Karate: ‘Always On My Mind’

The headlines last week contained an interesting caption: Willie Nelson gets 5th degree black belt for 81st birthday. I’m not sure what ‘style’ of Karate the Redheaded Stranger does, or how adept he is at it, but I do find it impressive and encouraging that at age 81 he is still training. I guess it is in line with what Kenwa Mabuni Sensei said: “Karate-Do is a lifetime study.”

In one article Willie’s Dr. said that he had absolutely no doubt that karate was a significant part of the reason that Willie is still so active and so well.

resize“It’s just good for you physically, for your lungs.  The more you’re breathing, exercising, the better you’re going to feel. I’m pretty healthy at 81. I think a lot of it has to do with the exercise that you do. I think martial arts is one of the best exercises you can do. Mentally, spiritually, physically, everything. I’m sure that’s helped.” Willie Nelson

I was in the Dojo last night doing basics up and down the floor, sweating profusely, knees hurting, when I caught myself thinking. ‘I can’t be too hard on myself – after all, I am 42 years old!’ I quickly banished the thought because I knew it was a scapegoat. Karate isn’t age-dependent. In fact, mastery of my art usually comes much later in life. You don’t water your karate down because of age; you simply push yourself according to your physical ability – without cheating yourself.

Simply put, you’re never too young to start, you’re never too old to start, but you’re always  too young to quit.

Oss, Willie… All the best…