We had testing on Friday night, which was physically demanding. I am still feeling the aftereffects of the conditioning. Yesterday I had my private class with Fogarasi Sensei. We worked one simple combination, with the focus on power and making it second nature.
As I have written about before on here, I am fast and I have great reflexes, especially for my age, but I have been lacking striking power. Sensei has been working with me on this. To be less “snappy” and deliver through the strikes.
This has been really difficult for me, but finally yesterday I seemed to be making progress. One thing that changed it for me was Sensei explaining that in a full-contact match, with a really conditioned fighter, that type of striking is going to have little effect. So, with each strike, you are also trying to gain distance and the strike has a similar effect as a push. This really changed my mindset and I was able to finally “drill’ the strikes though. A really important lesson to me.
After our session we sat on the mats and chatted. I really love times like this, as I am so curious about Sensei’s journey in Kyokushin and martial arts. And it is an amazing journey. One that I hope, with his permission, I can tell in more detail some day, as it’s inspiring and moving. During this talk we discussed what keeps people involved in Kyokushin, or drift away.
Obviously, the answer is different for everyone. But, one common dominator is if they integrate their training into the rest of their lives, people tend to stick to it. For some, karate is just a physical exercise they do 2-3 days a week. And like the gym or other exercises, excuses can keep us away, and eventually we don’t even want to go.
If your training is something more, you are more likely to stick to it. For me, the gym became boring. It was something I “had to do” for health. I missed martial arts from my youth and remembered how much I loved it. I decided to return, this time to Kyokushin, and while the health benefits have been incredible, what is even more remarkable is the effect it has had on my life on ever level. Kykushin is something I think about and apply to work, relationships, movement, thinking, etc. It isn’t just another “exercise”, it is a way of life, one that happens to be the martial way.
I don’t think it would have had the same effect if I were training under someone different. There are many great instructors out there, and I have met them. They can perform technique at a high level of competency. However, I am lucky to have an instructor who completely embodies the martial way. Not only in his teaching style, but his philosophy as well. A philosophy, which he is able to transfer to us, inspire us and teach us, without having to “teach”. If that makes sense. I think of my youth and how I would dream of having the teacher like the Karate Kid, but a little less Hollywood. I have found that teacher in Steve Fogarasi Sensei, and I have what I have always been searching for in martial arts with Kyokushin Karate and my school and dojo, Contact Kicks MMA.
It is never too late in life discover karate, and through that training… discover yourself.