Saturday, January 03, 2009

Training for training

Do I need to get back in shape before I go back to class? Or, should I go back to class to get back in shape?

As I think about it, I realize that there's a fair amount of nonsense in my thinking. Having heard for years about being a black belt and setting an example and blah blah blah blah, I feel like when I'm in class, I want to be in good shape.

I'm going to set aside these questions of appearances since I probably make a lot less difference to anybody else than I do to myself and also, it's too wrapped up in appearances and ego to take seriously. Instead, I'll focus on what makes sense for my own health and fitness.

As background, I'm coming back from being out of class for two months. And it's been many months longer since I last felt that I was in good shape. Last Sunday (I'm writing this on a Saturday morning), I had my first work out in months, a tentative circuit around the LA Fitness gym.

Since then, I've been at LA Fitness daily doing a 20 minute circuit of weights and abs, working from 10 minutes of cardio at the start of the week to 20 minutes yesterday, and working in around 20 minutes of stretching. I've done a few kata, some kicking, and I've also been stretching in the evenings.

Yesterday, I realized that the dojo had opened and I could have made it to the Friday Night Happy Hour class. But, since I had worked out in the morning and was stiff, it was a bad time to come back. Being stiff is more likely to create problems and injuries. Today, Saturday, there's a class around noon. But Saturday classes are sparring (bugo), do I want my welcome back class to be bugo? Is it wise? Will I over do it? Will I be a punching bag?

Otherwise, I can keep going to the gym this weekend. Maybe attend their cardio kickboxing class Saturday morning to see how I hold up in a forty minute session. And then I start back in class on Monday which will be drills and kata. This had been my plan when I thought the dojo was closed until Monday.

Decisions, decisions....

1 comment:

John Lyons-Sensei Universal Goju Karate School said...


You set an example by going to class. By being there when the going is tough. As a black belt you have the right to choose how you train each day. You work all those years to to earn the rank of black belt. And when we get it we think I have arrived. Then reality sets in. It is then that we understand that attaining the rank of black belt just opens the door for the real training and understanding.

I explain to students this way:

You come in the door of the dojo and say "I can do that". You get a uniform, a white belt, and off you go. It's all a bit strange. But as time goes by you get better. Your rank changes. You feel more accomplished. Finally, you get to your brown belt rank (for some this may be red belt). This is the one just before black belt. you have alot of authority in the underbelt arena. When asked you hlep your instructor in the dojo. The lower ranked students look up to you. Then the big day comes. You test for your black belt and there it is. You get it. It's like going from being a big fish in the pond to being a little goldfish a large ocean of great white sharks and killer whales. You almost feel like you need to go back and re-learn everything over again.

What is the lesson here? It is that the study of martial arts is a metaphor for life. Like life it is a never ending journey. Go back to class. Do what you can do. You will find that you are not as bad a shape as you may think.

Peace and Blessings