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OneKickWonder
Purple Belt
Purple Belt

Joined: 17 Feb 2018
Posts: 513

Styles: Tang soo do

PostPosted: Tue Jul 31, 2018 2:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If it's any consolation, every instructor I've ever known, across several styles, has been something like you describe. Talking to friends in other clubs it sounds similar there too.

By that I mean, sometimes it's like you just can't get anything right. Sometimes the best you can hope for us no reaction at all. In my experience, no reaction, even if your technique is still pretty terrible, means your instructor saw it and believes you are on the right track. In my experience, intervention usually happens when you do something that is the seed of a bad habit forming.

To give an example. In our club, let's say we're practicing roundhouse kick. Nothing fancy, just the plain old mid section roundhouse. You might have one person repeatedly kicking really well. They have balance, speed, accuracy and control. Superficially it all looks good. But they are not pivoting their supporting foot say. Someone else in the line is wobbling about all over the place. They even stumble over a couple of times. It looks terrible. Who gets pulled up? Depending on other factors, I'd say most likely the first guy. Why? The guy that's wobbling all over the place is doing so because he's trying to get the hang of pivoting the supporting foot while engaging the hips. He's still rubbish at it but that's what he's practicing. If he keeps practicing that. In no time at all he'll have a good base for a roundhouse. The guy that superficially looked good is making no attempt to pivot his foot. He is just accepting that all the torsional stress is going through his knee and ankle joints. He is getting away with it for now because he hasn't developed power yet and he's still quite young, but left unchecked, once he develops a bit more power he's just going to rip his knee joint to bits. Of course this is just one example scenario.

I think another factor that comes into play is that you are being trained to fight. That's every bit as much a mental thing as a physical thing. By that I mean you can get great big body builder types that get intimidated by skinny psychopaths. If you're not mentally prepared, you're not prepared no matter what physical ability you have. If someone attacks you and you do a half decent punch to their face, nobody is going to say well done. The fight us going to continue and you'll have to just keep doing it until one of you is defeated. If it is your attacker that is defeated, chances are still nobody will say well done, because real fights are horrible and nobody except a total psycho feels good about either being in one or witnessing it. So if nobody is going to say well done if it's for real, why should they when training?

All of the above comes with a caveat. I think when it's young kids in question, praise is appropriate. But for adults, I think it should be used sparingly. And in most cases I don't think it means the instructor is a bad person.
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shortyafter
Orange Belt
Orange Belt

Joined: 17 Nov 2016
Posts: 169

Styles: Kyokushinkai, Shotokan

PostPosted: Tue Jul 31, 2018 3:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

OneKick, great comments and I really appreciate that. My instructor is a great guy and part of the reason I like him, beyond being good at karate, is because he's genuinely a nice guy at heart. Like you said we're learning to fight but, we're also learning not to fight, and I'm not busting my butt at the dojo 3 nights a week to be treated like crud with the vague hope that one day I may get to use my karate. So it's a fine line I think?

Totally agree that it's a mental thing. Some dude yelling at me, if that gets to me, is not his problem, it's my problem. Especially if that's in a real life self-defense situation. Or even just situation where someones being a turd verbally. That's kind of what I was getting at before, like, if I let it get to me, that's my problem. But yeah I think you're absolutely right - nobody's gonna pat me on the back all the time and hold my hand through this. Especially not when there's a conflict involved.

Someone said (was it Funakoshi?) that the aim of karate is the perfection of character, and getting over this stuff is just as important to me as learning the kicks and punches, probably more important (I never hope to actually use my karate, but the karate spirit applies to everything). Regardless of what anyone is saying or not saying to me, I just want to be cool doing my thing and not get derailed so easily. I know I'm on a good path.

Me personally, I feel I need the pats on the back because life is hard and I've really come along way from the guy I used to be. I'm a better person. I think I have a tendency to be hard on myself and sometimes the best thing I can do for me is just be like, yeah dude, you're doing well, keep it up. Here's the big killer though - I can't expect that from anyone else (and as you said, definitely not from an opponent). So it's gotta come from inside me.

So I know this is all work on my end, but like I said. I'm not perfect and I needed to vent. And even in a fight we wanna know that there's someone in our corner. Thanks for being that guy OneKick, already feeling better about this.
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shortyafter
Orange Belt
Orange Belt

Joined: 17 Nov 2016
Posts: 169

Styles: Kyokushinkai, Shotokan

PostPosted: Sun Aug 19, 2018 5:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm back stateside and for reasons I've detailed earlier in this thread I will not be returning to my former (and first) Kyokushin dojo. Nothing against the style and I learned a lot there, but I just don't gel with the dynamic in that particular dojo. I found a Shotokan dojo 10 minutes up the road so that will be my new bet. I'll be going in with my green belt and a white belt, and I'll put on whichever one they tell me to. Makes no difference to me at all. I'm a bit nervous but hey I think this is a great opportunity for my karate. I'll only be with them for 3 weeks but it'll be nice to get another perspective on my karate, and also to see what they do.

Will probably update tomorrow.
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shortyafter
Orange Belt
Orange Belt

Joined: 17 Nov 2016
Posts: 169

Styles: Kyokushinkai, Shotokan

PostPosted: Mon Aug 20, 2018 7:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quick update since I already updated the other thread. Just did my first training with an SKA (Shotokan Karate of America) dojo.
Training was good but I'm a reflective guy so let's go ahead and reflect:

1. I've been training on my own for the last month or so out of necessity. Getting back with (more experienced) people and also fresh faces just reminded me that I have a long, long way to go. Mind you I've only been training for 3 years and the majority of these guys have been going for 10+ years. But yeah got a long way to go, and you know what, that's OK! As you guys always tell me, patience. And I'm looking forward to learning.

2. Despite that I am definitely more confident and humble in a way. Like, I'm open to correction. I didn't feel stupid or defeated because I got corrected or anything, like, it's normal! I think that's growth for me. Also, I didn't walk in there scared or anything. Nervous sure but I was confident that I could handle it. Definitely thank my previous karate training for that.

3. My karate is still my karate. Like, I have a lot to learn, and I need correction and guidance. But what was that principle that sensei8 usually reminds of me? Like, first you have to learn the techniques then you go beyond them? I feel like that comes into play here. These guys technically seem great but the fighting spirit... that's inside me.

4. After a bad experience at my previous dojo now I'm skeptical about dojos in general. But hey I doubt they're going to lock me in their basement or anything like that, lol. But yeah I do want to know that what I'm doing is worthwhile and not just some "drink the cool aid, our dojo is the best" type scenario. Hence my other post. I think it's a healthy skepticism.

All said and done I'm happy with where I'm at and with where I'm going. Let's see how things play out. Thanks folks.
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shortyafter
Orange Belt
Orange Belt

Joined: 17 Nov 2016
Posts: 169

Styles: Kyokushinkai, Shotokan

PostPosted: Mon Oct 08, 2018 2:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Been awhile folks. I've been in a mild karate identity crisis lately. I dropped out of my old Kyoksuhin dojo, a fact that I posted about awhile back, and recently tried out a new SKA (Shotokan Karate of America) dojo. Honestly, I got some good tips from them but I did not leave there feeling like, "Yes, this is the direction my life needs to go in". Not necessarily because of them. But because I'm questioning what role karate has in my life in the first place. I went a couple of months without training and my world didn't fall apart... in fact, it was liberating in a way to get some of that stress off my back.

This was back in the States, here in Europe I do have a dojo that I like. We started back last week and I have been attending because, well, I don't have a good reason to quit (not that I necessarily will, but you get my point). For context, let me mention that last year I set a challenge for myself to pass a super difficult language exam that I don't need for anything other than to prove to myself that I can do it. Well, turns out that I'm a far ways off from passing still. I gave up on that challenge. Not that I'm not for excellence or anything like that... it's just that, bursting my butt doing something I hated just for a stupid certification. I decided it's not worth it. And I'm glad I did. But then I started to think, am I treating karate the same way?

And the answer is, yes. I'm still using it to prove something to myself. And the truth is, that's not what I want it to be about for me. I want to do it because I love it, for the art of it. Not for belts or validation or anything like that. So my last couple of trainings have been different, in a good way. I'm not trying so hard to advance or do things perfectly... I'm just doing my best and really engaging in the art.

I already do a lot of sports, and karate on top of that is just another commitment. On some days I go to the gym twice because of how things work out, one of course is the karate gym. And honestly, that's a lot. I sort of a got an answer to these questions tonight. Our instructor is going to remove a day, Friday, and make our other two classes on Monday and Wednesday 30 minutes longer. I like this solution. It means karate will be less of a burden to me, but still a part of my life.

Another answer came to me about a month ago, though I'm only totally realizing it tonight. I was at a destination wedding and the bride and groom rented a house for all of their friends. 3 story house. Lots of people and most bathrooms occupied constantly. I'm not a drinker and was exhausted so I went to bed earlier than most. I knew there was a bathroom on the top floor, even though my friend group and I were on the second floor. So I went up there to brush my teeth.

A young guy about my age approaches me and says - "What are you doing here?" I said, "Brushing my teeth". Matter of factly. And he says - "But this is ours." "Oh, ok." And he adds - "And what are we supposed to do if something's missing?" And I said - "But I haven't touched anything". In a sort of bullying fashion he says - "Get back inside the bathroom (I had stepped out a bit while brushing) and finish up". I was going to floss and use some mouth wash and stuff but I figured it was best not to play games. I finished brushing, packed my things, and left. "All yours" I said. Politely, but also in an assertive tone. "Thanks, dude" in a sort of mocking tone he says. And that was that.

I thought about it. Should I have "stood up" for myself? I mean, I know I was doing nothing wrong but he seemed to be looking for a fight or something. And I didn't like that. My ego I suppose didn't want him to think that he had got the best of me. But in the end, I was happy with how I acted. He clearly wanted confrontation, I avoided it but also was not apologetic or scared of this guy. That was good. That, I think, was karate.

So karate has taught me how not to fight. But I think it's important to know how to defend myself, and this situation showed me that. When he confronted me I could feel my whole body tense up, and go into fight-or-flight mode. These situations don't happen frequently, but I'm certain I will face them at some time. And when they do come, I want to know that I'm ready. The best thing I can do is do what I did that night - just leave. But if the aggressor doesn't settle for words, if he wants to make a bigger case of it, if he wants to be physical... there's something to be said for knowing how to defend myself.

And that is a gift that karate has given me, and will continue to give me. I don't need to bust my butt 7 days a week in order to prove that I can make black belt. That will come, if it's meant to. But going to the dojo twice a week to learn about self-defense, get a good workout and learn values like perseverance, patience and non-violence? Eh. I can do that. In fact, it would be my pleasure.

So onward we go, my friends. Thanks for letting me share.
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P.A.L
Black Belt
Black Belt

Joined: 26 May 2004
Posts: 1253
Location: Texas
Styles: Shorin-ryu

PostPosted: Tue Oct 09, 2018 7:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

shortyafter wrote:
Been awhile folks. I've been in a mild karate identity crisis lately. I dropped out of my old Kyoksuhin dojo, a fact that I posted about awhile back, and recently tried out a new SKA (Shotokan Karate of America) dojo. Honestly, I got some good tips from them but I did not leave there feeling like, "Yes, this is the direction my life needs to go in". Not necessarily because of them. But because I'm questioning what role karate has in my life in the first place. I went a couple of months without training and my world didn't fall apart... in fact, it was liberating in a way to get some of that stress off my back.

This was back in the States, here in Europe I do have a dojo that I like. We started back last week and I have been attending because, well, I don't have a good reason to quit (not that I necessarily will, but you get my point). For context, let me mention that last year I set a challenge for myself to pass a super difficult language exam that I don't need for anything other than to prove to myself that I can do it. Well, turns out that I'm a far ways off from passing still. I gave up on that challenge. Not that I'm not for excellence or anything like that... it's just that, bursting my butt doing something I hated just for a stupid certification. I decided it's not worth it. And I'm glad I did. But then I started to think, am I treating karate the same way?

And the answer is, yes. I'm still using it to prove something to myself. And the truth is, that's not what I want it to be about for me. I want to do it because I love it, for the art of it. Not for belts or validation or anything like that. So my last couple of trainings have been different, in a good way. I'm not trying so hard to advance or do things perfectly... I'm just doing my best and really engaging in the art.

I already do a lot of sports, and karate on top of that is just another commitment. On some days I go to the gym twice because of how things work out, one of course is the karate gym. And honestly, that's a lot. I sort of a got an answer to these questions tonight. Our instructor is going to remove a day, Friday, and make our other two classes on Monday and Wednesday 30 minutes longer. I like this solution. It means karate will be less of a burden to me, but still a part of my life.

Another answer came to me about a month ago, though I'm only totally realizing it tonight. I was at a destination wedding and the bride and groom rented a house for all of their friends. 3 story house. Lots of people and most bathrooms occupied constantly. I'm not a drinker and was exhausted so I went to bed earlier than most. I knew there was a bathroom on the top floor, even though my friend group and I were on the second floor. So I went up there to brush my teeth.

A young guy about my age approaches me and says - "What are you doing here?" I said, "Brushing my teeth". Matter of factly. And he says - "But this is ours." "Oh, ok." And he adds - "And what are we supposed to do if something's missing?" And I said - "But I haven't touched anything". In a sort of bullying fashion he says - "Get back inside the bathroom (I had stepped out a bit while brushing) and finish up". I was going to floss and use some mouth wash and stuff but I figured it was best not to play games. I finished brushing, packed my things, and left. "All yours" I said. Politely, but also in an assertive tone. "Thanks, dude" in a sort of mocking tone he says. And that was that.

I thought about it. Should I have "stood up" for myself? I mean, I know I was doing nothing wrong but he seemed to be looking for a fight or something. And I didn't like that. My ego I suppose didn't want him to think that he had got the best of me. But in the end, I was happy with how I acted. He clearly wanted confrontation, I avoided it but also was not apologetic or scared of this guy. That was good. That, I think, was karate.

So karate has taught me how not to fight. But I think it's important to know how to defend myself, and this situation showed me that. When he confronted me I could feel my whole body tense up, and go into fight-or-flight mode. These situations don't happen frequently, but I'm certain I will face them at some time. And when they do come, I want to know that I'm ready. The best thing I can do is do what I did that night - just leave. But if the aggressor doesn't settle for words, if he wants to make a bigger case of it, if he wants to be physical... there's something to be said for knowing how to defend myself.

And that is a gift that karate has given me, and will continue to give me. I don't need to bust my butt 7 days a week in order to prove that I can make black belt. That will come, if it's meant to. But going to the dojo twice a week to learn about self-defense, get a good workout and learn values like perseverance, patience and non-violence? Eh. I can do that. In fact, it would be my pleasure.

So onward we go, my friends. Thanks for letting me share.


I enjoyed your post. I am glad that you found a way to take control of your ego .that could be one of the greatest achievements of your life.
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sensei8
KF Sensei
KF Sensei

Joined: 23 Feb 2008
Posts: 14329
Location: Houston, TX
Styles: Shindokan Saitou-ryu [Shuri-te/Okinawa-te based]

PostPosted: Tue Oct 09, 2018 11:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

shortyafter wrote:
Quick update since I already updated the other thread. Just did my first training with an SKA (Shotokan Karate of America) dojo.
Training was good but I'm a reflective guy so let's go ahead and reflect:

1. I've been training on my own for the last month or so out of necessity. Getting back with (more experienced) people and also fresh faces just reminded me that I have a long, long way to go. Mind you I've only been training for 3 years and the majority of these guys have been going for 10+ years. But yeah got a long way to go, and you know what, that's OK! As you guys always tell me, patience. And I'm looking forward to learning.

2. Despite that I am definitely more confident and humble in a way. Like, I'm open to correction. I didn't feel stupid or defeated because I got corrected or anything, like, it's normal! I think that's growth for me. Also, I didn't walk in there scared or anything. Nervous sure but I was confident that I could handle it. Definitely thank my previous karate training for that.

3. My karate is still my karate. Like, I have a lot to learn, and I need correction and guidance. But what was that principle that sensei8 usually reminds of me? Like, first you have to learn the techniques then you go beyond them? I feel like that comes into play here. These guys technically seem great but the fighting spirit... that's inside me.

4. After a bad experience at my previous dojo now I'm skeptical about dojos in general. But hey I doubt they're going to lock me in their basement or anything like that, lol. But yeah I do want to know that what I'm doing is worthwhile and not just some "drink the cool aid, our dojo is the best" type scenario. Hence my other post. I think it's a healthy skepticism.

All said and done I'm happy with where I'm at and with where I'm going. Let's see how things play out. Thanks folks.

This, Imho, post of yours, right here, is your testimony of just how far you've grown as a MAist across the board!!



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shortyafter
Orange Belt
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Joined: 17 Nov 2016
Posts: 169

Styles: Kyokushinkai, Shotokan

PostPosted: Tue Oct 09, 2018 3:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

P.A.L. - Yes. Avoiding conflict is not glamorous. Like, it's not comparable to winning a tournament or even being the strongest/toughest guy at a wedding party. There's something utterly dull about what actually happened that night. But you know what? I went to bed without any injuries, and most importantly, with a clean conscious. Not glamorous, but, there's just something more meaningful about the way I handled that. It's not gonna win me any awards. But it does make me feel good about the person I am. And that's meaningful to me. Thanks a lot for reading and for your comment.

sensei8 - Yes, I really appreciate your support and encouragement. Slowly but surely. You're right, I've come a long way. Thank you for that reminder.

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bushido_man96
KF Sensei
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Joined: 31 Mar 2006
Posts: 27701
Location: Hays, KS
Styles: Taekwondo, Combat Hapkido, Aikido, GRACIE

PostPosted: Fri Oct 12, 2018 4:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You handled that situation at the bathroom well. Very much done the right way.

As for your motivations for MA training, I'd say you've pointed yourself in the right direction. Its important to re-evaluate your priorities every now and then, especially if you are having doubts about what you're doing and why you're doing it. I think many instructors often forget that it I the student's journey, and its important for instructors to take that into account.

Kudos to you!
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shortyafter
Orange Belt
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Joined: 17 Nov 2016
Posts: 169

Styles: Kyokushinkai, Shotokan

PostPosted: Fri Oct 12, 2018 5:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

bushido_man96 wrote:
You handled that situation at the bathroom well. Very much done the right way.

As for your motivations for MA training, I'd say you've pointed yourself in the right direction. Its important to re-evaluate your priorities every now and then, especially if you are having doubts about what you're doing and why you're doing it. I think many instructors often forget that it I the student's journey, and its important for instructors to take that into account.

Kudos to you!

Thank you. That's how I feel about the situation, too, but feedback like this strengthens my resolve in what I'm doing and why. And I agree with you - that's a great point about this being the student's journey. Everyone is different, right?

Thanks again!
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