Thursday, January 31, 2008

What I Gain

I want to respond to a recent comment made on my last post "Do Something Else" and convey what I gain by continuing my involvement with Karate. During my recovery from ACL reconstruction I considered not returning to karate. My injury occurred while I was training. I was practicing a two-person bo form and had to jump over a bo sweep. I was training on a soft, mat-like floor and when I landed my foot planted. Using hip rotation to land my bo technique, my upper body moved but my foot did not. This resulted in my knee twisting completely... like a chicken leg being torn off at the bone.

I have seen many students stop training when they reach black belt. I have seen students stop training at 1st kyu. I realized that I am at a point in my karate where my gain is intrinsically tied into what I can give back. Most of my time spent in the dojo is teaching. Anyone that has stood up in front of a dojo to teach knows that teaching pushes you to become better. During class students of all ranks amaze me with their questions. Sometimes I have an answer; sometimes I need to think about the question for a little; and sometimes I just do not know. The gain is in the search for the answers.

I am thrilled when I see students progressing. I like to work with students on their kata and basics. It is the little things such as a changed hand position, a stance adjustment, and how students improve their weapon handling skills. The gain is how you help a student improve.

I train in a traditional karate system. I feel that I have an obligation to contribute to the preservation of the art. The gain is being part of the process. There is an excellent post by Charles Goodin on this subject.

I still have a lot to learn and a lot to gain.

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