Last Monday was an amazing evening of training at Contact Kicks. I was exhausted after a long intense day at work, and honestly didn’t think I had the energy to train. However, once the class begun, the energy of the dojo and the energy coming from Sensei Steve Fogarasi and the Sempai invigorated me, and everyone else around me.
It was Monday and a lot of Kihon drilled over and over until your shoulders ached from tsuki and legs felt like lead weights from kicks. With kiais from the full class and Sensei inspiring us on, the energy intensified.
This has been a very hot summer in Toronto, and at times the classes can be smaller. This night’s class was almost full, not only with our bodies, but with our collective spirit, and Contact Kicks Dojo’s character reflects that spirit.
There are times in which we might wonder about the reasons we are training, the reasons for spending time at the dojo. After all, we are not all trying to be champions. Sometimes it may seem futile, and look like a wasteful way to use precious hours. Those are normal thoughts and a shared attitude as we are on the path to learn what is true Budo. To honour the ones before us, who through their diligent training and single-mindedness developed each technique to the very best of their ability and shaped the art and created legendary warriors.
As Sensei Fogarasi was saying, the most important thing in Kyokushin Karate is to cultivate a strong mind and spirit. It isn’t about being a tournament champion, it is like the Japanese saying, “Masakatsu Agatsu” – True Victory is Victory Over Ones Self.
If you want change, growth, success, passion, happiness, then you have to struggle with your self every day. Nowhere is this more prevalent, than in the dojo.
We all have dreams; to be successful in every aspect of our lives. We all want to achieve prosperity and happiness in doing what we love. We all want the most out of life and find happiness and contentment. We all want our own version of this, yet only a small percentage of us will ever make it our reality.
Training in something as demanding as Kyokushin Karate pushes you to your limits. Exhaustion of the mind, body and spirit. If you can push yourself past the line of what you believe your own personal limits are, you achieve a personal breakthrough that will flow into every part of your life.
Like Sensei Fogarasi says, it isn’t about achieving every pushup, every kick, every strike, it is about TRYING and forging a mind of not giving up. Even if you’re struggling and don’t think you can do one more, you TRY! The next time you will might surprise yourself and go beyond that old limit.
In the dojo you look around and feel the energy of everyone who is on their own personal quest. There for their own reasons. When the dojo is filled with this energy, the collectiveness pushes you on. Your dojo, your family, is there with you, struggling and feeling in their ways the pressure of continuing, which rises your energy to continue to the last rep in exhaustion. When you are done, though exhausted, there is a sense of peace, pride and confidence, that you gave it your all.
With legs weighted down from squats and kicks, arms heavy from punches, you leave the dojo with a feeling of accomplishment, which will permeate into every facet of your life.
In life you might fall down and feel like you don’t have the strength to get back up, but if you fail and give up do you think you will ever get up? As long as you try, there is a possibility you will get up. The secret is in not giving up. Build the resilience to stand up and not quit. No mater how impossible your situation may seem, there is always a way. If you quit, you will never know what you can achieve. But if you at least try, you don’t know what will happen. Anybody can quit. If it were easy, everyone would do it.
Kyokushin builds this determination in you, if you try. It gives you the tools to make it through your struggles and empower you, not only in the dojo, but in all personal struggles if you apply the same mindset. It helps you develop a language of never giving up.
As I look back to the beginning of my training, I am not the same person. The subtle changes built up over time, and I know I am still nowhere close to my full potential in karate and in life. I will forever be grateful for what Kyokushin, my dojo and my teacher, Sensei Steve Fogarasi has taught me.
So, if you want to better yourself, I implore you to find a dojo that imparts these beliefs. I guarantee you it will change you for the better.
I always believed, and still do, that Kyokushin is the strongest karate, and full contact is the essence of the art, but I now believe and know, that the willingness to never give up and persevere through anything… is the “The Ultimate Truth”!