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2018: A New Year, A New Dojo And An Old Tradition

Well, along with the rest of the world, I welcomed in the new year at midnight where I upheld a long tradition in our family where I stepped outside at one minute to midnight, and on the witching hour as the fireworks announced the start of a new year, I knocked on the door holding a piece of coal and a slice of bread where the door was opened and I was given three shiny pound coins.

This tradition is old and is known as the first footing. The custom required a dark-haired person to bring good fortune by seeing out the previous year and bringing in the essentials for the year ahead. So, coal to ensure that the home is warm, bread symbolizing food, and in some cases, money to ensure that the year ahead will be a good one financially.

A sign of the times, I suppose, is that ironically I could not get my hands on any coal, as there are no coal mines left, and heat and power are supplied by a Bosch boiler. Shiny new coins were accessible but with Bitcoin around the corner, next year will probably an app-based funds transfer.

Either way, not a problem. Whatever it takes, I will keep the tradition alive, even though times and technology change. And ironically enough, it is the same in the dojo, even though over time the faces change of those who wear the gi of the Karateka. The strong tradition of maintaining maximum effort when training be it in kihon, kata, or kumite continues regardless.

Even more importantly, what really matters is that the effort and sincerity of the training is carried forward as was taught to them by the previous generation. This is,, I believe, a very important legacy and as the Enso dojo counts down to opening, I am really looking forward to the next stage of the Karate journey.

Time will tell if it will work or not, but the simple truth is that it is better to have tried and failed than to never have tried at all. Come to think of it that is another family tradition that needs to be maintained.


Sensei Austin

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