Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Countdown! 3........

The final moments before I face that BIG moment. My thoughts turn back to what I once was before I became infected with the positive effects of living Karate Do. I weighed nearly 200 lbs. I remember getting to the top of one flight of stairs and having to hold the wall because I felt dizzy, and weak. My skin condition covered over 80% of my body making it difficult to do anything. I remember finding blood spots on my pajamas from my hands independently scratching at the itch during the night while I slept. My face was covered which caused many people to react in abhorance when I approached them.

I remember the dread I felt at the thought of doing anything physical. Even the idea of walking to the corner store to get some milk made me think twice, or even three times. My 8 year old daughter wanted to take karate lessons.. oh man.. that meant walking a good 20 minutes each way. I remember moaning about that to my husband... Ha ha ha.. a 20 minute leisurely walk and I would complain about that! HA HA HA Little did I know then that, in less than 3 years, I'd be training hard for more than 2 hours straight with black and brown belts and exhilarating in it.

The first months of training were especially hard on me. I remember coming to a dead stand still while exercising during class. I heard Sensei chuckle and said "I'm not the only star that you are seeing right now.. am I?" I couldn't help but think in astonishment "How does he know that I'm seeing a whole bunch of flashing lights surrounding me?" Oh that was not a smart thing! Just jumping into hard karate training from doing no exercise at all. Looking back in retrospect, it's a good thing that I didn't consult a doctor.. ha ha ha.. He/she would have taken one look at my physical condition, and said "Are you crazy????", and that would have been that.. I would never have been introduced to the world of martial arts.

All I wanted was to learn how to do kata.. I was willing to do all the other things to be able to learn kata. I remember asking Sensei if it was possible to learn karate without learning how to fight. WAH ha ha ha! Little mouse that I was.. all that my partner would have to do is look like they were going to move forwards with a punch, and I'd hide behind my hands, and cringe saying "EEKK!".

Oh did I abhor push ups! Sensei would go down the line asking for the Japanese terms of the various techniques and those who didn't know the term would have to go down and do 10 push ups. I had plenty of motivation to learn my terms, if that is what it took to avoid push ups. Sensei couldn't stump me.. He tried.. oh gosh he tried to find an obscure term that he had taught me that I might have forgotten.. but nope. I fought valiantly against having to do those push ups.

I remember one time that Sensei asked a higher belt for a term.. and the person said in a joking manner "Why don't you ask her? " So Sensei turned to me with a smile and did the movement again. I bowed my head in embarrassment and said "Sensei, I am not familiar with that movement," ( I saw a look of triumph appear on Sensei's face) "but I do know one that is similar from Heian Yondan," I continued, " and that one is called Kaki waki Uke." The look of stunned surprise on the faces of all the other students was precious when Sensei burst out laughing and said "Yes.. it's the same."

I remember my first roundhouse kicks. I looked like I was attempting to imitate a Dutch windmill with my arms, and legs. Nothing worked together, and I'd end up collapse on the ground giggling into my knees with the joy of knowing that one day I was going to DO this kick... but right now, I look like "Goofy does karate".

Oh I'd get lost with every new thing that was introduced..It's like everything was reset back to the start... mentally, and physically. Sensei never stopped supporting, and challenging me to get beyond where I was at.. and I didn't stop giving myself permission to keep trying.

A difficult time arose for me. My father was ill, and dying. I found that training in karate helped me with the stress. I asked Sensei if I could attend both of his dojo so that I could burn off the extra emotions, and energy within me. He allowed me that priviledge, and I started double training. Innercity dojo, and then again at 17th Wing dojo.

My weight went down 30 pounds, my health went up.. Sure, I became sore, and my family would get no end of entertainment listening to my moans and groans from even little things like lifting my cup of tea to my lips.

When Innercity dojo closed down, I went into a deep concern for the fact that I didn't want to lose all of the physical conditioning that I worked so hard to gain. I requested Sensei's permission to attend a free kyokushin karate class that was offered every Friday, and received it.

I entered the kyokushin dojo with apprehension knowing that it was a full contact karate, and what a timid little mouse I felt like inside of me. I spoke with the Sensei there explaining that my main goal was to keep up my physical condition through the extra exercise, but that I would attempt to train Kyokushin while in his dojo...if he would allow me to train there. Thus humbly starts the difficult path of cross training in two arts about 2 years ago.

This little woman who couldn't climb one set of stairs without suffering is now training in karate almost every day of the week, and twice on Saturdays. She does weight lifting at home, and puts in about 22 hours of training per week (if she can steal that time from other things)


lizzie said...

Are you still doing 22 hours per week? If you are, wow. Good job and good work from coming a long way. I want to cross train too. I'm going to take kick boxing in the fall.

supergroup7 said...

Oh dear.. I do not want to toot any horns.. but I have promised myself that I would be honest when asked a question.

Each week this summer I have been doing 13 1/2 hours of Instructed karate lessons, and added on an additional 8 hours of home training per week.. so yes.. I've managed to keep up about 22 hours per week of training. This is going to boost up in the next three weeks by 6 more hours due to upcoming seminars.

And yet.. I still feel like I don't train enough.. there are so many things that have to go to the side to make time for the important things. I haven't practiced my higher belt kata in so long I actually feel a stab of inner guilt for neglecting them. BUT.. BUT... you HAVE to keep up the conditioning exercises, and each time you improve you have to add either more time on them, or weight to them.

I really wouldn't encourage others to cross train. I was placed into this situation by my circumstances ( i.e.: my sensei stopping teaching)

I found that cross-training made it so difficult ( still makes it difficult for me even now) to meet the high standards of each art. As you advance in your knowledge you will find out that there are so many little nuances in your style that make it work the way that it does. You try to make the movement become reflexive, and without thought so that you can do it at 'superspeed'. if you try to absorb two different ways of doing the same movement.. your brain has troubles remembering what you want it to do and you slow down. The more choices you give your body for that movement.. the more slower you move.

If cross training is the path that you want to take.. then be aware that it has many huge boulders to climb, and there will be many times when you will lose sight of where you were walking, and where you want to go.. and there is no one to guide you to where you want to be because not too many people have walked that path.