Still Striving to improve myself, one board break at a time

Posts tagged ‘karate’

Decision making

I’ve been thinking…a lot. I’ve been thinking about trying to get back into training, only this time on my own. I know that I can push the envelope and get myself into a reasonable facsimile of a martial artist.

I don’t have a true school to work with anymore. I’ve left one school due to a conflict with an instructor. I left another school due to my own insecurity. For the past two years, I’ve not concentrated on anything. I’ve just existed. I have taken Tai Chi, which I loved, but stopped those lessons in February after having to be out for a week with surgery.

I have a “BOB”. I have a garage to work out in. I just lack the motivation to push myself into working out. I have spoken with a friend of mine, who has warned me that trying to train myself is not always a good thing. He’s also made an offer that I’m mulling over. I can work with him–I’ll have to document ALL of my training and I’ll have to make darned sure that I’m following said training. At least once or twice a month, I’ll have to go to Houston to visit and work with him. I’ve forgotten so much more than I let on that frankly, I’m scared. I’m afraid that I’ll let myself down. I have high expectations for myself. I expect perfection. It’s not a good thing to do, but I am honest about it.

So, I’m mulling over the WHEN of when I’m going to start training. I need to keep up training with Alba. I need to push myself into not being lazy about documenting my food in my journal too. I spend entirely too much time saying “I’ll get around to it” and then that “round to it” never comes. I have to get into the frame of mind of DO IT NOW. Period. End of story.

Alba knows about BOB. We’ve talked about using him. I guess I need to get off my but and make myself do what I want to do. I can come home from work, leave the car in the driveway, move BOB out into the middle of the garage and work on kicks, punches, etc. It’s a matter of WHEN.

I also need to give Sa Bu Nim an answer. He’s patient and isn’t pushing me but…I need to continue to THINK. I need to talk to hubby and see what his opinion is.

I’m torn between being lazy and wanting to push myself back into some semblence of shape. I need to decide how important martial arts is to me. I talk to martial artists on a regular basis. I have acquired a good friend who is willing to go out of his way to help me. I need to help myself first.

The mind is a powerful thing. I need to push mine into submission and meditate on what I really want.

On BECOMING

What makes a black belt? Is it the fabric that just happens to be black or blue? No. It’s a manner of carrying yourself, your comportment. It’s whether you take the time to show a little bit of courtesy to the rest of the people you come into contact with. A black belt is all of these things and more.

A black belt internalizes the teachings of his or her Masters. He or she must learn to give up the ego that plagues most of us. (Having an ego is not necessarily a bad thing, but it does affect your dealings with people.) A black belt truly BECOMES that which he or she embodies.

As a black belt, you represent not only your dojang, but also your history, your founders. You represent yourself as an ambassador. You’re part of a greater whole. It’s a collective. Martial arts has a long history. It’s one that we all represent in many ways. The history of your art, for yes, it IS an art form, is written in the sweat and blood of those who precede you. You may *think* you’re working very hard to earn something, but there are those for whom the challenge has been infinitely harder. The challenge is there for all, but only a few will ever truly embrace being a black belt.

When you test, it’s not just an ending point. It’s a stepping off point, a door is opening to continue to grow and expand. The target, while having been met once, now must be re-met in all that you do. You must decide if you are going to share your knowledge with your fellow students. The Gups will look up to you. Overnight, it seems, your status is changed from being “one of them” to being one of an elite group.

Being a black belt isn’t just “Look! I have a belt!” It’s your actions, ultimately, that define you as a black belt. If you take the time to help out in class, to lead warm ups, for example, you’re embodying what those who have come before you have taught you. If you step up and demonstrate a form or technique incorrectly, you must take the critique of that form or technique. You can’t expect to do something incorrectly and not have people notice. You actually have a spotlight on you, almost as if “black belt” is tattooed to your forehead.

Being a black belt is a mental thing. Any person can have a black belt. Some people truly LIVE as black belts. There is a difference. Those who just have the belt are more likely to be the swaggering type. The people I have met, as an example, embody the spirit of black belt. In my dojang, the people who I train with are working towards improvement daily. They are willing to answer questions and never treat you like you’re asking “stupid” questions. When I came into this dojang, I came in with the idea that I was going to advance my ranks on the same “schedule” that I had been on at my old school. What I had not counted on was the fact that I have to learn to become a black belt. I may have the belt, yes, but it means nothing if I don’t understand WHY I have the belt. It’s not all about the training. The training goes beyond the physical in the dojang (Funakoshi #8–“Do not think that your karate training happens only in the dojang.”)

The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. I’m taking that step. I want to learn, therefore, I attend classes (intermittently, but that *will* change!). I have found my niche. There is another saying that bears repeating…that is, “When the student is ready, the teacher will come.”

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