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Home > Shotokan Karate > Celebrating 20 years of shotokan karate.

Celebrating 20 years of shotokan karate.

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gyaky tsuki

Need a good camera :)


This is a brief retrospective post on 20 years of karate practice. The benefits, the experience, the fun, and… some of the pain :)

I started karate in the United States in September 1989. How time flies! In those first two years, I had the priviledge to train in the same dojo as Mike Chaturantabut (Mike Chat), who since went on to an actual career in action cinema and won several world titles. We were following Sensei John Sharkey’s expert teachings.

I continued training in France from 1991 to this day, and currently attend the SIK (Sporting International Karate) since 2003, run by Serge Chouraqi, 8th dan, former trainer of the French female kata team.  Many great competitors have trained here (Michael Millon, Gilles Cherdieu, David Felix, Myriam Szkudlarek and Marc Pyrée, just to name some of those that won world titles).

My personal competitive achievements are infinitely more modest: just a few regional level podiums before my weight problem kicked in (hence the weight loss section covering how I got over that).


The Benefits.


I was 14 when I started. When I sparred, I would turn away and duck each time an opponent would manifest the slightest intention of getting remotely close.  I couldn’t help that. I was programmed to flee, not fight.

I do not do that anymore. Karate teaches you to face a situation that could possibly hurt you, instead of turning your back on it (in which case it is 100% sure to hurt you one way or another.)

I’ve met and learned from countless great individuals. Not only from the great competitors, but from all of those that simply strived to get better each day, and rubbed off on me just a little bit in the process.

There were years during which I lost my grip (the weight gain was only one visible aspect of this). The motivation to set things straight definitely had something to do with both the training goals, and the people with whom I strove to accomplish them.


The Fun.


There’s nothing like getting better. Especially when it is a shared collective experience. I’ve been in teams, on a few podiums, and in thousands of training sessions, hoping to experience that flow that sometimes enabled me to… almost fly. At least it is the way it felt.


The Pain.


Well, there has to be some right? A broken foot, a broken tooth, several jammed fingers, and countless hours of gasping for air… But it was all worth it!




Try a competitive sport. Find one you like and stick to it. You don’t need to be a world champion to get enormous benefits over time.

That applies even if you think you are too old, too heavy, too light, or don’t have enough time. Even if you are swamped, your training will call you until you finally decide to make time for it again. And when you decide, you find the time!

Obviously shotokan has been a big part of my personal development. It works in conjunction with other things, and writing this blog will help me streamline it, track my progress, stay focused, and share the experiments to help readers.

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Categories: Shotokan Karate Tags: fun, karate, shotokan, Strength
  1. September 10th, 2009 at 09:53 | #1

    Awesome. I also do martial arts (I do sanda). Congratulations for your 20 years celebrations.

  2. September 10th, 2009 at 09:56 | #2

    Thanks Oscar! No merit there, time passes whether you like it to or not :)

  3. September 10th, 2009 at 15:39 | #3

    Very nice! Twenty years of experience. Wow. I’m sure you took some time off there (everyone does), but that is still very impressive.

    I don’t do anything physical besides walking in the morning and the occasional push-ups which I am now able to do. I should find a sport before I become old and fat. Preferably something I don’t have to take lessons for.

  4. September 11th, 2009 at 01:49 | #4

    Hi Richard,

    There were definitely better years than others! Sometimes work made it very hard to attend as much as I would have liked. This is one of the problems that eventually drove me to start this website.

    Sports that require lessons have technical bagage to learn (martial arts, tennis, golf…). There are other options, like team sports. The key is to find something you enjoy and can stick to for a long time.

    Competing is a great way to challenge yourself to do better!

    Thanks for stopping by!

  5. September 11th, 2009 at 15:41 | #5

    Hey Charles,

    I’m an avid martial art fans. Always wanted to try Karate but didn’t really get the chance. I did however practice Taekwondo for 2 years. And Silat Gayung. From my personal experience, silat is way tougher to practice than Taekwondo. I left when I moved house. Was young back then. Time sure flies. Keep it up.

    Btw, i sent you an email :)

  6. September 11th, 2009 at 16:06 | #6

    Hi Karlil,

    Thanks for sharing your experience! I saw your email too and just wrote back. I’ll give that some thought right now it tied knots in my brain :D

  7. September 24th, 2009 at 07:15 | #7

    Fantastic! I do Goju-ryu karate and am one belt away from my black belt. The benefits are most wonderful indeed!
    Barbara Ling, Virtual Coach´s last blog ..INSANE discount for Book II of Income Fitness- Easy Free Local High SEO! My ComLuv Profile

  1. September 10th, 2009 at 04:49 | #1
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