Celebrating 20 years of shotokan karate.
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).
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.
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.
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.
Keep in touch!
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