Why I study Chito-Ryu karate – Part 2.

by on 29 June 2012

The week just passed was a hard week.

Progressively feeling really #@*&  as each day of the week followed with a head cold starting to become a chest cold that really affected me. Each class was harder. To the extent that Thursday’s mid-morning class was a real trial to participate and the end result was I dislocated my big toe (I thought I’d just hyper extended it but it went back into place later after a bit of manipulation and ice – and instant pain relief). Of course if I’d done the injury kicking the bag or a strike shield, I could hold my head high and point to great energy ( and maybe poor form ) but no , I did it sort of running/twisting…how embarrassment !!

All good, kata training this afternoon and tomorrow morning (I will definitely need coffee between Shihohai and Ne Sheisi Dai tomorrow), not too much running needed.

I’m definitely on a plateau of development at the moment. Step forward followed by a step or two back. Just as I think I’ve found something, whether it be as simple as the correct feel and form for Seisan Dachi, it slips away again.

A visit to my room of mirrors (no I don’t actually have a room of mirrors – not a mental image of me I’d want to share) and confront the reasons for my lack of confidence. Confidence is after all simply an ability to demonstrate an action, correctly, repeatedly and accurately.  The self-doubt I talked about in the previous entry is simply a lack of confidence.  The tasks I set myself and that are set for me, I am not executing well. So I am not confident. I am not relaxed. I am not finding that soft space that I feel is needed to really get this to work.  The paradox is that you need to be relaxed to really undertake the tasks well and to relax you need to be able to undertake the tasks.  I may be close to executing them well enough for my Kyu and experience, but relative to the standard required, not well.  The options are to spend a lot of time and energy practising or to spend the same amount of time and energy practising well. The latter requires gaining a solid understanding of that I’m trying to do. I think this is why I lean so much on Sensei Sandra and Martin at this time in my journey. It’s all too new and I don’t have a natural or historical understanding of the art. The only way to learn more is to ask more and try more and research more. Fortunately at my time in life, I have the time and energy to do this. I have an incredibly supportive wife and a son to share the moments with. Mel finds it interesting that I now spend as much time reading/googling/training on karate as I do with sailing…and that’s a lot !!

Being satisfied is dangerous. Being content is a different thing all together. Based on that, of course I’m doubting my place in the Queensland Team (does everyone’s team uniform order sheet also have a box to tick for 1 x red nose and wig and 1 x set long yellow shoes!! – or just mine?).  However I am also looking forward to the challenge. There is opportunity here. Not only in a personal sense but also for Luc and Melanie  ( Luc and I are close to getting her into the Dojo – we think ).

This is an interesting path that Sensei Martin and Sensei Sandra have set me on.  I remember the day in April last, Sensei Martin coming out to the ‘chairs’ outside whilst I was watching one of Luc’s classes. “ I have a little challenge for you” he said as he handed me the entry form for the Queensland Championship tournament in May.  I learned early in the Dojo that our Sensei’s always have a plan, there is always a lesson embedded in the class or conversation.  Always!

I’m not sure I have grasped the lesson or plan as yet but I think there is light at the end of the tunnel in that sense. As far as the self-doubt and lack of confidence goes. There is no other path to follow other than to just keep peeling away the layers of the procedure. But I need to be smart about it and really try and find the ground – not to lose the focus on the basics.  I know from my other sport, it can change (confidence) quickly.  A small change to the dynamic may cause a large shift in confidence.

To that end I thoroughly enjoy the tournament.  Tournaments certainly make you see where you are at. The comparison and critique is immediate. Tournaments test your confidence. Tournaments give you the opportunity to see how other people cope and execute. The atmosphere is tangible. To have to perform, whether it be kata or spar in kumite, in front of an audience, especially an audience that you do not recognise, is quite confronting. I have certainly experienced performance anxiety ( and I’ve only done kata as yet. Kumite in the future will be fun ? Confidence thing is the key here. I watched some really inspiring performances at the last Gold Coast event. Aidan, Duncan, Sensei Helen, Tash from the GC Dojo and a host of others.  My son Luc was awesome in his first kumite tournament. I loved the way he just kept getting in there.

The selection in the team It certainly has changed my focus. It has changed the amount of time that I spend contemplating Karate and the amount of time I spend working at it. Luc and I now have a training room at home. We share that with Mabel the Big Fat Dog who seems to think that the middle of a kata is right time to bark furiously at us (or is she laughing).

{ 1 comment }

Martin Phillips July 3, 2012 at 11:50 am

Hey Rod,

Lots of good stuff in there. As I always say, the journey to black belt is never a straight line. There are ups and down, sometimes you feel like you are progressing, sometimes you feel like you are going backwards. But, by hooking into the dojo community and having a good home support network like you do, it’s easier to get through the challenges.

And as for having a plan or an embedded lesson in every class or conversation…. I think you might be onto something 😉

Maybe you can add a few photos of your home dojo (& Mabel) in the next installment. Keep up the great work Rod. Looking forward to the next one. And also looking forward to seeing Mel in the dojo soon too.

And I hear we have another guest contributor with a new post coming soon. It would be great if we could get a few more of our amazing members sharing their stories and learnings.

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