Zen Martial Arts Center

Sacramento Martial Arts and Karate

Last week I started doing something I haven't done in over ten years; I practiced kata. Years ago I gave myself to Isshinryu. Mike and I trained all the time. We went to class three days a week at first, then four, then as many as six classes a week if we came to a morning and evening class on the same day after asking permission. Somewhere along the line, though, something happened. Other things crept into my life that slowly began to eclipse karate, and a time of turmoil arose. Mike held fast to training, but I was swept away to other things. Always in the back of my mind Karate waited. Slowly it faded, but the foundations were built and would remain through time no matter how eroded they may become. The water goddess could live through any storm, right? Dragons live for centuries. Now the dragon is returning, and the Mizu Gami has begun calling more insistently. My doctor says my weight is a concern, there are whispers of diabetes and reminders of family heart conditions. So instead of fear or self pity I've decided to fall back on another thing I've always enjoyed: Isshinryu.

My calendar in the living room has a series of complex scribbles on it that are a record of my exercise thus far. I began with walking a mile every couple days, but that was weeks ago and now it's time to start training. Last week I started jogging as much of that mile as I could, and I added a few blocks distance onto it. At the end I took off my shoes and socks, found a level patch of asphalt near the center of my apartment complex, and I started running through Seisan kata. Much to my amazement I made it almost the entire way without any major blunders. It was so exciting I immediately messaged my buddy from years ago and told him all about it. Being away for that long makes you worry people will think any attempt is a false start, or that you don't mean it, but my friend was thrilled that I had started training again. He shared videos with me so I'd be able to recall what to do, and they got me close enough that my body remembered and fell in line. I found out the level of exhaustion from the jogging around helped me remember; because any time I tried to practice without the exercise first, I would just get distracted or lost in thought and never follow through.

Years ago I knew all the kata up through Sanchin, but now I can only do Seisan and, gladly, Seiuchen. I remember most all of Naihanchi, and it will come back and clean up fast, but the others are sitting just out of reach. I can feel them there in my mind, in my soul. I can hear the slithering gi, the snapping sleeves, the flapping belt, the thunderous kiai, all waiting to come back to life.

When I mentioned I thought I'd like to start a journal about this re-entry into training, Mike suggested I do it here in case anyone else wanted to read it. I can't imagine why anyone would, but he's a pretty smart guy, and I trust him, so hopefully this turns out okay. If I'm going to mention him here, though, for the sake of clarity and respect I think I should call him Sensei. It is a name he earned, after all.

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Comment by Kale Wisnia on August 30, 2016 at 7:17am
Like you I have so many distractions that easily slide in the way of practice and I'm always glad when I'm able the navigate around them and return to class. Sometimes I know I over booked myself and can't get to the dojo but as long as I do my kata I feel that I havn't been cheated from what I want to really be doing. Keep going !
Comment by David Brezinski on July 12, 2016 at 11:36pm

Glad you are back; the fire and spirit rekindled.  Hope to meet you one day in the Dojo!

Comment by Katrina Smalley on July 12, 2016 at 11:47am

Congratulations on returning and good luck on your journey!

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