Zen Martial Arts Center

Sacramento Martial Arts and Karate

Last week I did something I’ve never done before; I filmed myself practicing kata. Years ago when Sensei and I would find tournaments to go to so we could test ourselves against other martial artists, once or twice there may have been a recording. They would be done with a camera that was small enough to no longer be confused for an amateur news camera operator, but still big enough to be a commitment. Now a days I’m not even sure how one would get copies of the weird sized tape it used into a digital format. At some point I think we had dvds made. Last week though, I found a spot that was flat-ish, had something I could prop a pocket sized camera on, and shot three minutes of Seisan kata.


That recording wound up in a dropbox folder I share with Sensei, and pretty soon comments were left for me. This sequence of events lead to a realization. A few of them, actually. Practicing on my own means I don’t have a dojo to go to. Dojos are powerful places. It’s a place you go to practice and learn, a place where you go to be your best self, or at least one version of your best self. This puts me at a disadvantage, since the places I practice are outside. But I have to remind myself that as awesome as it is having a dojo to go visit to automatically put me in that Karate mindset, not having one can be just as good for me. Practicing outside is nice, and I love being outdoors. The lack of mirrors to show me if my back foot is turned wrong, because you always forget the stuff you can’t see while your lead hand and foot are perfect, means I have to be mindful of my body instead of passively keeping an eye out. Setting that tiny camera up and watching the recording I made, there are multiples now, and watching those later means I can revisit how to improve my forms while in a state of rest and learning. It’s pretty neat. Even cooler is knowing that someday down the road I will be able to watch these first few weeks of getting back my karate and see how far I’ve come. It’s also fun getting comments on them and implementing changes. That is super cool.


This coming week I plan to start practicing Sanchin again. Part of why I started up training was for fitness, and that’s an exceptional kata for getting in shape. I have fond memories of looking up to folks that would perform Sanchin while being punched, kicked, pushed, pulled, and even stood upon. I remember Sensei Deboard telling us that it was a threefold test meant to train your body, mind, and heart. It’s physically taxing and takes stamina. It’s still kata and requires you act mindfully. It is blatantly obvious when you give up doing either of the first two, and in that way tests your resolve, heart, or spirit. Life can be that way, so it’s a nifty little summary of ourselves. Work hard, don’t forget what you’re doing or why, and don’t give up. Yeah, I think I’m really looking forward to that. Strangely I am also looking forward to being very sore tomorrow.

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