After my very first demonstration, Sensei Don went into one of his numerous inspiring conversations. It made me begin to think and wonder, “how DO I study karate? Don’t I just show up for class?” I asked the question and his answer was basically “get your hands on anything you can about karate. Practice at every moment possible. Analyze kata, not just perform the moves. Ask “why?” a lot and trying to find the answers.” I still remember my reply, “So I marry karate?”
Basically, yes, that’s what it is. It’s my other life long partner. I think of it often even during work, or while cooking. I practice patience and looking at every task I do as a learning experience; what is different about the task, how can I make it better? This marriage has improved relationships, broadened my understandings, developed my character; it has given me opportunities. I must devote time and attention to it or it will wither. It is demanding and I give in to all its demands. I read to understand the basis and basics of karate-do. Funny, I don’t get my family or women’s magazines anymore. All I want is to read my Black Belt magazine. It’s awesome! I devour it within a few days.
There was no ceremony for this marriage, no dress, no guests. But there were plans. Plans I didn’t even know about! It just happened. I thought all I had to do is go to class. But I learned I had to work hard. I’d use class time well, practiced w/ focus and took in all I could from my higher ranks. It was my “balance”. I’d practice 5 days and hated missing class. Not only did it provide excellent exercise, it mentally challenged me. I needed to see things with a different perspective. I needed to slow myself down. I needed some humility, learned understanding, acceptance, I needed to breakdown moves and see all the steps in between; not just the beginning and end.
The changes I’ve seen in myself are positive and helpful. I have a sense of excitement when I wonder what my future will bring. This marriage has proven it is just as important as my real one, and I can’t imagine my life without it.
– Laura Grant