This last weekend was my first karate seminar, and as a new member to karate, I appreciated having the opportunity to attend one in my own community on Gabriola Island. On the first day, the instruction was divided into sessions that were each led by a different Sensai or Sempai. Each instructor had his own style but they all shared a thoughtful balance of discipline and humour. Their enthusiasm was contagious and it was clear that as long as I demonstrated my best spirit, it was ok that I made mistakes.
Each session had a rigorous warm-up that had me sweating and breathing hard. But the encouragement of the instructors and the spirit of my fellow karate students encouraged me to push myself. Like many people in today’s day in age, I get little exercise in my daily routine, so it felt great to feel my body work in the way it was built to: my heart was pumping fast, my lungs were expanded, and my muscles were engaged.
Karate basics were thoroughly broken down and repeated so that I could feel my brain and my body start to work together. At one point, we were separated into groups according to our belt level so that we could receive focused instruction. My kata was greatly improved with the help of Sempai Neil and Sempai Sherry during this session.
We certainly all deserved the social break that evening at Sempai Mike and Sempai EJ’s house, where we shared food, stories, and laughs. When I left that evening, I found that my three kids, aged 7, 10, and 12, were very reluctant to leave the kid-filled dojo with music blasting out of it.
The next day’s beach training brought more hard work tempered with good humour. Sensai Dean joked around about sinking in the sand and flicking wet drips with our kicks, but at the same time he asked for us to stay focused on our technique and to do our very best. He made sure to end the session by lining up the class in the sparkling ocean! Few of us could get in the chilly water without letting a few gasps and squeals escape, but many students took an even deeper refreshing plunge after class was over.
Thank you for this wonderful opportunity.