1st Dan – Okinawan Shorinryu Karatedo
“Black Belt Thesis”
My thesis is about my experience in Karate. I started when I was seven years old. I have been told I was a stubborn arrogant child. I remember karate (school) was really tough, I had to learn to have discipline like not looking around in kame stance. I had to learn to be tough and take a hit. I learned to do push ups really fast because I did not know how to keep my mouth shut. I loved it from the start. Even the push ups. (I think) We had this studio right outside the library. And a !HUGE! parking lot. I remember running around this little building really fast to get in better shape.
I soon adopted Jeff Bateman (Shihan at the time now Renshi soon to be Kyoshi) as a father figure. He was a very good role model. I used to get knocked down a lot by this man because of my attitude, sometimes so hard that I would want to quit but I couldn’t do that or my real dad would have called me a quitter.
I was raised to think losing was the worst thing in the world except for being a quitter. So I never took to well to losing and I had a really short fuse and lost my temper very easily. I learned to control this temper with karate, granted I would slip up every once and I would lose control. I would have to be infuriated. Usually this involves a girl being hurt hit or harassed. It drives me to insanity. I haven’t been violent with someone in over a year.
I have learned to shrug off insults but when my family friends are being hurt I have a hard time suppressing my anger but I am getting better, I learn from trial and error. Back to the subject at hand. Karate was really rough but I learned to hang tough and every time I would cry Shihan would pick me up and make me stop crying. Most of what I can remember is within the past three or four years. I have been working really hard. I remember when I was re-introduced to Jeremy Hall I disliked him from the start and was insanely jealous I thought he was taking Shihan from me and I thought his techniques were less than spirited but then I just ignored him. He has grown into a fine young man now he does great in everything he does and I have become good friends with him. I was not really trying my hardest until the last two years because I was concerned with things other than karate.
I have now focused and realized my goal, which is to one day in the far future, is to become almost an equal to Renshi I never will become his full equal. But I want to earn his respect. There are two real reasons why I haven’t quit these past ten years. I really enjoy it, is one of the reasons but the biggest reason is that I don’t want to disappoint Renshi. I will go to infinite lengths at all cost try to avoid this. I respect him more than my own parents. I have done things to my joints, muscles, and bones just to make him proud. This is the ultimate reward in my opinion.
He has always helped me out with everything. The main thing is he never has done anything unjustly and has always been fair. Through karate I have learned many life lessons. I used to get picked on a lot as a kid, and I thought the quickest way to shut them up was to hit them but I have learned that no matter what you do there will be someone there to try and hold you down. But the way is not violence but just to ignore them.
My saying that I made is “The quickest way past a brick wall is not always to go through it but to go around it”. That’s what you do when they try to hold you back from being the best is not to fight them or to try to make them look small but to just ignore them. Renshi taught me this over several years. I didn’t catch on to quick. I remember most of the test that I have taken. They have been some of the most grueling excruciating moments of my life. But some how I have persevered through the storm. It has rained down showers of tears, and made rivers of blood, and oceans of sweat. I have decided to be as strong as I can so I have pushed my body past its limits. I have been to tournaments also. I have won a little and lost a little. Granted I hate to lose I have learned there are some of the best lessons lie in defeat. Humility, graciousness, and good sportsmanship.
I love karate it has become a major part of my life. I hope to one day be one of the greatest fighters ever to live but even if this happens I will never ever brag about it I have learned that bragging and boasting only lead to very bad things. If you do happen to brag about your martial arts skills you will be instantly challenged by someone. They will go way out of their way just to make your life miserable. Just to see if they can beat you. I will never stop karate until my life is extinguished.
Even in death I will still practice and train to be the best. I have always wondered if when I die will I still be able to train or will I lose my physical body. I hope I get to keep it I have worked really hard to get it where it is. I want to know if there is pain, because without pain there can never be a since of achievement. I have found the only way to get a since if achievement is to go through hardships. I have been through a plenty.
I have never spent this much of my time doing one thing it has been very tough to keep myself on track. I have been doing this ten years but this is still very hard to write. I am now having to edit this because I wrote it a year ago and have had to change nine years to ten years. My views have also changed. You know like my outlook on life. I have worked so hard to one day earn Renshi’s respect but some how I always manage to screw up. Things usually don’t come out like I intend them to. I try to say one thing and it comes out all wrong. However one day I will reach a plateau and be able to carry on a decent conversation without saying something I shouldn’t.
These past few years have been filled with pain. It has been so bad sometime that I wanted to just give up and go home but for some strange reason no matter how hard I try I can’t seem to turn away from this addiction. I need to feel this pain I am always in search of it. Just to become stronger.
I will one day be known as the greatest fighter alive. However I think Renshi is going to be around until I am like sixty so I will always be second until then. I have found something I am good at I like to think and this is karate. Fighting was always so much fun for me but as you grow older the consequences outweigh the fun. I will always like to fight it is in my nature, but through karate I have learned that I can suppress this urge. It is really hard to take crap from someone weaker than yourself. I usually have a advantage in physical strength so it can get very agitating listening to someone like four foot tall run his mouth about how stupid you are just to try and push your buttons. I have been able to shrug this kind of thing off thanks only to karate. Karate has kept me from a lot of things.
Like drugs and crime. But it has also had its disadvantages. I could have become a lot more popular at school by joining a team. I have had the football coach and the wrestling coach call me at my house to try to get me to join their team but I have always had karate my ultimate commitment. School would be a little easier to but I am usually really late getting home. But what can I say except that the way the kitchen sinks. (ha! ha!) You must take the good with the bad.
I have been at this for more than half my life. Man that is a long time…. Those years have been a blur. Every thing is natural. Like kata, for instance, It seems like I have known it my whole life. I mean like counting in Japanese was something I was raised to do. I now am going to change the subject to something completely different… I have been working on my teaching skills recently. It is not as easy as some people may think. I mean it is hard in karate for some adults to comprehend the simplest thing. They seem to be unable to perform the simplest task. After a while they usually catch on. Hmmm……… My stomach is growling…. I want food!!! I must eat soon. My stomach is barking at me for food I must satisfy this urge to eat. Do not worry though I shall return. Ha Ha!!!!!
I have tamed the beast….. Ah Ha!!! A new subject has presented itself to me. Food. I have a strange thing about me… I have to eat before Karate. I mean like right before. When I go to the early class I usually stuff myself right before I go. There is a disadvantage to this though. Once I run out of food, that’s it… I am usually completely exhausted. No food no energy that’s just how works for me.
Most people say if they eat right before a class they cramp up. Not me though I like to nice and full. I wonder why I am like this. Is it my metabolism. Who knows. Oh well now on to a completely different subject. Oh by the way in case you did not notice I have trouble sticking to just one thing. They call that ADD. Oh goody I have a new subject. This ones a doozey. I have two supposed disorders. They are ADHD and ODD. I love how one of those spells odd.
ADHD is Attention Deficient Hyperactive Disorder this means that I have trouble focusing and I am hyper.
I don’t see the big deal here. This next one is a load of crap. ODD means Oppositional Defiant Disorder.
This is not a Disorder and I don’t care what anyone says.
Its Bull S*!#. It means I am defiant. That is what separated us back in the Stone Age the people like me were called alpha males. We do not take crap from someone weaker than ourselves. We are naturally more dominate. Now a days though this is considered a personality defect. Okay.
I was caught in the middle of these disorders. I did not want to take the medicine for ADHD so they said I was ODD. If I took the medicine I was polluting my body If I didn’t I was ODD. See I did not believe I was ADHD so if I took the medicine I was admitting I was ADHD if I did not take it I was ODD. Do you see the paradox here. Danged if you do Danged if you don’t now that sucks. I read recently a book called ADD Success Stories. This helps clear things up a little. It described ADHD as a gift instead of a disorder. ADHD was instilled in us in caveman times. If you only focused on one thing you would not catch your meal or you would be eaten. So you had to adapt to be able to focus on more than one thing at a time instead of just one thing. The hyperactive thing is also a gift. You needed to have a lot of energy to run down a deer and kill it with your bare hands.
People soon evolved into gatherers. So this ability was no longer needed. It has now been labeled as bad.
So I guess I am less evolved than most people. And I like it that way. I hope my kids are the exact same way. If the can control it they will be the ones who shape the future.
Some even suggest that ADHD is becoming once again part of our evolution. To allow multi tasking. I mean you need it in today’s fast paced world. You also need to be Hyper to run off of about four to six hours of sleep a day. Kind of ridiculous isn’t it. I love it. Chaos is good order can sometimes get so boring. You know what I mean. Well I guess its about time I wrap this up. I would like to say that I have enjoyed karate. It helps keep me alive inside. It helps feed my soul and ever growing hunger for strength…
OOOH don’t I sound like an evil dictator. Yuck I should stay away from that. But one day I would like to look at myself in the mirror and say there is the strongest man in the world.