Wednesday, July 2, 2008


If I had one word of advice for karate students, it would be ENJOY. Several other good phrases that came to mind were work hard and be patient.

ENJOY your time in the dojo. Often the dojo community becomes a second family and these people will be there for you when you need them.

ENJOY learning from different instructors within your organization or dojo. If your school has several instructors, take the time to participate in their classes. Each instructor has unique ways of presenting the same material. View it as an opportunity.

ENJOY learning from guest instructors. If available, participate in workshops or training camps that will expose you to different styles and instructors. The purpose is not to change styles rather to augment concepts or ways of thinking.

ENJOY the techniques. During one class, we were working on individual kata. After the student performed, I made a comment on a kick. I told the student to enjoy that part of the kata. Take their time and execute the kick. Enjoy it. The student looked at me and then looked at the other Black Belt in the room. Apparently, in class the night before, he said the exact same thing. Do not rush techniques.

ENJOY the role of student. Absorb as much as you can during class. Learn something everyday whether it is in or outside the dojo. Learning is a gift.

ENJOY the process. I believe that kata is the foundation. First, you must learn the patterns and techniques. Next, take the time to explore the kata and learn what the kata is teaching. Work on bunkai with various partners.

ENJOY sparring. I had a tough time with this one. When I was a kyu rank, I did not like to spar. I had some unpleasant experiences sparring such as a black eye, a broken finger and a dislocated shoulder.

ENJOY how it functions. The bottom line is that the techniques must work. It has to be functional such as a punch executed with proper bone alignment, hip rotation, a self-defense move, a bo disarm, a tunfa swing, a sai strike or a joint lock. We must remember that we are learning a combative art.

What do you enjoy most about practicing a martial art?


Ang said...

I agree! I love my Karate classes, when I can go (due to injuries). My fellow karate classmates are a 2nd family to me. Love your blog! Angie

Michelle said...

Thanks for visiting my blog and for the comments. Where are you located? What style? I am currently in Florida but originally from Washington State. Our style is Shindo Jinen Ryu and is an offshoot of Shito Ryu. Are you AAU or USANKF? I am going to USANKF Nationals this month in Houston. Not competing but I will be judging and refing.

My karate-ka are my friends and family. I miss them so much. That is one of the reasons I talked hubby into me going to nationals. I need to socialize.

Thanks again

Michelle said...

So, I jsut glanced through your whole blog.

I agree about the obi. We do not get stripes or have to get a new belt at advancements. My brother ha a few belts. 1 is completely white and the others are just very well worn. My belt is starting to show some wear signs (yeah).

I like the tonfa as well. Our style doe not place much emphasis on weapons. Our instructors thoughts are karate means open hand. We do have some instructors who teach their students weapons and soem students actually do very well at nationals in weapons.

Kids and karate - I agree you can't push them or you push them out the door. My daughter has taken time out for school and other sports and achieved her 2nd kyu last May. When she gets to her first permanent base she will start training again and can't wait to get back in the dojo.

somaserious said...

I enjoy every single thing about karate: the focus, the will-power it takes to push through, the stress it can bring, the comraderie. It's all one package for me. I didn't like sparring as a kyu rank, either. Now that I understand it better I get right in there.

Hack Shaft said...

Wow, you speak of exactly what I was missing in sparring the first go-round (pre-injury). I was too aggressive and NOT enjoying it enough!

Now I come to classes and sparring with that holistic sense of enjoyment, and everything is so much better. I'm very comfortable with sparring now that I arrive in the right frame of mind!

Wei said...

Thanks for visiting my blog! It's great to have more support, especially from people who have experienced a torn ACL. I'm grateful to have gotten back my ROM, but every few days, my knee swells up from over-usage. I'm nervous about the surgery, but I'm more looking forward to being able to do TKD and my sports again.

How many years have you been doing karate?

Michele said...

Ang: Thanks for the comment. I hope your ankle feels better soon.

Michelle: Thanks for the comments. I study Okinawa Kenpo and live in the Northeast. Kobudo is a major part of Okinawa Kenpo. Enjoy Nationals!

Somaserious: I agree. A better understanding of kumite makes it more enjoyable. I like sparring more now that I did pre-ACL surgery. I think it is because I thought I would never spar again.

Hack Shaft: I am glad sparring is so much better for you this time around. Way to go!

Wei: Thanks for visiting my blog. I have been practicing for sixteen years. I am glad that I had the ACL reconstruction. In order to get through the surgery and recovery, I tried to focus on the end result - a strong, stable knee and my return to karate. Good luck!

Davidx said...

What do like? I that for the entire class I can focus on something vastly different from the rest of my life. If my attention wanders, to work, life etc, I get immediate feedback to exist in the moment. I love that the adrenalin I worked up over the day is released in a healthy way. I leave the dojo tired and peaceful. I have almost no aggression left in me. I always joke that after class, not even some crazy person cutting me off in traffic can provoke me. Nothing else I have tried allowed me the focus and release of stress. I do miss it. focus

Michele said...

davidx: I completely agree ..."exist in the moment". When I am in the dojo it is all about the training. When I am having a stressful time, I pack up my bag and head to the Honbu for class. I feel better after the workout.