Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Picking up Speed

Picking up speed, Gima sensei leads - Anton sensei follows
I don't meet many karateka my age who (unlike me) were hopeless at karate when they were younger; to hear them tell it, they started training when they were four years old, toughened up by seven, and have been hard at it ever since. I always smile quietly to myself when people include the six months Taekwondo and three months Wing Chun training they've also done.....another "all-rounder", how nice!

To indulge your "Great Enthusiasm" when you're new to karate is essential in my view. For if you don't pick up speed when you're young, it's inevitable that you'll run out of momentum when you hit middle and old age. The speed I'm referring to here is not the lighting-like ability some develop in their youth, but the kind of mental and (dare I say it), spiritual, speed you're going to need when the gift of youth is no longer yours to play with.

And by spirit, I'm not talking about the "sage-like sitting in a cave becoming as one with the universe" kind of spirit; what I'm pointing to is the kind of spirit that allows you to dig deep when things are not going well, to persevere when the outcome is not certain, and to have the courage to look nowhere but inside yourself for the cause of all your problems, as well as the location of every solution.

When you're young (in karate), you have to enter deeply, pick up speed, and maintain momentum. If you don't, your excuses will bring you to a grinding halt just as soon as your muscles begin to let you down.