What Karate Means To Me
I have been studying karate for 3 years and over this time karate has held different meanings to me. When I first began learning karate it was more for fitness than anything else and that was all that it meant to me. However I soon discovered that there was much more to learn and that karate was more than just a physical exercise but one that involves training the mind and spirit as well as the body.
I now believe that karate is a life long journey of self discovery and personal development that is achieved by training the body to perform tasks that it would not normally be able to do. I feel that in doing this karate enables one to explore their own physical and mental capability and continually improve in these areas.
In order to train these areas a student must learn to focus on the task at hand whilst still being able to perceive what is occurring around them, a student must also practice with the proper intention if wanting to progress to the next level as incorrect practice will lead to incorrect performance when it is needed. Karate requires a high level of dedication to training in order for the body to develop automatic responses to any given situation. Karate also requires the student to have an open mind and a willingness to learn and accept criticism when given in order to develop and improve.
I have also found that while karate is very individual that teamwork plays a large role, particularly in our Dojo. This is because everyone who is more advanced than me has something to teach me and that I can teach those who are less advanced than me some of the things that I know. I also feel that the team atmosphere that has been built in our club is beneficial to my training because sometimes it is the motivation provided by others who are all trying to learn and improve their own skills together that enables me to push myself harder than I would if training on my own.
Karate has also affected me outside of the Dojo as it has influenced other aspects of my life. I think that karate has enabled me to learn more about myself and my limits than anything else I have ever done. Karate has helped in my work and home life by allowing me to be able to focus on certain problems and resolve them without losing sight of the bigger picture. Karate has also taught me that nothing is achieved without hard work and dedication.
Over the past three years I have learned a lot about myself and think I have progressed reasonably well in most areas of my life. I realize that I still have a long way to travel and a lot more to learn. Shodan is the first real step on the journey that is karate and I look forward to continuing my study and developing and improving my skills. Skills that I feel will affect not only my life at karate but my life as a whole.
By Troy Aquilina, 16th December 2004
Troy Aquilina began training at karatedo on 5th December, 2001, at age 23 years. He was graded to Shodan on 12th January, 2005, at age 26 years.