We also had the honor of being joined by Senpai Michael Spineti, from Hearth & Soul Academy in Montreal, to train with us. He has competed and won numerous competitions, including the Middle Weight 1st place at the North American Shinkyokushin Championship in 2011. It was great having him in the dojo, and the energy he brought was amazing. He is a great athlete and super nice guy. Here is a pic of him with Fogarasi Sensei, as well as a group shot. Osu!
As I mentioned, this was my birthday, and there was no way I was going to be outdone by a bunch of young guys and gals! The class as intense as usual with hardcore conditioning before we completed the evening with 10 or 12 rounds of sparring.
At the end of class, as Sensei was making closing remarks on the evening, he alluded to well-rounded Kyokushin practitioners, and referenced Darren Stringer as not only a great champion fighter, but also champion in kata. I wasn’t familiar with him, so when I looked him up over the weekend I was blown away. He really is amazing.
All of this got me thinking about my birthday and my expectations. When I wanted to get back into martial arts there were many reasons why. One was the contact aspect, which I wrote about, but in addition I was bored with traditional strength exercises, like weight training. I knew learning and practicing a martial art, not only helps you achieve enhancement in the physical, but in mental health as well. The training of Kyokushin not only exercises the body, providing muscular and cardiovascular improvements, it also exercises the mind and nervous system. The brain is constantly in higher cognitive thought as you practice, and the nervous system of the body is completely engaged.
And so far Kyokushin under Fogarassi Sensei has been meeting all of my expectations and beyond.
I believe as we get older that people can have a tendency to believe they are “too old”. Especially when they see Kyokushin practitioners of a high caliber who do amazing feats. But Kyokushin can, and should, be modified to adjust to the needs and limitations of the student.
The amazing thing about Contact Kicks is Fogarasi Sensei’s ability to inspire you and discover your own potential, no mater what your age, background or current capabilities.
I know what my goals are in Kyokushin. I obviously am not aiming to be a champion in fighting, but I am aiming to be the most well rounded karate-ka I can be, while increasing my mental and physical health.
So, please don’t let age or your perception of what you “can’t do” hold you back, or seeing young champions. Go to the dojo and find out for yourself what you are capable of. You’ll be glad you did.