- I'LL BE
- Those lazy
- More than
any other time of the year, it happens in the summer.
- School is
- The days
- The beach,
the parks, and the obligatory family vacation all beckon.
- Each one
calling loudly with promises of fun and adventure under
the warm summer sun.
- It is
inevitable therefore, during these warm and pleasant days
of summer that the dojo will often echo with the sound of
- This is, we
are told by those who are departing, only a temporary
situation, for as they bow out the door in search of
"some time off" they all do so with a common
pledge, "I'll be back".
- Now all of
us at one time or another have felt the need to take a
break from those events in our lives that occupy so much
of our very limited time. Whether it is from work,
university, the city in which we live, the people we hang
out with, or even from the dojo that we hold so dear,
sooner or later we all crave a brief change of pace.
question in the mind of the sensei, however, as he
listens to those quickly fading feet, is not so much,
"when will you be back" but more often than not
it is, "at what level will you be when you come back"?
- Now for
those students above the rank of Ni Dan, I think it is
safe to say that a few days off, or even a week or two
away from the dojo, will usually not make a great deal of
difference to their fitness level, or to the quality of
their techniques. This is primarily of course because
students at this level will usually have eight to ten
years of dedicated training behind them. For them it is
often a case of being able to "switch on" and
"switch off", with most likely only a minor
number of adjustments in order to get back up to speed
after taking some time off. Any longer than two weeks,
however, and yes, even these senior ranks will also see a
distinct difference in all aspects of their karate upon
their return to the dojo.
- But what
about everyone else?
- It has been
my experience that students below the rank of Ni Dan,
will find that they are in for a bit of a surprise when
finally returning to class after those lazy days of
- More often
than not they will find that compared to those students
who remained and continued to train, their stance will
seem somewhat higher, their timing will off, and their
blocks for some unknow reason will not seem quite as
crisp as they use to be.
- As for kata
- It is not
uncommon for brown belts who thought they "knew"
all of their kata to discover much to their dismay, that
Heian Sandan and Heian Yodan have for some unexplainable
reason now blended together in both their body and their
mind, making even the thought of completing either kata
an impossible challenge.
- All of this
of course is not unusual, since any significant time away
in a relaxing setting has a tendency to diminish both our
mental memory, as well as our body memory. Fortunately
for most students there is a cure for this softened
mental and physical state, and the remedy is very simple.
It is getting back to into the dojo and getting back to
the basics as soon as possible. Hours of hard work,
countless repetitions, a large dose of self-determination,
and a strong desire to "make up for lost time"
are the only means by which a student will recover their
position within the dojo society.
- To do an
less means risking the prospect of being passed in rank
by those students who remained and trained.
- There is an
old saying, "time and tide wait for no man".
- The point
being that some things wait for no one, under any
- If I was to
look for a similar analogy in terms of karate I would
suggest, "that a missed class can never be made up".
- My point
being that in your life you have a finite number of days,
and you can never make up for lost time, or a class
missed, both are gone from your life forever. Oh sure,
you can go to class on Friday to make up for the one you
missed on Wednesday, but no matter how you justify it in
truth the classes you miss, for what ever reason, can
never be made up for.
- So by all
means listen to the song that Summer sings in the hope of
luring you to play at other past times, and take a break
if you feel the need. But, always be prepared to come
back to the dojo a few paces behind those students who
remained and who continued to polish the dojo floor with
their feet and their sweat while you went in search of
"some time off".
Funakoshi Sensei once said, karate is like boiling water,
if you do not heat it constantly it will soon start to
- On your return to the dojo
turning up the heat once again is entirely up to you.
- In order to
start where you left off,
- you must
first get back to where you use to be
- Part the
clouds - see the way.
objective of karate-do is to contribute to the evolution
- of the
human spirit through physical and mental training."