Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Brown Belt Grading

I MADE  IT! I am now another step closer to making my of goal of getting to my black belt level in karate by the time I turn 60. I'll be 58 this year. I had to dig very deep for this one. I just ran the Ottawa Marathon the week before and that really took its toll. But I wanted this badly, so here we are. I am exhausted but feeling rather pleased with myself over what I have managed to accomplish over the last couple of weeks and of how far I have come over the last few years.
I went into this grading knowing I am still suffering from a bad arm injury, a pretty good case of  plantar fasciitis and just plain tired from the marathon run. I felt a bit apprehensive stepping into the dojo to start my warm-up stretches. There standing waiting for us was my Sensei, and all but one of the black belts from our dojo. They were clearly going over the plans for the evening.

A grading is suppose to be a challenge. You have to put yourself out there and demonstrate to Sensei and all of the Senpai that you are willing to do just that. In the last few years I have learned what it is to rise to a challenge and just how rewarding it can be to make that challenge. Although I have to admit, I do sometimes have a tendency to go a little overboard and push myself maybe a bit too hard. Sensei knows this about me and approached me as soon as she had finished up with the black belts to remind me not to push through injury. She wants me back, not hurt. This immediately put my mind at ease. She knows what I am capable of and she also know that I am not 100%. So, ready or not, here we go!

The workout was tough. It wasn’t 5 minutes before the sweat was running down my back. I did the very best I could do during the workout. I was reminded a number of times by Sensei to be careful. I have to say I needed this. I absolutely LOVE a good workout. If I am not soaking wet with sweat at the end of a workout, what’s the point??

Next came kata demonstrations. This I did find frustrating. I work very hard at my katas. Tonight, I struggled badly with my balance. All the injuries kept throwing off my balance and forced me to dial down the power.

I like to imagine an opponent coming at me with everything he has, intent on finishing me as quickly as possible. But instead, I will deflect his fast but clumsy attack and then I treat him to a crushing elbow strike, a punch that will flatten him to the ground and a kick that will send him into next week! And on top of that, I will accompany some of these blows with a kiai that comes from my deepest warrior soul. 

This all looks a bit on the bloodthirsty side when I sit here looking at it in print, but it is just using the imagination after all. So not being able to do this with the power and precision I want can be a bit disappointing.

Well I got through my katas and received some corrections and tips from Sensei and the Senpai. I do like this. Katas are such an essential part of karate. This is where everything comes from. Learn your katas well and when or if you have to actually apply what you have learned to protect yourself and/or those around you, you will do it without thinking. You will just do it.
The details that go into a kata are mind boggling. I truly feel if I am not getting corrections or pointers, something else must be wrong. You can never learn too much about even the most basic of moves. And there is a reason for that but we can discuss that another time.

Anyway, here I sit, tired, stiff, a bit sore but happy! I am a runner and a karateka. “Only those who are willing to risk going too far can possibly find out how far they can go.” T. S. Eliot.

Thank you Sensei.

No comments:

Post a Comment