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SaiFightsMS
KF VIP

Joined: 28 Oct 2001
Posts: 6397
Location: Ohio
Styles: Shotokan, Shorin Ryu, Shi-to Ryu

PostPosted: Wed May 21, 2003 9:00 am    Post subject: My Journey in the Dojo Reply with quote

Intro

It is quiet inside the room; all that can be heard is the sound of breathing coming from neat rows of people in identical white outfits. A shout is heard and the lone figure in the front of the room turns around. Another shout and everyone bows toward the front of the room. He speaks a bit and everyone stands up. Another class begins. But who shouted out the commands to sit, meditate, stop and bow? It was my first night with the big class in Xenia and I was senior student; and my duty to perform the role of Dai senpai.

Many would find it strange that a middle-aged female with multiple sclerosis would be in such a position. It was a long journey for me. One I treasure greatly; and would repeat without a second thought.

Previous History

I was a college student when it hit. The MS was very fast moving at first. Within three years I was pretty much a wheelchair user with limited hand and arm strength. Things stayed like that for a very long time. Then as I approached middle age I hit a point where if I worked at it I could regain some strength. So that became pretty much a full time job for me. I learned anatomy and physiology, kinesiology, any thing I could learn about training. I learned from books, physical therapists, occupational therapists, exercise physiologists and others with a lot of experience in weight training.

The gym became sort of a second home. It didn’t matter if I only lifted two pounds. What mattered was that I was doing something. And I did make progress. It came slowly but it came. One thing led to another. After a few years I began to learn to ride a stationary bike. It took about eight months but I did it.

All this time there was one thing that was crucial; a working power chair. It was my primary means of movement. Without it I would never have been able to get back and forth to the bus stop to get to the gym; or anywhere else for that matter. The staff at the gym loved it when prospective new members were there when I was getting off the bike and hanging on things to get back to where I had parked my chair. It seems I helped sell quite a few memberships.

Then one year it got to be time to replace the batteries in my chair. Only in their infinite wisdom some desk jockey working for Medicaid decided that they needed to save money on wheel chair batteries. So the company providing the batteries put in a different, cheaper brand. They were so cheap they were defective. All in all I wound up with not one but six sets of defective batteries.

One of those days my chair would not charge because of the batteries and I had to go to an appointment and use my manual wheel chair. In the process both rotator cuffs tore.

The Deep Anger

I then spent months in serious pain. I could not sleep. There was no way for me to find a position I could lay in comfortably as I cannot lay flat on my back due to another problem. I would be awake for three or four day’s straight. Then when I had finally gotten to sleep the phone would start ringing. Not calls worth getting but wrong number after wrong number and then the telemarketers. To make it worse our lobby intercom runs over the phone line and the building idiot had the apartment number that matched my lobby intercom number. I would get called over and over by people just too plain dumb to dial a 3 digit number who refused to believe that I was no Larry. So turn off the phone you say. I did and had people banging on my door to find out why the phone was off.

If you have read anything on brainwashing and torture techniques, it is said that sleep deprivation is the most effective way to accomplish both. Well, it is true believe me.

All in all I was trapped indoors for ten long months. And during that time a deep hard anger was growing.

I began to be able to go out some. But was so very limited in what I could do. Pretty much all I could do was sit in front of the TV and vegetate. I had one leg that I could kick up a little. So that is what I did; over and over. Another year went by and I had a kick that was starting to look pretty good. I knew I had to do something with the anger or it would destroy me. And with the kick I started thinking martial arts.

The Search

I began calling martial arts schools. Most were very doubtful. Finally I learned of a class at my local YMCA. And the best part was it was only three blocks away. So I showed up for class nice and early one night. At that point I could stand some and walk shakily using two canes.

When the instructor showed up, he was interested and agreed to teach me. I was a kind of an experiment. So I began to learn the basics. I did all the kicking drills sitting in my chair. But some of the moving drills I did moving back and forth across the floor using my canes. Working in Zenkutsu Dachi (deep stance) did a lot for me. It is a longer and wider step than a normal step. The width of the steps enabled me to balance better. The depth of the steps made my legs work harder and get stronger faster. I was a 37-year-old learning Matsubayashi Shorin Ryu karate.

Every time I did something new it was the greatest feeling. It did not matter in the least that I couldn’t do anything the next day. What mattered was that I was doing something.

The Magic White Suit

I was making real progress and learning my first kata. It was suggested that it was time to get a gi. When I put it on and went to class it was like I was wearing a magic white suit that took me out of my normal existence into a totally separate existence and life. My life felt so different when I had my magic suit on. Many people have pre-work out rituals. Tying my belt started to finalized the end of my pre-work out ritual.

First Test

I was making real progress. And best of all was doing everything in class standing up now. One night my instructor looked at me and said “You are ready to test.” And he set a date. I practiced extra hard and my big day came.

During the actual test, held during class, I was the only one testing. It was really kind of scary doing everything solo under such careful scrutiny. I knew I had done everything before and many times in fact. In retrospect, I can honestly say it was definitely harder testing by myself like that as opposed to all of the later tests in a group. I hung my rank certificate on my wall with pride. My first rank was in Matsubayashi Shorin Ryu. I was now rokyu.

He gave me some really good advice before hand. He told me to get really good nights sleep for two nights before the test as many get too nervous to sleep well the night before tests. I will never forget that bit of advice.

Senpai Leaves

My first teacher was getting ready to get married; and move. I was so sad to see him go but will always be profoundly grateful to him for giving me a chance to try and see what I could do.

My New Sensei

A few weeks went by and I was wondering what to do now. As luck would have it, a new instructor was coming into the Y to teach karate. So one night I showed up at the door and looked in. I saw a man with graying hair teaching some children. I waited and watched until class was over. He came out then and introduced himself. I explained my situation. He thought hard; and then agreed to accept me as a student. This was how I met the man who was to be my sensei and helped change my life so much.

So once again I started formal karate training; this time in Hayashi Hai Shito Ryu. Only it was a different style so I had to start over and give up my hard won rank. It was a very small price to pay. And it was a class with mixed ages so my classmates were most often children. And they readily accepted me in a way adults don’t seem to be able to. We did our moving drills, learned our kata and all of the other things necessary for the first test.

Testing With a Big Group

There may have been only a few of us in the class but we found out there were students in other locations and that to test, everyone met in one location on a Saturday. The day of the big test came. And upon arriving at the gym, I noticed that there were so many people there. It was something like 112 testing that day. It was more than a bit overwhelming.

I arrived using my forearm crutches. I really needed the extra support and balance they gave me outside like in the parking lot. That kind of attracted more than a few looks.
We lined up and the official start to test day began. I was kind of overwhelmed in the very back of the large gym with all those rows of colored belts in front of me. After a general warm up with everyone still in formation we were lined up in order of rank on the sides around the gym.

There were weapons tests firsts. It was really interesting to watch. And I think having something like that to watch first helped cut the nerves. Then it was time for the white belts. We got up, a group of little kids and me. I was standing next to a six year old. I used my crutches to get to our appointed place to line up and then laid them down. (I had a bit of a problem maintaining my equilibrium in the large room - we were used to a racquetball court and I was always next to a wall, for reference, in there). We were put through our paces. And I managed to do everything without falling down. (Or kicking the drain on my leg bag open.) Then we were done and went back to our spots.

We watched the next few groups go up and do their thing. Then everyone lined up in formation and we were presented our certificates and new belts. I put my new red belt on with a great deal of pride. And was the only one of my rank able to properly tie it without assistance. It is kind of funny, the odd little things we remember.

My friend, who had driven me, and I stayed and watched the rest of the tests that day. There were so many. And each one looked harder. Then it was time for the black belt tests. They had to do all of the other katas previous as well as all of the other techniques. Then in the last kata they had these spots in it where they were standing on one foot. I thought to myself that I will never be able to do that. Then they had to break some boards. I had never seen anyone break before. It was very impressive. I went home that day with much to think about. I saw how much harder things would become if I continued to train. Strangely enough I did not think about how one day I would reach a limit of what I was to be able to do. I just saw a limitless horizon of new challenges.

Class Resumes

We had a week off and class resumed. We began learning our new kata and two weeks later were joined by some new white belts just starting out. There were people lined up behind us in the racquetball court. It was a new experience being able to answer questions for others; something I would learn to enjoy.

All the while I was making great progress physically. There were things I could do that looked like the efforts of any beginner and some that would take a lot of work. I tried everything. I was never forced to do anything. It was always left to my decision as to whether or not I thought something would be safe for me to do.

There were times that I did things that amused my classmates. Like throw a head block and send my glasses flying across the room. (Sports goggles eventually solved that problem.) And there were times when I turned that I did a lot of wind milling to keep my balance. And I was always the last one off the floor from a seated position. It helped me greatly that we were in a smaller room and I was next to the wall. Having that wall on my side really helped me with my poor sense of equilibrium. Over time the wind milling diminished as did the occurrences of my glasses flying across the room.

I was gradually getting stronger. My legs were really improving. I was having less and less trouble walking next to the wall. Out in the middle of a large floor I was very off balance for a long time though. As time went on I spent less and less time in my wheelchair indoors. Something no one had ever thought possible. In about three years I was to become fully ambulatory indoors about 95% of the time.

As far as upper body strength went I was always behind everyone else. With the shoulder problems I had there was a limited range of motion. My fist never did go back as far as others in the loaded position next to my hip. And those pushups! I tried hard I really did. At my first test I did ten of the worst looking pushups on my knees that had ever been seen in the dojo. Next test I just kind of held the position (with my knees off the ground) and shook.

Training or Therapy

After the time I had spent in the weight room I came to think of my efforts as just something I did; as a sort of way of life. At the beginning it was much more like physical therapy. But as time went on, it became more like the kind of training “normal people” did.

It was funny that when I started karate and found that I was making progress I wanted to tell everyone. Oddly enough no one believed that I was really doing “real” karate – that what I was doing was some sort of adapted thing. So I began to keep it inside of myself. In time it became a very personal thing.

After I had made so much progress physically that everyone had to notice something was up; then they wanted to know about what I was doing. By then what I did had become such a personal thing I had no desire to tell them what I was going on. The progress I made was not an overnight thing. It took a very long time; and there were a lot of ups and downs in the process. As a matter of fact it is still going on.

Some of my battles were mine alone because of the MS. Other battles were those common to those of my age group; those of the “forty some things.”

Tameshiwara

I continued to train. After a while nothing would have made me stop. My efforts were adding a structure to my life that had been seriously lacking for a very long time. My training became the central focus of my life.

One quarter there was to be a dojo wide special training event. A tameshiwara clinic; a breaking seminar. By then I had achieved sufficient rank that allowed me to attend. With the help of a friend for transport one way and sensei’s generous wife for the other, I was able to attend.

We began with the standard warm up drills like for any class. Then, were set up in lines with partners of similar rank and physical size for a series of drills. We worked on several drills. After a break we were broken down into three lines in order of rank. At the head of the lines were the senior black belts and piles of wooden boards. A board was placed on top of cement blocks and the first person was invited to put their foot through it.

With a loud kiai, a unique noise was heard and the board clattered to the floor in two pieces. One by one we moved up in the line. It got to be my turn. With great trepidation and excitement I gave it a try. And my board fell to the floor in two pieces! Okay so I lost my balance and almost fell on sensei in the process, what mattered was that the innocent board lay on the floor in two pieces. With a smile, sensei handed them too me and with pride I placed them in my bag. I had broken my first board. The feeling I had on the inside was so incredible. Like a gigantic YES!!!!!!!!!! Calling it an affirming experience is an understatement.

Before the day was over I had put both my fist and elbow through boards. I still have them. And when I am feeling low I take them out and look at them. They are carefully dated and the technique used is recorded on each one. Laugh if you want to; it meant a lot to me at the time. And they still have meaning.

Kobudo Begins

The next quarter there was another dojo wide seminar. This one was for beginning Kobudo students. We were going to be introduced to the Bo, the long staff. There were a lot of students in the gym when I arrived. We were then split into two groups: those with experience and the beginners.

I lined up with the other beginners in the back of the room. Because of the weight of the standard Bo most of the other adults used, I had a smaller one. We were taught basic moves. And then we were paired up for some partner drills. We learned so much it was hard to remember it all.

From then on after every regular karate class, for those eligible and interested, a separate Kobudo class was held. Working with the Bo was an enjoyable and challenging experience for me. I found that with the Bo in my hands my balance was much better. There is a reason tight rope walkers hold a long pole in their hand when on the wire.

Working with the Bo also helped my shoulders tremendously. It added to my coordination, flexibility, work with the centerline and confidence. After I began to work with more weapons later on, the Bo remained a favorite activity.

Kumite

All too soon I arrived at the point in rank where sparring was necessary to grade. Sensei was very careful to always make sure I was paired with someone who was not going to kill me. Often it was sensei or his older son who were my partner. I was not good at sparring. My reactions are slow and I have a blind spot on one side. I walk into everybody’s hand pads sooner or later.

There was another female student in my age range and rank at one of the other locations. We met each other at tests. The first test we had to spar, I was paired up with my teacher and she, with a senior student who had a lot of skill in working with less experienced students. They didn’t want either one of us to get killed. The following test we were usually paired up with each other. My greatest fear at test rather than getting killed sparring remained to be that of falling in the middle of things.

Special Battles

One of the things that I had learned weight training was that I needed a longer recovery time than someone of the same age without MS. That was also true in karate. If I did active things for two days in a row, I had to have a rest day; if I kept pushing I would have a rest day (or 3 or 4) I did not plan on having because my body would refuse to function. Everyone knows what it feels like to get tired. As a person with ms if I get too tired I start feeling like I am made out of wood. Some times even my scalp would feel a bit wooden.

Early on in my training I would wind up in an exhausted heap on the floor on a fairly regular basis. It was a good thing I was in a small class. Everyone sort of got used to me. So if I had to crawl off to the side nothing was disrupted; as time went on that happened less and less. I did reach a point where I could tell that I was nearing that point without having to hit it.

I am extremely hypothyroid and like many others hypoglycemic because of it. There were times that keeping my blood sugar from crashing in the middle of class was a great challenge. I slowly learned through trial and error what I needed to have in my system before class to try and avoid a crash. I also learned that because my metabolism is so weird that some things do not raise my blood sugar in the same way as it does for others. So through a trial and error process I learned what to carry with me to send my blood sugar level back up to a satisfactory level in a hurry.

It was kind of funny that I was doing something like karate and needed help to get dressed. I was getting stronger and my lower body flexibility was excellent but my problem shoulders still kind of limited certain activities. When I got to class I had everything but my gi top on. And as loose as they fit that was one of the few things I could put on my upper body without help. It was about four years before I achieved dressing independence.

I always did the same drills that everyone else did. At least I always gave them my best effort. The one thing that I was seriously deficient in was pushups. I kept trying. They did improve but I doubt that they will ever really look as good as those of my peers.

My coordination was improving all the time. I quit knocking my glasses off when I did head blocks. I quit flailing my arms to retain balance when I did turns. I felt secure doing basic kicks. I grew to love doing kata. My balance was getting better. I was doing really well walking indoors; but somehow outside on the uneven surfaces it feels like the ground is moving under me. Nine years later it is still like that.

Getting Sick

There was a period of two years that I lived largely on liquids. I had a systemic fungal infection and a colony of bacteria living in my stomach. It seems that my immune function was largely gone. There were times I was so sick that I really don’t want to remember. I kept training. Often looking forward to class and the next kata to learn was what kept me trying. You see I had had such a low period before karate that finding something like this was helping me put my life back together was really important. I was not about to give it up for anything. I would lie on my back and look at my belt rack and remember. I was not mentally able to stop; I was getting too many good things out of it.

There are stories behind every belt I earned. The biggest battle was the summer I was working on 5th kyu. I had pneumonia. I worked my tail off. Somehow I knew that if I didn’t keep on fighting that it would be the end of me. Come test time I was given permission to test and I really gave it my all. If the test had lasted two more minutes I would have been on the floor no doubt about it. But, I passed – somehow. There is something somehow very satisfying about giving everything you have inside of yourself to reach a goal.

Another Change

There are a lot of politics involved in karate. My dojo proved to be no exception. There was a split in the dojo. I went with the group that stayed with my sensei and we relearned many of our katas and went to mainstream shotokan. By the time we had changed, I had already learned all of the Heian katas. No big deal though, I loved practicing kata and learning a new version of the same kata helped me see new applications for many of the moves. I was now a student of shotokan karate.

Something else that has happened gradually was that I was rising in rank. It was a very odd feeling the first test that I went to and lined up in the front row. By then it was not the way that I moved that made people remember me it was my shoes. Wearing shoes helped me keep my balance due to some of the MS caused atrophy in the smaller muscles in my feet. It was my shoes that everyone remembered.

New Things

I had reached the same point many do where we are not advancing as quickly as in the lower kyu grades. Fortunately for me, and others, my dojo has a strong Kobudo program. We work with the Bo all the time. In addition, we work with a secondary weapon, which alternates between Sai, Tonfa and Nunchakus on an annual basis.

Nunchaku was my next weapon. The guys were all excited to be starting with the nunchaku. It proved to be a very difficult thing to handle. The kids were required to use foam-padded nunchaku and I also chose to use the padded ones. All of the other adults used the traditional octagonal wooden ones. Along with many other beginners I learned how to swing them without swatting myself in the head. At test time I was the only adult who chose to use the foam nunchaku. That was fine with me. I would rather be safe than injured. Although I did achieve a level of proficiency with the nunchaku they were not my favorite weapon to work with.

Sai were next. And it is amazing how heavy they can feel when you work with them for a while. They work everything up one arm, across the shoulders and down the other arm. I gained a lot of arm strength working with them. And I really loved my sai. There is some very expensive equipment in PT and OT departments that work some of the same muscles that working with the sai does. I still love my sai. Actually I like working with them so much they became part of one of my Internet identities (SaiFightsMS, here at KarateForums.com, for example).

On to tonfa: wow what a switch. They really look like fun but are incredibly difficult to control. My biggest problem is the way my hands sweat. Then the handles get wet and they don’t spin. Powder on the hands helped a little but not enough. My final solution was to take some scrap suede and put it on the handles like a steering wheel cover. I think it works great.

Working with all of the weapons in the Kobudo program was an excellent adjunct to my karate training. For me it also worked muscles in my hands, forearms and shoulders in a very constructive way. I don’t think a therapist would have been able to come up with a program that would have given me the same benefits.

Structure

It is difficult to explain to someone how big a difference the structure of having a class to go to made for me. I know there are some who look forward to the day they “retire” when they will no longer have a schedule to keep to and obligations to meet. For me living like that was very empty. I hated just sitting in front of the television. Because I have a much more limited energy level, I planned my life around going to class. Does that sound like a bit of an obsession? Well, that may be one way to look at it. Regular karate practice can definitely be addictive.

At the beginning of each quarter, I would set down and make goals. That gave me even more structure. At intervals, I would look at my goals to see if I was on track or if they were going to be attainable in the time frame that I had set. It was rewarding to reach the goals that I had set for myself.

Younger Classmates

Training in a family oriented setting with younger classmates was good for me. I have lived in senior/handicapped housing for many years now. Well, that is my cat and I. I had very little experience with children. There was a lower age limit of six years in our dojo. I am one of those people who really do not have the patience for dealing with kid’s full time. And I believe that if there were more people like me who realized that and refrained from having kids they are not equipped to deal with the incidence of child abuse would decrease dramatically.

Our kids were well behaved for the most part. It was a good thing for me to be exposed to the younger ones. And in a way after you stand next to someone for a few years they become kind of like younger brothers or sisters. I am grateful for those who shared part of their life with me. Especially sensei’s kids, I watched the older one grow about two feet in height and become a young man.

I will always believe that martial arts’ training is a very good thing for children. I watched many very shy ones gain confidence. Those with trouble paying attention really benefited. Sensei was very good at working with the kids. I think it was a special gift that he had.

Tournaments were a special event. They were good for the kids in the area of building confidence. I enjoyed them because they gave me a chance to watch how the kids were growing and developing. I always felt it an honor to be a judge. Sensei always ran excellent tournaments. Sometimes it would seem like a long day but always well worth it.

New Skills

One of the really great things about karate is the way that it is taught to that each skill builds on those before. So that it is not too overwhelming at first; in many ways that is the key to the success that I had. Basic punches, blocks and kicks at first; gradually strengthening each technique. Each kata was a bit more complex and difficult than the one preceding. I cannot really explain how much I like working on kata. I got a special feeling when I practiced by myself. It was not too unlike the feeling I used to get many years ago when I ran.

Basic front kicks were the only kick we did at first. After I learned to keep my balance when kicking standing up, my kicking ability steadily improved. Because I had so little flexibility in my shoulders, I worked extra hard on my lower body flexibility. When I achieved full side splits it was an accomplishment few of my classmates were able to match.

When I started doing roundhouse kicks there was something about them that made them much easier for me to do. I think it goes back to when I would hang on the railing next to the punching bag on the 5th floor at the Y for balance early on in my training. It was very convenient the way the bag hung just the right distance away from that railing. It was just in a short hallway overlooking a squash court.

Plateaus

Sooner or later almost everyone who trains in a martial art reaches a plateau. Points where you just kind of get stuck. Some of the reason for this is that the first rank promotions come much more quickly than the later ones. Age and physical conditioning also effect how quickly this happens. Our well ran Kobudo program helped many to deal with this aspect of training. When it would seem like one has worked on the same kata forever there would be something new to look forward to in Kobudo.

There was one point at brown belt level – I don’t remember if it was 1st or 2nd kyu – that I sort of got really stale. From where I look at things it was largely a mental battle. It was in my supplemental training where I dug my way out of the hole. That was when the Y got some of the new elliptical cross training machines. That added a new type of leg and cardio aspect to my training. And as always the benefits I got from that went to karate and into aspects of my every day functioning.

Support During Training

There were many who helped me in differing ways during different phases of my training. I suppose that is true of all who train. My list of people may be shorter than some and longer that that of others.

In many ways the top of my list of support has to go my instructors. Without the first one who was willing to let me try to the instructor I trained for most of my time under, what I have done and what I have gotten out of my training would not have been possible. I can’t have been the easiest student to work with at times. There were definitely special challenges I posed and that together we overcame.

Transportation can be a bit of a problem for me as I have not driven for a long time. For tests and special events I have ridden with My Mother a few times, a good friend for others and sensei or his wife for many. As a matter of fact that kind man even went out of his way to pick me up for class when we stopped having classes at the one location.
For something like a year and a half he would go out of his way to pick me up and drop me off. I will always be grateful to him for so many things.

Unique to my situation was a home health nurse who provided a lot of support; particularly in the early stages of my training. She helped me learn how to manage my unstable blood sugar levels. Being hypoglycemic because of a nonfunctioning thyroid, the guides that apply to those who are classically or reactively hypoglycemic just did not work. As a matter of fact my system is so odd that a glass of orange juice has only a minimal effect on my blood glucose reading thirty minutes later.

There have also been several home health aides during the course of time who have put up with all my chatter. As well as help me dress and undress in the early days. And in the beginning when I was working on regaining any type of shoulder flexibility they helped me with important stretching work.

Then there was my kitten. I lost a treasured feline companion in 1986; and somehow acquired a small kitten. She was such a little brat in the beginning. She grew into a fine companion in the midst of getting bonked trying to catch the foam nunchaku during practice. She isn’t too fond of the noise I make working with the punching bag but seems to get a great deal of amusement watching me do other activities. She seems to really enjoy waiting until I practice a crane stance and then rubbing up against my leg. My little bratty kitten grew up listening to all my dreams and struggles. If she could talk I wonder what she would tell you.

Crane Stance

One day, the almost unbelievable happened. I began to learn the kata with the crane stance in it; the one I watched with so much amazement at the first test with the large group. I can’t say I was immediately successful. On the other hand I cannot say that I had a great deal more trouble with it than did others. As I worked with the kata there were times it looked fine and some that I provided a great deal of entertainment wind milling once again to keep that other foot from touching the floor.

I realize that most shotokan groups do not do Rohai. They do Meikyo later on. A few holdovers remained from our Shito ryu heritage. I never really expected to be learning black belt material those long ago days when I began training.

Sometimes I wonder, when I am trying to walk outside and the ground feels like it is moving underneath my feet, how I can do something like Rohai and then still have trouble walking. Oh, the vagaries of MS.

The Internet

Something else concurrent to my training that radically changed my life was the Internet. I was given a hand me down computer. Well I had one that came in, in a similar manner much earlier and it was so out of date at the time I was never able to get a printer for it. And since using it to write on was the primary purpose I had wanted one for, it did not get that much use.

The 486 did though. It functioned well enough to let me try and do many of the things I had wanted to do for so long. And I was able to get a printer for it. One of my first projects was to take my handwritten notes of all the katas and drills I had been keeping since early on and enter them, edit, and get them printed out. It was rather amazing how much less they took up when neatly printed out by the computer than they did handwritten even in the same size of a notebook. And they looked a whole lot better, too.

Next step was an Internet trial. A whole new world opened up. I racked up an amazing amount of time during a free trail month mostly doing research on karate. I was hooked. Somehow my trial time was extended and I continued to learn. More importantly I was doing more and more with the computer. I was also running into the limits of what the older computer was capable of doing. The big problem was a very small hard drive. But I worked on it as best as I could.

Then I was looking for a really great deal on a new computer. With some serious rebates, the rent deposit money I was saving to move with and help from Mom, I was able to get a new computer. I was in heaven. Working here on the computer was in many ways similar to getting started in karate. All it takes is making the most with the chance you have. The key is finding someone or someplace to give you a chance.

There is a lot of information on karate available on the Internet. Some of which is good and some of which is well… The background that I had learned from my sensei really helped me a lot in my explorations. I came to enjoy comparing the way that different groups do the same katas and I still do. I continue to spend a great deal of time on my computer looking for information and doing research.

One of the best things was finding groups and places that discussed differing aspects of the martial arts. I belong to several online clubs and frequent several message board sites.

The Future

At one time I thought I didn’t have much of a future. Now I see a future. My future will be full of karate whether it be practicing or researching. The Internet expanded my world so much and there are so many things waiting for me to discover.
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karate_woman
Pre-Black Belt
Pre-Black Belt

Joined: 11 Apr 2003
Posts: 863
Location: Ontario Canada
Styles: Kickboxing,Okinawan Goju Ryu Karate, Judo, JuJitsu,T'ai Chi, QiGong

PostPosted: Wed May 21, 2003 12:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Excellent article, showing what people can do if they put their mind, body. and soul into something.

Thanks for sharing your journey thus far.
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The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.

-Lao-Tse
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Pacificshore
Black Belt
Black Belt

Joined: 26 Mar 2002
Posts: 1698
Location: West Coast
Styles: Chinese Kenpo/Kara-Ho Kempo

PostPosted: Wed May 21, 2003 6:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Excellent Sai, simply excellet!!!!
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Di'DaDeeeee!!!
Mind of Mencia
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monkeygirl
KF VIP

Joined: 22 Feb 2002
Posts: 3677
Location: Oregon
Styles: Tae Kwon Do

PostPosted: Thu May 22, 2003 8:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wow! That is truly an inspirational article!
I feel like I know Sai a little better now.
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1st dan & Asst. Instructor TKD 2000-2003

No matter the tune...if you can rock it, rock it hard.
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hobbitbob
Purple Belt
Purple Belt

Joined: 15 Jun 2002
Posts: 545
Location: Denver
Styles: 3d dan Shotokan, 2d dan Wado Ryu, 1st dan Taekwondo, 1st dan Aikido

PostPosted: Fri May 30, 2003 4:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Impressive. One reason I'm going to Grad school at CU Boulder is becaues my Brother in Law, who along with my sister, raised me from age 14-18,and is more like a father than anything else, is in the end stages of MS. He is almost completely wheelschair bound,and transfers with great difficulty. It is because of this difficulty that I turned down acceptance to the History dept. at Yale,and returned home. Each day is a struggle for him,and as the spring morphs into summer, he does worse. He has given up. I will share your story with him, in hopes that it will provide some motivation.
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There have always been Starkadders at Cold Comfort Farm!
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Kamidake
Orange Belt
Orange Belt

Joined: 13 Apr 2003
Posts: 155
Location: U. S. A.

PostPosted: Sat May 31, 2003 5:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

He has my sympathy. I found a minor problem like tendinitis to be very disheartening as it dragged on and on and on; I cannot even imagine how discouraging it must be to have a SERIOUS chronic illness.
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Fenris-wolf
Green Belt
Green Belt

Joined: 08 Jun 2003
Posts: 381
Location: New Zealand
Styles: Muay Thai

PostPosted: Sun Jun 29, 2003 4:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you so much for sharing that, SaiFightsMS; I cannot believe I would ever have your courage.
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sansoouser
Purple Belt
Purple Belt

Joined: 21 Jun 2003
Posts: 521
Location: Hot headed, Irish Man
Styles: san soo, judo,

PostPosted: Tue Jul 01, 2003 2:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Very inspirational. Dream Sai Dream Good luck
It seems you have a tremendous will power and drive to move on, I envy you and so shall strive

Seems karate womans quote The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step. is fitting eh?

I am a mountain
I am a tall tree
Ohhh, I am a swift wind
Sweepin' the country
I am a river
Down in the valley
Ohhh, I am a vision
And I can see clearly
If anybody asks u who I am
Just stand up tall look 'em in the Face and say


I'm that star up in the sky
I'm that mountain peak up high
I made it
I'm the worlds greatest
And I'm that little bit of hope
When my backs against the ropes
I can feel it mmm
I'm the worlds greatest

For Sai the believer! You've changed me Sai....
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The amateur shoots his hands out ferociously, but lacks any true power. A master is not so flamboyant, but his touch is as heavy as a mountain.
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RedDragon
Yellow Belt
Yellow Belt

Joined: 21 Jul 2003
Posts: 32
Location: Ontario, Canada
Styles: Goju Ryu Karate

PostPosted: Tue Jul 22, 2003 7:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sai,

I find your story to be truely inspirational. While reading, it has brought a tear to my eye, not in sympathy, but in heart-felt pride. You have overcome diversity, and did not allow MS to rule your life. Congradulations for your accomlpishments, and thank you for sharing your wonderful story with us. Please keep us updated.
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Adam

Traditional Japanese Goju Ryu Karate
Mike Lasci's Northern Martial Arts Centre
My lifestyle determines my deathstyle
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John G
Green Belt
Green Belt

Joined: 02 Jun 2002
Posts: 426
Location: Western Australia
Styles: ITF Taekwon-Do, Wing Chun

PostPosted: Tue Jul 22, 2003 7:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great article Sai,

I hope you don't mind but I sent your artical (links etc) to the MS Society here in Western Australia.


Respectfully,

...
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John G Jarrett

III Dan, ITF Taekwon-Do
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