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Just train

Congratulations to all of my students! It’s motivating to me seeing everyone training each class. Karate isn’t for when life is easy. Karate forges the spirit for times when life is hard. I’m sure the masters of old never foresaw a time when society would be ‘social distancing’, and training would be in class via online sessions.

Nevertheless, the basics and kata pillars of karate make this training possible. A fighting art needs partner drills, but when times are tough, we find a way.

I have to bite my tongue when I hear the latest excuse of people not training. The previous #1 excuse of “I have no time” has been replaced by “I don’t have space to train”. This excuse pops into my head during some of our online classes when I see students training in hallways, or training outside wearing a coat and squinting at their tiny phone screen, because that’s all they have to work with. These are the students who inspire me to train harder. The students who persevere are future black belts. Far more powerfully, these are people who succeed in life. In my past career, I was fortunate to work with some brilliant engineers on cutting edge technology. There were more occasions than I care to remember where the project hurdles seemed insurmountable. In every case, the teams who were successful, were not always the ones with the greatest minds. The teams who triumphed were the ones with an indomitable mindset, who found a way to succeed regardless of the challenges. There are many paths to forging this “fighter’s mindset”, karate is unquestionably one of these paths.

To help with training in tiny spaces, I introduced a tool I used when I formerly traveled extensively with work and found myself in tiny hotel rooms with no space to train: ‘circle kata’. Performing a kata in a single 2’ square through switching feet, similar to circle basics. Hopefully this will bring at least one student out of the rain. :)

Last night, a man I am humbled and proud to train under, Hanshi Legacy, gave a web talk. For those who don’t know him, this tenth degree black belt has been inducted into Canada’s Black Belt Hall of Fame. He has trained with, and earned black belts under some of the true legends of our art. Hanshi Legacy is an incredibly powerful martial artist who humbly epitomizes everything I believe a martial artist should stand for. Hearing his stories last night made me feel like a little kid allowed to listen in at the grown-ups table. I could have listened to his stories all night. A theme that rang out through his storytelling and the message that he wanted to leave with everyone is “just train”.

Training is rarely easy. If it is easy, you probably aren’t working hard enough.

Stay strong everyone.


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