Friday, March 4, 2011

[Karate] Halfway to the Beginning

Last night, my family and I earned our blue belts at karate. As Sensei Oddy says, we all look like "karate smurfs" now with our blue gis and blue belts.

So that means we're halfway to earning our black belts - at least in terms of the number of belts between white and black. Chronologically, we're probably more like a third of the way there at best. "There" being the storied "black belt" that so many people, in the U.S. anyway, associate with mastery of a martial art. It's really a beginning, though. Just as you have to "master" the elementary concepts of gradeschool before going on to high school and college to really learn useful skills like critical thinking, you have to know your basics in karate before you can fully understand the underlying concepts.

Which doesn't make us any less thrilled to have earned our blue belts. As awkward as I often still feel, I've definitely improved in balance, strength, power, and endurance in the last year. My stances are still sloppy, but less sloppy than they used to be. I'm working hard to be sure I generate power from my hips, not just my shoulders, and I think I've made progress there as well.

Better still, I get to watch my kids in action, which is awesome. My boys tend to be kind of half-assed unless they're really motivated, but even with them I've seen progress. My daughter, though, has grown tremendously in coordination and self-confidence, and it's great to share her enthusiasm and excitement.

There's an awful lot left to learn, and a lot of work remaining to forge our bodies into the kind of tools we want them to be. But forging takes heat and hammering, and there's a lot of that left to do. Progress is good though, and it feels great to have met another milestone in our lifelong journey.

Next stop - green belt! The expectations get higher, the techniques and kata get tougher, and hopefully the kicks get higher and stronger. Woo hoo!


  1. Thanks, but wasn't it one of your karate instructors who said that? I may have mentioned it months ago, but not it's official with all blue!

  2. Haha - I'm pretty sure you said it first, Sensei!

    So glad you could come the other night!