Sunday, January 30, 2011


I am often amazed at how many things in life can be related back to the philosophy taught in karate. As I have talked about in earlier posts, the style of karate I am studying is called Okinawan Goju Ryu. It is a classic form of karate that involves the body and the mind.

One of the primary katas studied in Goju Ryu is called Sanchin. It can be interpreted as three battles: man against nature, man against man, and man against himself. This kata very much relates to some of the issues I have been dealing with for the last month or so.

In my last couple of posts, I talked about the difficulties I have been having in progressing with my challenge of improving my fitness level and in dealing with life in general. I've had a pretty good case of the winter blahs. Well, I am tired of it. It is time to fight back!

I have been doing a job at work that has called for me to spend quite a few very, very cold hours on the roof of the plant. Today I had to go back out again on a record cold day. I was ready. I donned my new winter boots. The best winter work boots I could find, along with layers of good winter clothing and a really good fur-lined hat. After about an hour, I felt sorry for the people working with me who had to keep running back inside to warm up. I have fought off  the cold. (man against nature)

The people who designed the equipment I have been trying to make run properly did not take into consideration our cold Canadian winter climate. I have been working with a couple of other very capable people at the plant to make alterations to the equipment so it will run properly. We have put in place a procedure that will keep everything working properly until a permanent fix is engineered. (man against man)

This week, I along with Sensei Laurie and a number of other students from Sakura Martial Arts Acadamy attended a Gojo Ryu seminar at East Wind Dojo in Ottawa. Kyoshi Frenette was giving the seminar. Kyoshi Frenette is an 8th dan black belt, the highest ranking Goju Ryu practitioner in Canada. A Goju Ryu karate seminar does not require a notebook, a desk, or even a chair. You work out as hard as you have ever worked out. You learn new techniques and new applications for old ones. You work with a Master. You work alongside other karatica. Your comrades and your friends. The workout was so strenuous, I fought the urge to give in with both my body and mind. (man against himself)

Despite all of this and the fact that I lay here in bed typing on my iPad working on beating back the cold and getting healthy, I will beat back the blues, embrace life again, winter or not, and move ahead.

I will meet my personal challenges and win. I am a warrior! Sanchin.

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