It’s a good question right? Why take up Karate?
So for example. In Karate you have Kata. Kata are set ‘Patterns’ consisting of particular Karate techniques, Blocks, Punches, Kicks, it’s all there. Some Kata are more complex than others and are all studied according to a syllabus. So here’s the thing…if a Kata is made up of Karate techniques then you have to learn the Techniques! So normally there’s a syllabus that has a bunch of techniques that you should learn in a specific order. Get this…. the first Kata (Heian Shodan) has 21 steps each one a particular Karate Technique (there’s 5 in this Kata) all performed in a particular stance (that’s to do with your Legs, don’t do Leg day? No need now!) So a quick recap…Shotokan Karate Kata there are around 26 of them. The first one… what’s it called? (see, you’re already learning Karate style)…yeah that’s right Heian Shodan and it has 21 steps and 5 techniques in two different stances. To get your 9th Kyu Belt (that’s Orange and pretty much the first one as an Adult or Teen) you have to get this Kata Down. Not perfect but to kind of resemble the correct thing, and not do a Johnny English (never mind if you haven’t seen the film). To get your Black belt you’re going to need at least 7 of these bad boys (Kata). The last Kata you’ll need for Black Belt has 53 moves!
So it’s big right? No it’s Mahusive! (that’s like bigger than massive). Why on earth would you not just go and run to get fit, you’ve been doing that for a long time now, well walking anyway, running is just a fast walk isn’t it?
Karate is more than just exercise, it’s an Art. Or it’s just exercise! In actual fact it’s both and it’s value is with the beholder. Karate is a system of physical things that permeate into the very spirit of the participant. So it has to be big, deep and very difficult but something that is very easy to begin. Believe me the hardest part of Karate is walking into the Dojo for the first time (Dojo is the place that you train). Any Instructor worth his salt will give you a road map to your accomplishment in Karate and carefully nurture you through the stages of your development as a Karate-ka (that’s a Karate practitioner).
So as an Adult why take up this massive venture that has more levels to accomplish than an Onion has layers of skin?
Well as someone who has benefitted from a Karate life I’ll tell you what I think. It’s my Blog I can do that! Karate is Deep and very very interesting, it has a history and a cultural origin (that’s Japan, Karate is from Japan). You got to the Gym, you work out, that’s all good and you get fitter, nothing wrong with that. But…..and it’s a big but, you take up Karate and apart from your friends now going “Wooo you do Karate now, that’s cool I won’t upset you again…” you can take it home with you, or leave it in the Dojo. You can make a study of the history and practice just about anywhere (not in public until you get good). Karate offers a way to really relax, it’s a moving meditation. I guarantee that in the Dojo you won’t be thinking of your work, your debts, your Mortgage or any other annoying stuff that gets you down. Physically your body will change almost immediately (it will get sweaty and your feet will get dirty). You will gain some control over your focus and other aspects of your being.
You see it doesn’t matter how fit you are everyone can make a start. It’s not just for the young a more mature mind can really get what goes on when we train. Gender does not matter, Karate is for all.
It’s not easy and it takes a long time to learn but having said that from your first lesson you will take something useful away with you. Something that you can apply in your everyday life. I’m not going to tell you here what that is, you’re going to have to come along and try it first!
See you in the Dojo!