Years ago, after a hiatus form Karate, I put on some gym shorts and a tee shirt and went down to my rec room. I didn’t bother to google the Heian Katas or the grading sequences – I just stood in a natural stance, put one fist out, one back, and did a few slow punches.
And, to my amazement, thoughts came back like rainfall into a stream after a long drought. ‘Keep your elbows in; get good rotation on your fist; punch from the hip; eyes forward; posture correct.’
I was doing karate again.
After a few weeks of this I decided it was time to get over myself (and the excuses in my head) and get back in the Dojo.
The next week I was going up and down the floor with some old Dojomates and wondering why I had waited so long to go back. The bad knee that I thought would sideline me was hurting but became part of my training; yes, I was out of shape, but sitting at home wouldn’t help that; nope, I couldn’t remember even the Heian katas but it sure felt good to go through them again; reservations about feeling out of place disappeared the second I walked in – the dojo judges no one.
By the end of the first class I had a good sweat going and a clear mind.
While not training, what I had missed out on was a place where there is no unhealthy competition, no feelings of trying to be better than someone else. The dojo is a place where you work at becoming better than your current self: gaining a clearer mind and a stronger body along the way.
Karate is good medicine – no negative side effects.