In the last class the focus was on the mental, or spirit, of training. Perseverance, through the pain and pushing yourself when you think you have nothing more to give. An excellent class and a lot was learned. Last night’s class was also focused on spirit, but in a very different manner. And it showed me I have far to go. But, before I get there, I have to share something leading up to the class, which was very coincidental.
Like most days there is Kyokushin class I can’t wait to get there. I left work, picked up the car from my wife and rushed home to eat and feed our dogs before leaving for the dojo.
As I am driving home, in rush-hour traffic, like many large cities (my city having nearly 3 million people), some drivers are being aggressive and inpatient. I have been caught up in this emotion myself. As I was nearing home I was in the right lane of a double lane when this guy comes speeding up my right side and tries to cut in front of me, pushing me over. I lay on the horn and when we come to a traffic light I see he is yelling. I roll down the window and he is pissed that I wasn’t letting him in. I explained that not only was he in an illegal area racing up my right side in a lane designated for taxis to park, he was also speeding to cut in aggressively and pushing me into the other lane. I was wasting my breath. He kept going on and on and I made a jester with my right hand, opening and closing, indicating his flapping gums, while smiling. He then says to me, “why don’t you pull over and I’ll slap that smile off your face”.
Several emotions and thoughts crossed me. Hell ya, I’ll pull over! Wait, what if he has a weapon, or he’s psycho? Etc. What if he kicks my ass? As if I would get out of the car over road rage anyway. Plus, my wife would kill me! So, in the end, I continued driving home.
As I’ve mentioned in earlier posts, one of the main reasons for my joining a kyokushinkai dojo, is because I have never had true physical contact in martial arts in the past. So, I have a fear of fighting. Fear of hitting and being hit. In my short time at the dojo my confidence has been growing, but it isn’t there yet.
I shrugged the incident off and went to class.
Class started like many others and there is always a different focus. Its one of the reasons I love training under Fogarasi Sensei. It’s beyond the physical. He pushes and trains on so many levels. I couldn’t wait to find out what it would be this night. And when I realized what it was, I couldn’t believe the coincidence. I was in for a big lesson.
Without getting into all of the specifics of this night’s training, as it truly is something you have to experience for yourself, the focus was on spirit again, but not in the sense of pushing yourself, but instead… of projecting your spirit.
As an example, when you are facing someone before a fight, perhaps in a tournament, the opponent can sense and feel your determination. Feel your confidence. Feel your spirit.
This is a powerful thing, and I am sure we have all experienced it before. Being in the presence, or standing across from someone who exudes this fighting spirit, and you immediately know you have to respect this person. Fogarasi Sensei exudes this. If you met him outside of the dojo and knew nothing of his background, you would know there is something special about this man. You immediately respect him.
It reminded me of a man I once met a few years ago. He was a former US Navy Seal. He had sight in one eye only, as there was a scar running up the side of his head across the other eye. I spoke to him for about ten minutes and though he wasn’t huge, but very fit, he was more intimidating and physically confident than anyone I had ever met before. This man knew something that I didn’t.
Well, getting back to class, I couldn’t help but think about the incident with the driver. I obviously do not give off or project this type of fighting spirit. So, I was discouraged last night in class. Even after leaving, as I couldn’t stop thinking about this.
It isn’t just about the physical technique or mechanics. It’s the spirit. As Sensei said, this is useful outside of the dojo obviously, but not just in hostile situations, but in work as well. When you have a presence that commands respect, things at work change as well.
I won’t give up, as I love training and I love my dojo, but I have a long way to go. Last night’s lesson was powerful. I have to keep reminding myself that this was the reason I joined Kyokushinkai.