Sunday, March 29, 2009

Look Like You


When I was a kyu rank, my class instructor was talking to me about roundhouse kicks. He said "Your husband is good at roundhouse kicks...so I guess you are too." I still wonder why he thought there would be a correlation between my husbands kicks and my own. My husband's best kicks are the hook kick and the roundhouse kick while mine is the heel kick to the chin.

Every body is different. We all bring with us unique physical attributes. I am 5' 7" with a reconstructed ACL, two shoulders and a hip that occasionally pop out of joint, and double-jointed elbows. My husband is 5' 8" with a repaired knee, shoulder, thumb, ulnar nerve transposition, cervical fusion in the neck and back problems. This changes over time due to injury, recovery and aging. In addition to our physical attributes, we all bring a set of experiences, goals and beliefs to our training.

Students often express "I want to look like X" or "Why don't I look like X"? My response is always the same. I tell the student that "You should look like you." This is one of the beautiful things about martial arts. Okinawa Kenpo is a traditional martial art. We strive to keep the kata the same. I teach the form as I was taught it by my instructor. However, each practitioner should strive to make the kata their own.

We were working on the kata Gojushiho Ni in class. In the one sequence, the right hand executes a mid-level outside block, left hand posts at the mid fore arm of the right hand, right hand re-establishes under left, then move into the throw. There were two black belts in the class. A student asked me to go over that move because the black belts did not look the same. The other black belt and I review the technique and yes, we were doing the move the same. Why did we look different? It was due to the bunkai. We each were throwing our opponent but he was using an arm lock while I was throwing at the elbow. Our bunkai manifested itself in our kata. Our technique was the same but our interpretation was different.

As we navigate through our martial arts journey, it is important to remember to be true to ourselves. It is not necessary to look like someone else. Do the kata to the best of your ability. Don't compare yourself to others.

Look like you.

5 comments:

Mr. White Tiger said...

I totally agree...great post!

Martial Arts Mom said...

I try not to compare myself to others as I seem to pale in comparison - except for in spirit...I can stand up to anyone in spirit! : )

SueC said...

Yeah I agree, though personally I'm still trying to discover who I am in martial arts terms and what kind of martial artist I'm ultimately capable of being. So what I'm saying is that I'm not yet happy with looking the way I look (as a karateka) because I'm hoping to improve, but I'm already accepting that I'm not going to look exactly how I would like to because of my own physical limitations and age. Hopefully though I will eventually be satisfied!

Michele said...

Mr. White Tiger: Thanks for visiting!

MAM: Great attitude!

SueC: Good points. I find that who I am as a martial artist is constantly evolving.

Manuel Rodríguez said...

Your post sounds very inspiring to me.

I'm a 35 yeard old spaniard guy. I'm taking classes of chi kung for about a year. But recently I've discovered traditional karate and kobudo and I really loved it. My problem is that I have a serious injure in my neck and after try a lot of things I have to had a surgery, an anterior cervical fusion C2 C4. I have limited range of motion and still have aches but the surgery was a success.
I'm trying to don't give up and adapt some movements for my personal body but some things are rough with the fusion and at the moment I don't tried to do much contact.
In the other hand, I'm in good shape and I can't do lot of things very well except fast neck movements.
Karate is amazing and I want to could improve in any way...

Any thoughts?

Kind regards,

Manuel

Pd: Sorry for my english, is not easy for me :D