Or maybe reminders, since it’s stuff I should have already known. I need to guard better; I’m not in my 20’s anymore and I can’t depend on having greater speed than my opponents. And accidents will happen, sure. But when they happen in the dojo, injuries are likely to occur. After all, as I’ve often said, this is karate. You want to take up a hobby where you don’t get injured, go join a knitting circle! ☯️

There’s No Time…

I’ve trained in a variety of different dojos, with slightly different styles from my own. It’s been great from an experience perspective. I’ve had the opportunity to recognize that not everything is structured in only one way, which is a perspective I clearly lacked during my time back home. One particular detail is that not all classes have the same length. Sensei used to believe in a two-hour class and would never sway from that. I’ve taken classes that have been as short as an hour. In fact, my current dojo has one-hour class times.

Ultimately, it’s not the amount of time that the class lasts that really matters but what you do WITH that time. A twenty minute session can be invaluable, so long as you actually train and learn something while you’re there. If you’re spending half the class taking water breaks and stalling your instructor with questions you already know the answer to, so that you can recover, you’re wasting your time. And time is exactly the purpose behind today’s post.

They say that time flies when you’re having fun. I’ve heard that on a few occasions. Karate is fun. At least, I think it is. And anyone who practices it should be fully committed in this manner, as well. While I was coming up through my formative years, Sensei has a small wall clock mounted in the dojo. Now, our dojo was a small storage room off a large basketball gymnasium. I say small but it was about thirty by fifty feet. A decent space for a larger class. But the clock didn’t belong to us, it belonged to the building. The problem came when students started glancing at the clock repeatedly.

There’s nothing worse, and this is one of my biggest pet peeves, than training and trying to explain something when the student’s mind is a million miles away and staring at the clock. It eventually got to the point that Sensei just took the clock down and stuffed it aside. After all, Sensei would open the class and indicate when it ends. There’s no need for students to be watching the clock. Unless they’re bored or don’t want to be there.

Unfortunately, I’ve fallen victim to this phenomenon, as well. For a few years while I was training in a particular dojo, I would compulsively stare at the clock. The class was an hour and half long; definitely not the longest I’ve ever been through. But as the months elapsed, I began to notice that whenever there was a “lull” in the class I would glance at the class to see how long there was left to the class. It took me a while to recognize that it was because I was unfortunately bored.

At that point, I had a difficult decision to make. I could allow my stubbornness to keep me rooted where I was or I could realize that this style and class format wasn’t for me and move on. I have a history of sticking it out, long after In should move on. Ultimately, I moved on. Sometimes, sacrifice is necessary in order to gain clarity. But even in the current dojo I train with, some students watch the clock as though they’;re hoping to see the needle move quickly around the face, which leads me to feel some of them really don’t want to be there.

When you study the martial arts, you have to be in the moment. You have to focus and concentrate on what you’re doing and not worry about the time. Your instructor will let you know when class is done. there’s no need to watch the clock. If you find that time is ALWAYS dragging on for you and you just can’t help it, maybe where you are isn’t for you. Food for thought… ☯️

Hit The Bag Or Hit The Bricks…

Not literally… I mean, what have bricks ever done to you? But the bag comment stands. And for a bit of clarity going in, I’m referring to a punching bag, not just any random bag in general. Punching bags are a fun and easy way to blow off some stems and relieve stress but they’re also an integral part to learning your techniques and actually executing them properly.

When performing forms or kata, we learn techniques, strikes and blocks through repetition and muscle memory. Form teaches us proper movement, proper bone alignment, proper footing, proper steps and proper technique. When done properly, doing forms will help you to work up a sweat and can be a fantastic workout on their own. The only downfall is that you’ll eventually hit a wall (pun fully intended) by combating a phantom opponent through form. Eventually, y’all gotta hit something…

And this is where a punching bag comes in. I got this thought during a karate class last week when we took a break from forms to try and accurately executed a certain double-handed strike. It involved slide-stepping in and striking with the blade of both hands. The movement is a bit awkward, I’ll admit but the problem comes from needing enough flexibility in the wrists to prevent tensing while striking with the appropriate area of the hand.

After a number of attempts by some of the students who were trying hard to work at it, I recommended that it be applied to a punching bag. After all, this is intended to be a strike, so it should/could be developed by actually striking. This is something that I’ve often done when I find that trying to perfect a technique isn’t quite working. It’s pretty effective since, in order to prevent injury, you’re more likely to strike properly against a surface like a pad or punching bag than you will be when doing form.

Techniques in your forms may look pretty and smooth, but they hold no value unless they’re effective while being used. Let’s also not forget that if you spend years practicing and training without ever ACTUALLY striking something, you may get a nasty surprise if/when the day ever comes that you physically have to strike an actual opponent. After all, you may have been playing Grand Theft Auto for years but it doesn’t mean you’re ready to get behind the wheel of an actual car.

The same can be said of striking. I’ve lost track of how many students train and train well, maximum effort, developing their strikes and doing the best they can. Then, they step up to someone holding a strike pad or walk up to a heavy punching and try those same striking techniques only to have their shoulders sink back, sprain their wrists or perform a completely ineffectual strike. Then they’re right back at square one and have to re-learn the strike.

Punching bags are reasonably inexpensive, unless you go all out and buy some Cadillac of equipment. But even most big-box retailers will have some inexpensive options. Finding a second-hand sporting goods store can also be ideal, since people will often get rid of their strike pads or punching bags even if they’re still in excellent condition. The point is, if you’re going to learn something like karate, your training can only go so far until you start practicing your strikes on an actual surface. Food for thought… ☯️

Changes In Perspective Can Be Good…

One of the more interesting aspects of studying the martial arts is that there are so many different perspectives one can subscribe to. This is why it can be initially difficult to find a style or art that suits you. What seems to be absolutely great for one person may be completely wrong for another, and pushing yourself to study in an art that you aren’t fully invested in can be harmful and difficult. I’ve known a lot of students who have entered into my dojo because they WANTED to learn martial arts but couldn’t consolidate the fact that my style didn’t suit them. That, or they’d be forced in because of their parents.

The important thing to remember is to keep an open mind. For many people, the perspective they hav going in will change over time, especially if they’re learning a style that suits them and accommodates their life. It’s also important to remember that martial arts isn’t necessarily all about the fighting. I was reminded of this recently during a fascinating conversation about different styles that I was having with a colleague. If you want to learnt to fight, there are plenty of things you can do that would no doubt be easier than joining karate. People hear the word “karate” and they automatically assume one is learning to fight. in fact, when asked, most new students will say that they’ve joined in ORDER to learn to fight, despite the fact that karate and martial arts in general is a study, a philosophy, a way of life… and fighting is only one small aspect of it. Food for thought… ☯️