Karate and the Journey of Life
I have been, I think, very fortunate looking back on just how my life and times have been influenced by my life-long journey with studying Shotokan Karate Do. I suppose, if you have not been involved in this journey, it must be seriously strange and to why some people are so preoccupied and motivated as to just why they commit so much, and dare I say, they sacrifice so much to be able to get to the dojo and train.
Over lockdown and insomnia, I have had so much time to reflect and ponder on these questions, and what conclusions have I drawn?
Well, my views are, if honest, maybe controversial and I apologise if they cause any offence, but they are genuine and they are real, so here goes.
For myself, it has been a vocational journey and I reflect on people who I know. It might be a hard concept to understand, but I will give it my best shot. The truth is that for me, Karate has never been a sport or indeed a hobby or a pastime. It has been so much more than that. Not unlike a person who commits to the church as either a priest or a nun, they sacrifice everything for their pursuit of the vocation that they have. I have felt that same sense of passion. This has seen me missing flights, being late, and generally overcoming some occasional sacrifices but it was always worth it.
Every time I was late, or tired, I simply ignored the repercussions and just threw myself into the training, which by the way was super hard... No prisoners taken, nor expected...
As the amazing former legend Bill Shankly famously said about football, it is far more than that. Indeed, this is what he said and in many ways, it embodies my own passion for Shotokan, and of course, I’ve always been a massive football fan, always have and always will be.
So, what did the great man say? He said: "Some people believe that football is a matter of life and death. I am very disappointed with that attitude. I can assure that it is much, much, more important than that."
And yes, sorry to say, I really can understand and empathise with the great man's comments. When I think back on a journey that started way back in 1972, when I started fencing and judo, and then started training in Karate in 1974, I am still here, that is a long time and I am so grateful that it has been my constant partner in my life. No matter what has happened to me in my professional and private life, it has not mattered, I have simply made sure that I can turn up and train. Looking back it meant on occasions being selfish and tough, and may have been a negative.
But, and this is the real point after everything I am still here and every day I count my blessings, and at the age of 60, I am probably more in love with Karate than ever before. It has been my anchor, and my companion and I will never after all these years ever be able to give it up, and in truth no matter what happens I never want to.
Oss, my dear friends, and please feel free to let me know what you think, and how your journey has been.
All the best,