Sometimes things sit in my mind and I can’t let them go easily. Something happened the other day at karate that I just can’t seem to shake because it was extraordinary to witness.
People that only know me from the dojo must think I’m a neurotic mess – which truth be told – isn’t entirely incorrect but it’s better masked in my everyday life. I find comfort and solace in things I do well so I can perform them with ease. Public speaking, designing marketing collaterals, and blogging are all things I do with relative ease. So if you know me in those circles you’d have a completely different view of who I am than what gets shown in karate. There it seems to be a lot of doubt, struggle, and challenge. I’m starting to think those very things are why I like it. Overcoming these challenges each day in small ways is helping me tremendously.
So what happened the other day that I can’t stop thinking about? We were working on distance and accuracy with our strikes and it only comes with knowing your body and practice. The drill was to attempt to throw a punch to come close to our partner’s hand but not hit them. After each punch the person would slightly move their hand allowing us to make these tiny adjustments. These adjustments will increase the knowledge of our bodies and our reach and increase our accuracy.
Sensei Dave often will demonstrate how the drill will work with a person in class. This person is called a uke. For this particular drill he chose Julia a young girl who is also a purple belt. Her hair was tied into a high ponytail and she had some wispy hair floating to the left of her face. Sensei said he was going to demonstrate this accuracy with her hair. He then punches directly at Julia and barely grazes her hair. The hair on the back of my neck stood up!
I don’t doubt the accuracy of Sensei and I know he has over thirty years of experience and literally hundreds of students that have trained with him. What I couldn’t shake was the courage of Julia. She stood steadfast and didn’t even blink! I got goosebumps! He showed several other punches and she was just as strong, fixed, and focused as the first one. I think my jaw was on the floor for several minutes.
I wondered if I would’ve behaved the same way? Could I see a punch come my way and not instinctively flinch? I often step on my “fake brake” when Jeff is driving and I think he’s getting too close to another car! I don’t want to do it, I just do it. Would I have the courage of Julia?
When I came home I told my husband I think I need Sensei punch me. Through his puzzled expression I explained how I frequently struggle with trusting the process and maybe that lack of trust is what’s holding me back. Maybe I need to get a highly accurate punch close to my face. If I just trust the process I’ll be fine, if not, I get a valuable lesson about trust and a $200 ER copay!
Each day in karate is an adventure. I learn more about myself and what I want to be. After that class, I learned I want to be more like my teenage friend Julia: trusting, strong, and courageous.