What’s Your Typhoon?

history_of_karate_karate_masters_c1930s“During one particular typhoon that I remember, all the people of Shuri huddled together within their homes, praying for the typhoon to pass without wreaking any great damage. No, I was wrong when I said all the people of Shuri huddled at home: there was one young man, up on the roof of his house in Yamakawa-cho, who was determinedly battling the  typhoon.

“Now the young man on the roof assumed a low posture, holding the straw mat aloft against the raging wind. The stance he took was most impressive, for he stood as if astride a horse. Indeed, anyone who knew karate could readily have seen that the youth was taking the horse-riding stance, the most stable of all karate stances, and that he was making use of the howling typhoon to refine his technique and to further strengthen both body and mind. The wind struck the mat and the youth with full force, but he stood his ground and did not flinch.”      By Yukio Togawa, form “My Way of Life”, Gichin Funakoshi

 The part of this quote from Funakoshi’s book that stood out to me is this: “…he was making use of the howling typhoon to refine his technique and to further strengthen both body and mind.”

Pondering that, I’ve asked a simple question of myself, and I’ll ask the same of you. If Funakoshi Sensei can train in the heart of an Okinawan typhoon to strengthen his Karate and his body and mind, can we not take a closer look at what is keeping us from getting better?

This winter has been long and harsh, even draining during some stretches, and it alone has given us plenty of ‘reasons’ to stay away from the Dojo. Not to mention the injuries people have suffered due to the relentless snow shoveling and slips and falls on icy driveways and parking lots. Busy schedules, time restraints and deadlines, other commitments and just plain workday exhaustion are also ever prevalent in our lives – all of which can keep us from training.

Having said that, Sensei Lee often reiterates that one thing is for certain: the Karate diehards who come to the Dojo feel better leaving than when they arrive, and that when karate becomes a lifestyle it is no longer an effort.

We currently have one Senpai in the Dojo who has an upper body injury that makes him cringe every time he does certain movements, but he’s still in the Dojo training, and thanks to his resolve to train, not only is he is getting better, but so am I.

Life can make it hard to train, but stay rooted, hold your ground…you’ll be glad you did.