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KarateNewbie
White Belt
White Belt

Joined: 01 Aug 2017
Posts: 20

Styles: Shotokan

PostPosted: Sun Aug 06, 2017 5:20 am    Post subject: Karate Newbie but Karate Crazy!!!! Reply with quote

Hi guys. I'm new to this forum and to Karate. When I joined Karate in January, it was with the express purpose of getting fit and learning self-defence with the added bonus of gaining some knowledge to help the kids with their training (they are way ahead of me!) It had the added bonus of a clear path of progression through tests, one of my favourite activities! (yes my nickname is Monica Geller) and awards by way of a coloured belt. Itís strange that just a few months after my first class, with the exception of helping the kids, my initial reasons for training have almost slid into obscurity. Instead I have found something that has eluded me throughout the many yoga classes or meditation exercises I have tried, and something I certainly didnít expect to find in a Karate dojo. I have found a kind of stillness there . Letís face it Ė a dojo is probably the last place I expected to find peace or stillness. Itís a place of high energy, loud voices kiaing, sweating and hard work. But from the moment I was taught how to kneel and bow to show respect to the past Masters , something wonderful happened (and I didnít realise it until after the class) I was there in the now. That just doesn't happen for me - I'm a mother of children with special needs and my mind is always working away. But my mind emptied of everything except the next move. There was no ďOh I must remember to ring the Occupation Therapist back about that appointmentĒ, no effort needed to bring my mind back to the task on hand. It never leaves the task on hand. Training in the dojo is all about me and has become my most selfish pursuit and one I guard fiercely. I'm out with an injury right now under doctors orders but up until now I havenít missed a single class since I first walked in that door and when I bow in the doorway I get the same feeling of ďhomeĒ that I do when opening my hall door after a long journey. I know that may give the impression that Karate comes naturally to me Ė I need to make it clear that nothing could be further from the truth! My two left feet and total lack of coordination mean that every tiny step forward is a result of very hard work and constant practice. But the more I study the art and read about itís origins, the more Iím seduced by it. The Kataís are a thing of beauty, and watching the more experienced students perform the complicated manoeuvres of Bassai dai or Tekki Shodan, I am transported to a time long since past and a land I have never seen, but now long to visit. I have learned that Karate is so much more than a form of self-defence; itís more of a way of life. Everything that is learned in the dojo can translate to everyday life. It has helped me identify my strengths and weaknesses. At first I looked at my weaknesses under too close a microscope. I identified (lots of) specific movements, stances or blocks that were lacking and determined to perfect them. I berated myself when I made mistakes and frustration was a common component of my practice. After a while I took a step back and determined that unless I perfected my balance and coordination then the individual movements would never be perfect and so I began working on perfecting those. Recently though, I have ďzoomed outĒ even further and I have realised that my greatest weakness is my need to be perfect. I had wasted so much time berating myself because I was comparing myself to other students and sometimes even to Sensei himself (a 6th dan Karateka with 30 yearsí experience Ė watching him perform a Kata is like watching the Bolshoi perform Swan Lake) While itís always good to push yourself I have learned these past few months that berating myself for not being perfect does not improve my Karate Ė quite the opposite. Instead of concentrating on getting it right next time I was criticising myself which only serves to deflate my spirit. I now use each body/spirit/mind/harmony exercise to purge my thoughts of negativity about mistakes Iíve made in class Ė a deep breath in for my body gives my muscles power to continue and my exhale expels any negativity and reignites my fighting spirit to carry on and work hard on the next task. It won't change overnight but I'm working on it.
My perfectionist nature has, in a very different way to before, also become one of my greatest strengths. Once I began working on removing the negative, berating aspect of it I found that it has given me a new purpose and the drive to achieve it. Donít get me wrong Ė I have always been driven to excel. I spent almost all of my 20ís in college at night studying whatever I thought would perfect my skills in my day job. I loved taking exams and I was devastated if I ever got anything less than a distinction. I thrived on the challenge. As I said, itís one of the reasons why Karate appealed to me in the beginning Ė the ranking system appealed to my need to ďbe the bestĒ. I'm astounded at how quickly I have changed - I bought my first Karate-gi after a couple of months when I decided it made more sense to spend the money on that rather than more tracksuits. The first time I tied that belt and every time after until my grading, I felt needles of shame that Iím wearing it without having actually earned it. Iíve realised that shame comes from a complete change in perception. The need to be the best, and to have the belt to prove it, has evolved into a need to be the best that I can be (if that makes sense?)
Itís not that Iím any less driven than before. In fact Iíd say Iím even more so. The difference is Iím not driven by a need to be better than anyone else, just a need to feel worthy of the belt I've now earned. It has morphed into a kind of stubbornness to never give up. Itís the stubbornness to keep trying when Iím messing up the most basic of moves. Itís the stubbornness to lock the bedroom door (a place thatís a lot less ďzenĒ than the dojo with three kids banging on the door!) and practice, practice, practice that move until it feels more natural. Itís a stubbornness that pushes me towards working to feeling worthy of the belt Iím wearing.

OMG sorry about the essay! Aren't you glad you're not my husband - he has to listen to this A LOT!!!! I'm hoping to find lots of karate mad people here who are just as weird as me
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LLLEARNER
Brown Belt
Brown Belt

Joined: 10 Feb 2016
Posts: 687
Location: Central Maine

PostPosted: Sun Aug 06, 2017 6:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I understand where you are coming from. Despite the outward appearance of shouting, frantic activity, equipment, sweaty odor, and no soothing music, it is a place of focus. Focusing on the task at hand rather than the honey-do list. The soothing lack of distraction spas and yoga clubs try to enforce through environment controls, a dojo teaches through mental discipline despite distractions. A good Sensei does not allow uncontrolled distraction in the training environment.

Do not feel ashamed for not "earning your gi". You earn it by deciding to train. That is all.

Karate (as are most martial arts) is about self-improvement at its core.

I understand the hectic life. I have a family, full-time job, a full-time school schedule and medical issues starting to appear. It is the focus of karate that pushes it all out for a mental break in the dojo.

When I first started I felt like Godzilla tramping through Tokyo trying to perform the techniques and kata. I fell a lot. I could not do the big 270 degree back turns, and still cannot kick as high as I want to on some kicks. I am slowly improving. Your Sensei makes it look graceful and easy because he has done them tens of thousands if not more times over 30+ years.

My 6 year old daughter takes it with me. I have seen her focus improve greatly compared to her age group. She gets so proud with the next achievement, and has a better understanding of goal setting beyond the next 10 minutes. When she earned her yellow belt (and Sensei made her earn it for over an hour) she said to me excitedly "I did the work!" which is what I want her to understand. She spars against the adults (yes, a mixed adult and kids class) in the class without fear. I am not teaching her to be controlled by her fear but to understand and work with it. She has a healthy respect for Sensei. She listens and follows instruction. This is good as
ďUncoachable kids become unemployable adults. Let your kid get used to somebody being tough on them. Thatís life, get over it!Ē Ė Patrick Murphy, Alabama Softball

Sensei's 2 grandkids (approximately 4 years old) just started. He is just as tough, if not tougher on them as he is on everyone else. It will only do them good in the long run.
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"Those who know don't talk. Those who talk don't know." ~ Lao-tzu, Tao Te Ching

"Walk a single path, becoming neither cocky with victory nor broken with defeat, without forgetting caution when all is quiet or becoming frightened when danger threatens." ~ Jigaro Kano
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sensei8
KF Sensei
KF Sensei

Joined: 23 Feb 2008
Posts: 14205
Location: Houston, TX
Styles: Shindokan Saitou-ryu [Shuri-te/Okinawa-te based]

PostPosted: Sun Aug 06, 2017 7:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Welcome to KF, KarateNewbie; glad that you're here!!

I enjoyed your post through and through; gave a lot of perception into your character and all; solid across the board.

Enjoy your MA journey. Don't be afraid to ask questions of your CI, and of us here at KF.

I look forward to your many posts in the future here at KF.



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**Proof is on the floor!!!
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KarateNewbie
White Belt
White Belt

Joined: 01 Aug 2017
Posts: 20

Styles: Shotokan

PostPosted: Sun Aug 06, 2017 8:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

LLLEARNER wrote:
I understand where you are coming from.

That sentence alone makes me so happy I'm here! There's noone else in my life who shares my passion for Karate (although my husband tries very hard to look like he's interested when I'm rabbiting on about it) so it's great to find like-minded people. Your thoughts on earning the gi through deciding to train is lovely - I hadn't thought of it like that.
Sensei8 thank you. Reading back over my post I thought "oh God, it reads like I think I'm the enlightened one or something!" Really, if you picture Zen and look in the opposite direction, the tiny dot on the horizon is the person 1 million miles closer to Zen than me! I'm glad it didn't come across that way to you. I know I've just taken my first step on a very very long journey (and now I'm very glad to have company!)
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sensei8
KF Sensei
KF Sensei

Joined: 23 Feb 2008
Posts: 14205
Location: Houston, TX
Styles: Shindokan Saitou-ryu [Shuri-te/Okinawa-te based]

PostPosted: Sun Aug 06, 2017 9:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

KarateNewbie wrote:
LLLEARNER wrote:
I understand where you are coming from.

That sentence alone makes me so happy I'm here! There's noone else in my life who shares my passion for Karate (although my husband tries very hard to look like he's interested when I'm rabbiting on about it) so it's great to find like-minded people. Your thoughts on earning the gi through deciding to train is lovely - I hadn't thought of it like that.
Sensei8 thank you. Reading back over my post I thought "oh God, it reads like I think I'm the enlightened one or something!" Really, if you picture Zen and look in the opposite direction, the tiny dot on the horizon is the person 1 million miles closer to Zen than me! I'm glad it didn't come across that way to you. I know I've just taken my first step on a very very long journey (and now I'm very glad to have company!)

I share in your excitement through and through. The MA journey is a tough one, and it should be, but the rewards throughout the journey make it all worth it. Don't allow anyone, including your husband, to steal your joy achieved through the MA. Have fun...practice until the wheels fall off, and then some...train as though your life depends on it, because one day, it just might.

You'll not pass ever Testing Cycle, and you're not suppose to. Actually, you'll fail much more Testing Cycle's than you'll pass. Remember, rank isn't important in the MA, however, knowledge and experience are paramount.

Train hard...train well...proof is on the floor!!



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Zaine
Black Belt
Black Belt

Joined: 31 Aug 2005
Posts: 1660
Location: Dallas, TX
Styles: Shorin Ryu, Long Fist, American Street Karate, Mantis, Schola Saint George (Fiorian sword fighting)

PostPosted: Sun Aug 06, 2017 9:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Welcome to KF! It's great to have someone so excited about Martial Arts join the forum! You will find a lot of like-minded people here.
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Martial arts training is 30% classroom training, 70% solo training.
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KarateNewbie
White Belt
White Belt

Joined: 01 Aug 2017
Posts: 20

Styles: Shotokan

PostPosted: Sun Aug 06, 2017 9:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Don't allow anyone, including your husband, to steal your joy achieved through the MA.


[/quote]

Hubby is 100% behind me and loves that I love it - he just doesn't have an interest in MA so while it's my favourite topic of conversation it'll never be his but he listens because he loves me
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JR 137
KF Sempai
KF Sempai

Joined: 10 May 2015
Posts: 2304
Location: In the dojo
Styles: Seido Juku

PostPosted: Sun Aug 06, 2017 3:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Welcome to the forum. I'm quite sure most of us regulars here can relate to pretty much everything you're saying.

My wife doesn't get the obsession I have with karate, nor a few other things. She doesn't have to get it to be supportive. Just like I fail to see the allure of some of her things. But I don't have to get it to be supportive of her either.

The dojo is my happy place. When people ask why I like it so much, I usually joke around and say "where else can you beat people up and get beat up without getting arrested?" After an odd reaction, I tell them the truth about why I keep going back...

The dojo is the only place I've ever been where the outside world ceases to exist. I have no time to think about how my boss ticked me off when someone's trying to kick me in the head. My 4 and 6 year old daughters whining and complaining don't go through my mind when I'm about to get punched in the stomach. My wife's chore list doesn't exist while I'm on the floor doing my thing. Don't get me wrong, I love my wife and kids with all my heart, but an hour and a half or so without them a few times a week works wonders. I've never gotten that from anything else I've done - work, sports, working out at a gym, etc.

As I've gotten older (I'm 41), I've realized that the only person I have to compete against and compare myself to is me. It's all about outdoing what I thought I could and couldn't do. It's all about surpassing my own expectations. Or at least my own realistic expectations.

Why am I here? Like you and many others here (I assume), I don't have very many people to share my passion of karate with. But beyond that, there's a lot of great people here who've got a ton of experience and freely share it with someone like me who's only been at it a very short period of time, relatively speaking. I trained for 7 years, took almost 15 years off, and restarted about 2 and a half years ago. There's people here who've been training longer than I've been alive. And no ones ever talked down to me nor made me feel like my insight, experience, nor opinions are irrelevant. That speaks volumes of this place.

Keep up the hard work and enthusiasm. And stick around. There's a lot of great people here who'll help you along your path any way they can.
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bushido_man96
KF Sensei
KF Sensei

Joined: 31 Mar 2006
Posts: 27583
Location: Hays, KS
Styles: Taekwondo, Combat Hapkido, Aikido, GRACIE

PostPosted: Sun Aug 06, 2017 5:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Welcome to KF!
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http://www.sunyis.com/
www.aikidoofnorthwestkansas.com
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mazzybear
KF Sempai
KF Sempai

Joined: 30 Oct 2013
Posts: 649
Location: Scotland.
Styles: Wado Kai

PostPosted: Mon Aug 07, 2017 3:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Welcome to KF KarateNewbie! Good to have you here. Loving your enthusiasm towards your karate. The obsession will stick around for years to come hopefully. I returned to karate 4 and a half years ago and the obsession is still very much there!



Mo.
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