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barefoot-kohai
White Belt
White Belt

Joined: 23 Jun 2009
Posts: 23
Location: Barcelona (ESP)
Styles: Shotokan

PostPosted: Tue Oct 23, 2018 6:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Shortyafter,

I do not know if you have already read it, but If you have some spare time , get yourself a copy of Funakoshi's book "My Way of Life"

I think you will enjoy it.
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shortyafter
Orange Belt
Orange Belt

Joined: 17 Nov 2016
Posts: 169

Styles: Kyokushinkai, Shotokan

PostPosted: Wed Oct 24, 2018 4:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

barefoot-kohai wrote:
Shortyafter,

I do not know if you have already read it, but If you have some spare time , get yourself a copy of Funakoshi's book "My Way of Life"

I think you will enjoy it.

Funny that you mention that. This has been THE definitive karate book for me. I really identify with Funakoshi's perspective on the art and on life in general.

Thanks for that.
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shortyafter
Orange Belt
Orange Belt

Joined: 17 Nov 2016
Posts: 169

Styles: Kyokushinkai, Shotokan

PostPosted: Wed Oct 24, 2018 1:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

On Monday I told my instructor that I have been feeling unmotivated lately. I figured he's the person who most needs to know that. I liked his advice - he told me to take my time, be patient. I'm young. It's very similar advice to what I've gotten from you all.

I've been in a good mental and spiritual space lately. Not without its bumps but of course the bumps are just a sign of hitting new territory. On the way home from my class I saw a bunch of older teen boys hanging out in the small park by my house. That morning I had found it utterly trashed - rubbish all over the ground, basically everywhere except in the bin. Which was just less than 5 feet away. So I decided to confront them. "Hey, you guys were here last night, right?" - Yeah. "OK, well how about tonight we throw all the rubbish away? I mean, there's a bin right there, it seems easy enough to me". - OK. "Thanks, see ya". And that was that.

Of course the next day the park was just as bad as ever. But I felt good about how I acted. I feel like I did the right thing. It's not OK for them to trash my park, to trash our park. That's not OK. Whether or not they listen to me, that's not up to me. The way they answered that night made them sound to me like good kids deep down. So if anything I made them feel a little guilty for doing the wrong thing. Good. Maybe that encounter will stick with them every time they choose to do something stupid like that.

And I wasn't afraid of it. It's not like they're gonna whip out a knife and start attacking me right there over this small thing. But you never know. My karate has taught me I don't need to be afraid. Especially when I'm in the right. And hey, I was on my bike. Worst case scenario I booked it out of there.

Karate's also taught me when it's better to avoid confrontation, and when to set my ego aside. I just passed by these teens again right now after tonight's class. I decided I wasn't going to say anything. Maybe a simple "hey" if they paid me any mind, but otherwise nothing. In the end there was no opportunity to speak, but that's OK. I was a few meters away but I think they saw me on my bike. And just seeing me is a reminder of "Oh crap, we're doing the wrong thing" on some level. But I don't need to go in there and make it a personal vendetta. That would be my ego speaking.

Tonight in class we finished with an application of Heian Shodan. There was no time for anyone else to do it, and we were about to close out the class, but I asked my instructor if I could try it. But this time was different. In my old dojo, this kind of thing was expected "to prove our fighting spirit". To whom? As far as I can gather, to our Sensei. Tonight I didn't do this to prove anything to anyone, not even to my instructor. I did it because I wanted to, and I found the application useful.

I don't know. I don't fully understand these dojos that are founded upon gaining the instructor's approval, which means doing everything his way or the high way. In the end in my old dojo I felt like we were being turned into dogs. Very deadly and powerful dogs, but still dogs. Always at the whim of our master, never able to think for ourselves. That for me is not what this journey is about. This journey, for me, is about learning to be able to stand up for and defend what I believe to be right. And doing everything my instructor says and hankering for his approval (or for ANYONE's approval, for that matter) is not what I'm after. I don't care about approval. I care about truth.

When I say truth, I mean my truth. But, I know that when I am true to myself, I'm also true to the whole. Because I'm part of the whole.

But this is just my philosophy. I will say once again that I appreciate barefoot-kohai's plug of "My Way of Life" (Funakoshi). Notice Funakoshi doesn't say: "The Only Way of Life". Or "The Best Way of Life". Nope. It's just his way. I can certainly learn from him, and from others. But at the end of the day, I have to forge my own path. And to always remember, like Fuankoshi, that what's right for me may not be right for everybody else.

It's been awhile but I practiced a bit of kata on my own after class. I don't want to go into superlatives like "that was the strongest/best kata I've ever done". But I will dare to say that it was a damn well executed kata.

There's been some bumps for me, and there will certainly be many more. But this is working for me. I'm happy with karate, and with life. Thanks folks.
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MatsuShinshii
Black Belt
Black Belt

Joined: 15 Aug 2016
Posts: 1423
Location: Kentucky
Styles: Machimura Suidi Rokudan, Ryukyu Kenpo, Kobudo, Judo

PostPosted: Wed Oct 24, 2018 5:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

shortyafter wrote:
On Monday I told my instructor that I have been feeling unmotivated lately. I figured he's the person who most needs to know that. I liked his advice - he told me to take my time, be patient. I'm young. It's very similar advice to what I've gotten from you all.

I've been in a good mental and spiritual space lately. Not without its bumps but of course the bumps are just a sign of hitting new territory. On the way home from my class I saw a bunch of older teen boys hanging out in the small park by my house. That morning I had found it utterly trashed - rubbish all over the ground, basically everywhere except in the bin. Which was just less than 5 feet away. So I decided to confront them. "Hey, you guys were here last night, right?" - Yeah. "OK, well how about tonight we throw all the rubbish away? I mean, there's a bin right there, it seems easy enough to me". - OK. "Thanks, see ya". And that was that.

Of course the next day the park was just as bad as ever. But I felt good about how I acted. I feel like I did the right thing. It's not OK for them to trash my park, to trash our park. That's not OK. Whether or not they listen to me, that's not up to me. The way they answered that night made them sound to me like good kids deep down. So if anything I made them feel a little guilty for doing the wrong thing. Good. Maybe that encounter will stick with them every time they choose to do something stupid like that.

And I wasn't afraid of it. It's not like they're gonna whip out a knife and start attacking me right there over this small thing. But you never know. My karate has taught me I don't need to be afraid. Especially when I'm in the right. And hey, I was on my bike. Worst case scenario I booked it out of there.

Karate's also taught me when it's better to avoid confrontation, and when to set my ego aside. I just passed by these teens again right now after tonight's class. I decided I wasn't going to say anything. Maybe a simple "hey" if they paid me any mind, but otherwise nothing. In the end there was no opportunity to speak, but that's OK. I was a few meters away but I think they saw me on my bike. And just seeing me is a reminder of "Oh crap, we're doing the wrong thing" on some level. But I don't need to go in there and make it a personal vendetta. That would be my ego speaking.

Tonight in class we finished with an application of Heian Shodan. There was no time for anyone else to do it, and we were about to close out the class, but I asked my instructor if I could try it. But this time was different. In my old dojo, this kind of thing was expected "to prove our fighting spirit". To whom? As far as I can gather, to our Sensei. Tonight I didn't do this to prove anything to anyone, not even to my instructor. I did it because I wanted to, and I found the application useful.

I don't know. I don't fully understand these dojos that are founded upon gaining the instructor's approval, which means doing everything his way or the high way. In the end in my old dojo I felt like we were being turned into dogs. Very deadly and powerful dogs, but still dogs. Always at the whim of our master, never able to think for ourselves. That for me is not what this journey is about. This journey, for me, is about learning to be able to stand up for and defend what I believe to be right. And doing everything my instructor says and hankering for his approval (or for ANYONE's approval, for that matter) is not what I'm after. I don't care about approval. I care about truth.

When I say truth, I mean my truth. But, I know that when I am true to myself, I'm also true to the whole. Because I'm part of the whole.

But this is just my philosophy. I will say once again that I appreciate barefoot-kohai's plug of "My Way of Life" (Funakoshi). Notice Funakoshi doesn't say: "The Only Way of Life". Or "The Best Way of Life". Nope. It's just his way. I can certainly learn from him, and from others. But at the end of the day, I have to forge my own path. And to always remember, like Fuankoshi, that what's right for me may not be right for everybody else.

It's been awhile but I practiced a bit of kata on my own after class. I don't want to go into superlatives like "that was the strongest/best kata I've ever done". But I will dare to say that it was a damn well executed kata.

There's been some bumps for me, and there will certainly be many more. But this is working for me. I'm happy with karate, and with life. Thanks folks.


Congrats! It's good to hear your doing well. It sounds like you are making excellent progress. Keep training and maintain the positive outlook.
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The person who succeeds is not the one who holds back, fearing failure, nor the one who never fails-but the one who moves on in spite of failure.
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shortyafter
Orange Belt
Orange Belt

Joined: 17 Nov 2016
Posts: 169

Styles: Kyokushinkai, Shotokan

PostPosted: Thu Oct 25, 2018 1:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

MatsuShinshii - Thanks! I really appreciate the encouragement.
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aurik
Yellow Belt
Yellow Belt

Joined: 08 Nov 2016
Posts: 40
Location: Denver, CO
Styles: Shuri-Ryu, Uechi-Ryu

PostPosted: Thu Oct 25, 2018 2:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Shorty,
This has been a great read. As someone who is just getting back into the MA's after a LONG time away, it's been refreshing to see where your journey has taken you. I look forward to following the continuation of your journey!
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shortyafter
Orange Belt
Orange Belt

Joined: 17 Nov 2016
Posts: 169

Styles: Kyokushinkai, Shotokan

PostPosted: Thu Oct 25, 2018 3:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

aurik wrote:
Shorty,
This has been a great read. As someone who is just getting back into the MA's after a LONG time away, it's been refreshing to see where your journey has taken you. I look forward to following the continuation of your journey!

Hi! Yep, these 3 years have not made me into an amazing fighter or anything like that. But they have taught me to have confidence in my strength - both physical and spiritual, while at the same time acknowledging my limitations.

Thanks a lot for reading and for sharing. I look forward to hearing more from you.
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shortyafter
Orange Belt
Orange Belt

Joined: 17 Nov 2016
Posts: 169

Styles: Kyokushinkai, Shotokan

PostPosted: Mon Nov 12, 2018 3:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I work as an assistant teacher in a public language school. Today I was working with a fellow co-teacher in his class, a weekly occurrence. Over the last few years I haven't just learned to become strong - I've also learned to become vulnerable. It's a journey that precedes my karate journey. In fact, the former led to me taking up karate in the first place. And both journeys are totally related, if not one in the same entirely.

These last few years I've really learned to accept my humanity, my weaknesses. Which also has lead to me being able to accept the humanity of others. Well, doing so gives me a whole new perspective on life. It gives me a new, more positive perspective on myself, and it also has shown me that we're ALL broken, lost and confused in some way or another. We're all just fragile human beings doing the best we can.

I've been working on this, like I said, for years. But it really has been coming up the last few weeks, and especially today. So I'm in the class with my co-teacher, as I said above. I get along well with this guy, but lately I've been struggling a bit with him. Like, I get a bit of a selfish, self-important vibe from him. I don't know, I'm not entirely sure.

Well, today, there was a moment where we suddenly made eye contact for longer than normal. In that moment, in his face, I saw great fear. Not of me, necessarily, but, of being vulnerable in general I think. Of letting people see the truth. I realized, maybe he does have selfish tendencies, I don't know... but that's not the core of it. He's just a scared, fragile human being doing his best. So I don't have to be afraid or judgmental of him.

I felt mildly awkward in that moment, but, I do not feel that I experienced the same degree of fear that he did. Not because I'm super strong or immune to fear or anything ridiculous like that. No. But rather, because, I've already come such a long way in accepting my weakness. I'm not so afraid to be vulnerable anymore.

And it's funny. Because in that moment, where I saw great fear in his face, I saw great strength in me.

Thanks folks for letting me share.
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shortyafter
Orange Belt
Orange Belt

Joined: 17 Nov 2016
Posts: 169

Styles: Kyokushinkai, Shotokan

PostPosted: Mon Nov 19, 2018 3:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

We don't do much kumite in my dojo, a lot of kihon, kata and application of these things. But straight up kumite, not so frequently. Tonight was the first time in awhile. Was fighting against a blue belt younger teen. Jyu kumite.

So yeah, he's young, but he's somewhat grown up and about my size. Also outranks me. But hey. It's not really about my opponent but about me. I didn't go into it thinking "I'm gonna stomp this kid" or anything, just like, let me do my best here. For my sake but also because this kid deserves an honest showing. No need to take it easy or anything.

About 1 or 2 minutes into the fight the instructor pulled out the helmets. That gave me a boost because then I knew I could start throwing some honest shots to the head. Obviously not gonna knock this kid out but I could throw some controlled blows up there.

It went well. Don't know how to explain it. I just felt like I was calm, threw good techniques, and used my head. Fought strategically and technically correct. There came a moment where I totally just whopped him into a corner. Like I said, we don't do much kumite in this dojo, but I think my old Kyokushin experience came out here.

So anyway. Nothing crazy, I'm not gonna say this means I'm an awesome fighter, because it certainly doesn't. But it does mean I'm progressing and that I can feel confident in what I'm doing with my karate. And that's pretty cool!
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shortyafter
Orange Belt
Orange Belt

Joined: 17 Nov 2016
Posts: 169

Styles: Kyokushinkai, Shotokan

PostPosted: Fri Nov 30, 2018 1:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I was just practicing my kata on my rooftop terrace. I can't exactly explain it but I always feel like my kata are sloppy. Maybe it's my perfectionism, actually, I'm sure that's part of it. But I also got the feeling tonight that I'm just trying so dang hard to make my techniques powerful. Too hard. So tonight I decided just to focus on doing really proper techniques.

It's funny because the kata actually looked and felt a lot better. It felt a lot lighter. What little I lost in power (being tense all the time, IMO, doesn't really make you powerful), I feel like I made up in proper body mechanics and velocity. My karate felt like it had a new lightness to it.

Maybe I could have added more power back in, but, I don't feel like being super tense and brute about it is the right way. I feel like that's getting in the way. It's funny, because, you look at new (and some old) karate practitioners, and society in general, and brute force seems to be the way to the top. Everyone seems to be exerting themselves so hard. It takes a little bit of courage to just be like, hey, that's not my path.

I was remembering a lot today, for some reason, a day we had done 1-step bunkai in class. My opponent was really going hard, and it made me think, "maybe I need to be exerting myself more, give it that kind of energy, like him". But then I thought. No. That's his style, that's what he's doing. That doesn't mean it's right, and it definitely doesn't mean it's right for me. A few minutes later, he was totally burned out and the decline in his technique was obvious. Meanwhile, I continued on, calmly and powerfully. Then I knew I had done the right thing.

So, not saying I've got it all figured out or anything. But I do feel I'm on the right path with my "unwinding" philosophy.
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