I began karate as an adult in March of 1999, and loved karate training from day one. Like me, adult students appreciate a lot about being active in a dojo. Now I am a co-head-instructor at our medium-sized, traditional Okinawan dojo. My title is Renshi, and so is my husband’s. With that title we are also in leadership positions in the international United Ryukyu Kempo Alliance.
Karateka means karate practitioner. Despite my advancement over the years, the things that I love about being a karateka now are mostly the same as the things I loved about it as a beginner. Traditional Okinawan karate is a timeless art that helps the practitioner improve their self and their life. Here are my five favorite things about karate training:
1) KARATE TRAINING PROVIDES A HIGH-AIMING NETWORK
I love being around people who are learning and striving. What do we strive to do in karate training? At the very least, we strive to learn new skills and knowledge. And our higher-ranks expect us to put those to use in representing the Dojo Kun’s values. When the people around us want to learn and work hard to improve their lives and themselves, this attitude bolsters us up to strive even more.
2) KARATE TRAINING IS FUN EXERCISE
After a couple years of karate training at our dojo, I decided to try a kickboxing class for the first time. In the middle of class, while executing punch number 32 out of 50, I realized, this is tedious. Karate is not like this. Karate is fun. I don’t want to knock kickboxing. I understand it’s having a resurgence, and it’s good exercise.
But personally, I prefer the more comprehensive focus of karate. We punch in order to strengthen the form of the punch and the technique. We also focus on improving targeting, distancing, speed and timing on a variety of targets and partners. I prefer how we punch in class to safely practice its practical application. Plus I like learning traditional Okinawan culture as it applies to a fist, or rolling hand. The story of the angry samurai is just one example. One thing I love about karate training is I get more fit. And that’s usually without even thinking about getting a workout.
3) KARATE TRAINING PROVIDES A SUPPORTIVE NETWORK
Karate training brings together people who are investing in themselves and/or their children. They invest to become stronger, faster, smarter and more skilled in life protection. That is how a dojo family is formed. Non-training parents support and encourage the adult students as well as all the karate kids. Adult students return the favor when they are off the mat. Students and their families work together to help their dojo. And their dojo provides them with many opportunities of learning and growth.
4) KARATE TRAINING INCLUDES CARING MENTORS
Over the years, my senseis – my direct higher-ups – have provided me with much support. They have an ongoing general attitude of encouragement. At times I have sought and been provided much support from their years of expertise as martial arts professionals. Other higher ranks have also supported me as a practitioner and as a dojo owner. We all have the common goals of one, helping each individual to be their best, two, helping each dojo succeed, and three, representing and promoting traditional karate in the world.
5) KARATE TRAINING IS SUPPORT FOR A POSITIVE ATTITUDE
Karate training brings together groups of people who exercise, relieve stress, and focus on perseverance, respect and self-control. And so it naturally draws and builds positive attitudes. We enjoy the positive energy of the dojo. And we contribute to it with our own positive attitudes. It sometimes takes shaping and encouragement from the core instructors. But our conscientious promotion and modeling of a positive attitude changes lives. (The life you change may be your own.)