I know a young woman who received a life-changing gift on her birthday many years ago.  It was her husband’s gift of karate lessons for both of them to take together.

They loved traditional karate from the start.  The teacher’s contagious positive attitude and mutual respect flowed throughout the school.  Karate provided a fun path to fitness and through the practices the woman gained confidence she’d never dreamed of.  She learned goal-setting and found life goals to follow, both in the martial arts and apart from it.  (If you haven’t worked toward a goal, you’ve got to try it!)

The couple devoted several days a week to working alongside others who strove to improve their own life defense skills, sincerity, perseverance, character and respect.  Karate expanded past those classes, it became their way of life.  It helped the woman learn more about her true self every day.  To this day, karate’s spirituality, magic and divinity are apparent to this woman and to others who look at the details of the mundane activities with patience and an open mind.

Their teacher put the couple in charge of the karate program when he moved on, and they put their passion and spirit into the school.  Now the couple passes the gift on to their students of all ages, from all walks of life.  This woman appreciates, every day, the gifts she has received (whether generously given, or obtained with much hard work) through traditional karate.  She learned that what you put into an activity, a relationship, or a job, has a lot to do with what you get out of it.  She also realized the importance of recognizing blessings and gifts with gratitude.

By the way, that woman is me.  (By Jenifer Tull-Gauger Shihan)

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