The Basics

June 22, 2015 by Rieshy

I'm a habitual questioner.  For instance, I sometimes question why I love to run.  I'm not fast, I'm not efficient, I don't run races or with friends, I don't run impressive, brag-worthy mileage and I don't have cute running clothes.  When it comes right down to it I just run because it makes me feel 7 years old to have the wind whip past my face- and because no one talks to me when I run.   It's been a frustrating couple of months because I sprained my toe and have desperately missed my runs.

The sprained toe?  That leads nicely to my real topic.  My other loves are knitting and martial arts.  I did not sprain my toe knitting; I sprained it trying to do a spinning hook-kick.  My body turned, my foot rotated but my toe stayed put.  Ouch.  Turf-toe.

So why do I love martial arts?  Goju Shorei Karate and Jujitsu particularly?  I'm not young or naturally talented, I'm not Olympics or UFC bound.  I'm not ever going to be a Worlds anything but I love martial arts.  I love it with enough passion to not terribly mind a hyperextended elbow or the current huge bruise I'm sporting above my left eyebrow.   I love it enough that I hope I get to tap out for at least another 40 years.

But why?  And does knowing the why matter?  I've been pondering both these questions for a year or so and have finally come to some conclusions and happily none of the reasons include insanity or a higher than normal propensity towards violence.

To the Why of martial arts love:

For the sheer joy of movement.
For the sheer joy of doing something hard.
For the sheer joy of learning.

Knowing the why does matter, because of weeks like last week:

Weeks when I go to class with a sore toe that makes me feel clumsy.  Weeks when I go to the class and am asked to do a move that I know, that my sensei has spent endless time and energy covering and teaching, yet my body rebels and refuses to execute.  Weeks when I forget the sequence of a simple kata in front of everyone.  Weeks when I fail to stripe for testing and I feel like I've let my sensei down.  Weeks when I feel deflicted and awkward and every second of my 48 years.

Because I know why I love martial arts, weeks of failure don't steal my joy.  They don't make me quit.    Looking back on last week's failures, I still had a blast;  I moved through the air, I worked and failed but I worked hard, and I learned.

All in all it was a great week and the whys give me tenacity and determination.

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