“I wouldn’t want to meet you in a dark alley.”
“I guess we shouldn’t mess with you then!”
“It’s good you’re here in case we get in a fight…”
If you’re a martial arts student, these statements may sound familiar. As an instructor and community lecturer on combat sports I often also get the question:
“Have you actually had to use karate?”
and the answer is…
“YES. All the time!”
What the person asking the question really wants to know is have I ever had to beat someone up. The truth here is that anytime in my life I have ever had to close my fists in a real situation (which wasn’t often or recently) I feel like I failed in my karate training. I may have won the fight but I lost the chance to intelligently avoid confrontation.
So how is it that I use karate all the time but don’t fight people?
My instructor in Okinawa put it beautifully when he explained that the world is full of beauty and that karate allows us the strength, confidence, and peace of mind to interact with it on a complete level. Why seek out fighting when there is so much more?
PHYSICALLY there are very few more complete workouts than in a proper martial arts program. Take a look at the Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines and karate will give you your weekly dose of strength, flexibility, motor coordination, and cardiovascular training.
However, just important as our physical health is our EMOTIONAL health. Practice allows me to relieve stress and take a vacation from the fevered pace of the current world and focus. You know what I’m not thinking about when I practice karate?…. Anything else!
Martial Arts is also a SPIRITUAL practice for me in that it connects me to ideas beyond the day to day. It has this unique way of keeping me challenged, humbled, and balanced. My practice is at the same time profoundly important and totally insignificant and I’m aware that there’s always someone better and someone worse but for that moment I need to train the person in the mirror.
And finally, one of the biggest joys for me is SOCIALLY. Our dojo attracts and connects me to diverse, strong, like-minded people and together we are changing our community for the better in so many ways.
So, yes, I have REALLY had to use karate and will continue to do so everyday in the pursuit of excellence. I invite you to join me 🙂
Interested in our martial arts programs in Cambridge, Ontario? CLICK HERE…