5 times you will think about quitting traditional Karate………. (1 comment)
Practicing traditional Shotokan Karate is not like going to the shops, it is not like ordering something from Amazon or indeed not like just going to the gym. You don’t just turn up, pay and walk out with a martial arts state of mind. Quitting Karate can be an option however,
“How long does it take for the average person to get a black belt???”
“The average person does not get a black belt”
Years of training are involved where quite a few times you will feel like you are not going anywhere and that this may be a total waste of your time. The prospect of quitting Karate can always be there if you are finding it hard to fit in and you are in a difficult patch. So here are 5 times you will think about quitting Karate but if you look carefully…. these are actually opportunities to grow and develop both as a Karate-ka and a person.
You will experience pressure
Ok so this isn’t just one instance but a gradual trend throughout your training. You will be put under pressure many times. Demo with your instructor, on a course or also at your grading- you will continual be put in an uncomfortable position and asked to perform. This is the opportunity to learn to perform under these circumstances. When you go for your Shodan, Nidan, Sandan or higher, you will be staring across the floor at a table full of 6/7th Dan grades who will judge. Learn to live with the pressure and flourish.
You will experience self-doubt
“I can’t do that”
This is a phrase that can be heard from Students in lessons across all Dojos for example when making the jump from Heian Shodan to Heian Nidan. At various points in your journey you will experience times when more is asked from you. More is needed to make the grade. The first reaction from everyone is “I can’t do that”. You don’t have to do it right now, just train and practice and you will. Dot not let self-doubt stop you before you start.
You will continually experience frustration
“Why can’t I do it, I must be terrible at Karate- what’s the point?”
Learning an authentic martial art is difficult. Let alone Karate where you need to perform a hundred tiny details just to execute one simple punch! I think we have all been there when our Sensei demonstrates something which looks relatively simple but we just cannot get right. These are breakthrough opportunities where your brain knows what to do but your body just can’t do it. These moments can last 5 minutes, a day, a week or even longer and can drive you mad!!! The hard thing is to keep forging forward and ignore the frustration and accept that it is all part of a process. Keep pushing, the breakthrough will come and you will be better for it.
You will experience pain
I am not saying that someone is going to break your leg or your nose but you will experience some sort of pain on a variety of occasions. Tight muscles, blisters on feet, bruises, strains and sprains. All these are a rite of passage to a Karate-ka and can put any person off. The key thing is to train through these periods. Your body will heal, get stronger and all the while your mental strength, resilience and toughness will develop and flourish. In the extreme and unfortunate event that you may have to use Karate outside the Dojo, do you always think you will always be 100% fit? Maybe not. Train and get used to working with your body. Getting the most out of it in any circumstance.
Your Ego will be tested
“I gave it 100%, I did everything I could but didn’t pass perhaps this is not for me”
In traditional Karate, there are many times that your ego will be tested. Can you shake hands with the person who soundly beat you in sparring? Are you able to go back to the Dojo after failing your Shodan and train with more intensity? Can you realise that you have work to do or maintain an open mind when you hear something different? Ego will give you confidence, push and drive but it will sometimes not allow you to accept feedback and improve. Your dojo will still be there as will be the possibility to progress but if you can’t put your ego to one side you may not.
The journey to black belt is hard but it doesn’t get any easier afterwards. Kata, Kihon and Kumite will continually test you but your biggest challenge will be yourself.
These are just five times that you may be tempted to quit but there will be others. Quitting Karate is always an option and if you do that’s ok. However if you can overcome these obstacles you will be a better Karate-ka. You will feel the benefits elsewhere in your life. That is the other side of Karate training that gives you a martial arts state of mind.