Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Nana Korobi Ya Oki

You can't beat the Japanese for a good proverb. One of my favourites is:

"Nana Korobi Ya Oki"

Essentially it means "Fall down seven times, get up eight." When it comes to karate I've certainly found it true. I've lost count of the number of metaphorical (and occasionally literal) "falls" I've had on this journey. I have always so far managed to get back up though and hopefully this time will be no different.

After my total "woe is me" posting of yesterday I had some stern internal dialogue words with myself (and some excellent words of advice from the lovely SueC). I've concluded that part of what I'm missing at the moment is a "beginner's mindset"*. When I first started out in karate I would be constantly running over stuff in my mind when I was doing other things. Kihon practice in the kitchen, going over taisabaki at the photocopier, sneaky kata run throughs in the work bathroom. For whatever reason over the last year I haven't really been doing this and I need to get back to it.

So for now, that is the plan. Carving out some snippets of the day to consolidate what I'm going through in class. Last night for example was a good chunk of time running through my two required shodan kata (seiunchin and Sepai) and ironing out some bits that I was a little muddled on. Now I've got the blips ironed out I'll try to make sure I get a least some mental run throughs of them both this week (so I haven't forgotten everything come Friday).

Little bits, often, will be my way to go I think.


*This was a really good read regarding this concept. Worth checking out if you haven't already.


Monday, 28 January 2013


Definition of commitment


  • 1 [mass noun] the state or quality of being dedicated to a cause, activity, etc.: the company’s commitment to quality I could not fault my players for commitment
  • [count noun] a pledge or undertaking: I cannot make such a commitment at the moment

  • 2 an engagement or obligation that restricts freedom of action: with so many business commitments time for recreation was limited
I've been thinking a lot about commitment these last few weeks. Questions are being asked of me. Can you commit?  Are you ready to prepare for Shodan? Do you want to commit?Can you give 100%?
That last one is what's giving me pause for thought. 100%? 100% of what?
In terms of karate training the days of karateka devoting 100% of their time to training are long gone it would seem. Bygone days when students would live in the house of their Sensei - sweep his floors, tend his garden, mend his fence as part of their karate study are distant memories from another era.
This is karate for the modern age, and unfortunately for the vast majority of us (Western karateka for sure) the modern age means the (in)conveniences of modern life.
We have families. We work. We clean house. We have responsibilities and roles that need to be filled.
So where does that leave us? Given the 168 hours in a week my time (as a quick assessment) looks like this:
Now this doesn't include the time I spend dealing with staff who look after by brother (HR issues, wages, HMRC stuff) or the time I spend doing stuff for my Dad.
Hmmmm. Interesting. I spend a lot of time sleeping (trust me when I tell you that me with less than 8 hours sleep isn't healthy for anyone!) and a lot of time working. The kids and the house taking up a large chunk there too. For karate though.... I spend about 6.75 hours a week in the dojo (that's split over Monday and Friday and includes travel time).
When we talk about 100% it can't be in terms of time. 95.98% of my time is already taken up with things that are necessary for the smooth running of our family existence. So what does that leave? Is it effort we're talking about? Is it enough to give 100% effort in the 6.75 hours (the 4.02%) of time I'm in the dojo? Well, that's good, but it's probably not enough.
If I'm going to commit. To enter "the state or quality of being dedicated to a cause, activity". To "pledge or undertake" the next step on my journey to shodan. Then I'm going to have to find some % from somewhere. Some of that time allocated from other things is going to have to be turned over to time focused on karate. But where do you steal the time from? What is less important? What can be allowed to slide? Am I willing to let anything go? How badly do I want it? Do I have it in me?......now? or ever?
Am I ready to commit?
A more complicated question that one might think.
© Cookie Family Karate
Maira Gall