New Year, New Beginning

I’ve finally managed to find a few moments to get some much needed writing down on my blog.  I hope everybody had a great Christmas (if you celebrate it) and New year.  It’s been 6 weeks of major changes personally for myself.  Early December saw me hit the big 30 and since then everything seems to have changed.  They say life begins at 30 and if that saying was written for anybody it seems quite fitting when I look at my own life.

I only mention this as I feel it has a link to my karate (so bear with me!)

Without getting too detailed I made a big decision which in essence has cost me what I consider to be my best friend.  I had a choice to make and that was to either continue existing in a relationship that was just comfortable or dare to dream that there was something more out there waiting for me.  In short this decision would take me out of my comfort zone and lead me in to an insecurity of the unknown, some may say exciting, but nevertheless scary.  This decision was so hard to make, I wanted to have my cake and eat it.  To have somebody in my life that I loved, but in the capacity of a friend and I knew that I couldn’t have both.  Either way, I took the plunge and made myself vulnerable. Now call it coincidence, luck, fate or whatever but I now find myself in a position with so many opportunities opening up.  I feel for the first time in a long time a sense of purpose of what I want to achieve, more importantly a plan and support to achieve my goals.  I’m not looking back and continue to ask myself how is this possible?  Is it luck?  And then I realise, it’s not luck, it’s because of me.  It’s  because I made a choice to be brave and to trust my instincts. So what has this got to do with karate?   Well it has got me thinking about my karate training as a whole.  If I can reap benefits by pushing to better myself in one aspect then why am I not following this through with my karate?  Sure I’ve done it to a certain degree, but if I take a step back and ask myself honestly now if I am pushing myself out of my comfort zone with new combinations then I don’t think I can answer that with a positive yes.  I always give my all when training, pushing my fitness levels and heart rate to its’ limit, that for me has never been in question, moreover it is during times that I face up to a partner for Kumite.  Deep down I feel as though I confine myself to an (albeit large) artillery of attacks, they nevertheless remain the same.  It’s time for me to try new things and to add new tools to the shed.  Attacks I’d never have dreamed about previously, reverse ashi barai for example after let’s say a mawashi geri.  It might work, it might not, it might have potential and I’ll practise it some more.  I could fall over flat on my backside but so what? I ask myself,

“What am I going to lose, my pride?”

Not possible as my training is to develop me, not impress someone else.

“My ego?”

I can’t lose what I don’t have, even if I did have one Sensei would tell me to leave it outside the dojo anyway. If we don’t put ourselves in the vulnerable position to find out then we’ll never know.  In years to come I’ll end up regretting it and I don’t want to live a life filled with regrets and what ifs.

My karate new year’s resolution?  To try at least one audacious new combination when given the opportunity during jiyu kumite.  I’d like to hear some of your resolutions.  Knowledge is power, let’s get learning!

A journey starts with a single step

When I sit here trying to think of an interesting way to start a blog for this site it is very difficult.  The fact of the matter is that the personal blog aspects that WordPress utilize for people to show their creativity were in fact, not the purpose of what this WordPress set out to achieve.

Putting together this site (albeit it very new and a working project) was for me to try and create a complete reference guide for Shotokan karate, a complete reference utilising every part of what it had to offer using personal pictures and sourced videos and texts from across the entire web.  I wanted something that anybody from beginner to black belt could look up on the site and go right! I understand now and it makes sense.

The fact of the matter is trying to source information and the ability to film your own can be tricky.  If it’s sourced then are their copyright implications?  Are these offset with disclaimers and credits to the correct people? I don’t know.  When recording my own material with the equipment i have to hand ,does it make for good enough demonstration to be of benefit to you the viewer compared with other “multi camera” sequences that can be found?

These questions have delayed somewhat the construction of this site.  For if it isn’t fit for purpose then what is the point of it at all?

One thing I can offer whilst I ponder that question are my experiences and how the main sport I took up has helped me grow as a person over the years.  I do not claim to be an expert, I do not claim to be the best, but what I can try to offer are a few words that may mean something to you, something that you might relate to.  If I end up offering comfort in a few words on a webpage to one person then this will make it all the worthwhile.

I started karate when I was 7 and what seems like an eternity.  Funny, how the 22 years have passed since my very first lesson, but nowadays every year seems to fly by faster than I can catch my breath.  My interest came about after hearing of another boy doing it in my class when I was 6 years old.  At the time he was the fastest runner and the most popular boy in the infant school.  I wanted to be like him and so I asked my parents if I could start too.  At that time we were in a transitional period of moving house, so I was promised that once we had moved they would take me.

It’s amazing to think back at the things I can remember so vividly when I was so small and now I struggle to tell you what happened last week.  Back all those years ago I do remember that this popular lad used to pick on me, bully me if you like; something that would go on through my whole school years up to the age of 16.  He set the standard for what I was to endure for the next 10 years of adolescence.  I often used to think back years later about my resentment to that boy for how he treated me, smashing up my Mechano car that I’d spent so long making, the hurt and pain it caused.  Silly things really when you think about it, but at the time at that young age it seemed so much more.  In contrast though, its amusing now I think about it writing this that the person in question probably did the best thing he ever could for me.  Asking my parents to take me to karate and follow the “cool kid’s” lead would majorly shape my life to what it is today.