By Dave Moore
When I was in my teens, I had to participate in a cultural fair as part of some class in high school. One of my classmates was studying karate. Somehow or another, we hit on the idea of doing a karate demonstration even though I didn’t know any karate. So my classmate took two of us over to the dojo and taught us kyukumite #1. The classmate who knew karate talked through the demo while the other classmate and me did kyukumite #1. I liked the teacher of the dojo (T. Rose) and asked my parents if I could start studying there.
I had multiple reasons for wanting to study. I was bullied a lot as a teenager. I was a large, tall young man. I didn’t like to fight. I wasn’t quick with the retort. I was the perfect target for hormone-fueled teenagers to show how they could put someone down to their friends. Learning karate gave me hope that if I ever did decide to fight back (spoiler alert: I didn’t), maybe I would win. Also, I really liked T. Rose.
I studied karate through high school and achieved green belt if I remember correctly. I went to college and promptly forgot all about it. After college, I returned to Massachusetts to work. I had gained a lot of weight in college. A friend of mine encouraged me to rejoin karate and use it to lose weight. I lost about 40 lbs by just eating reasonably and going to karate 2.5 times per week.
Karate has given me many things. Sanchin kata is a form of meditation for me. Visualizing it can help me weather emotionally intense situations. It helps me stay active. I feel great when I can pass on some of what Bob & T. Rose have taught me to others. So I got into it to learn how to defeat bullies and instead learned to calm my mind and spirit.
If you study karate, what has karate taught you? Drop a line to firstname.lastname@example.org and share your story with us. If you don’t study karate, maybe you should stop by and try a class with us — see what you get out of it!