Over the past few months the Applied Karate Association have seen the ever progressive AKA Junior and Cadet Summer Competition (results shown below), the black and brown belt course with dan grading with Sensei Emma Williams introducing her work on the bunkai of hangestsu and multiple intense and developmental squad sessions run by Sensei Keith Williams. So why so much?, why is it that people feel that they need to do more? why is training once or twice a week not enough for some?, is it because they find it easy? or maybe that they just have so much more free time? .......or is it because of the lobster in us all!
Dr. Abraham Twerski on responding to stress and fear reminds us of the catalysts for growth and helps to highlight reasons why we find ourselves stepping forward, be it at courses, gradings or competitions (as a volunteer or competitor), each creates opportunities, opportunities for feedback and growth.
At the AKA Junior and Cadet Summer Competition there were multiple outstanding performances, some ranking for the first time and some winning multiple disciplines on the mats.
But as always it is the journey that takes place before that first step on the mat that is where the real hard work happens......
"This week has been horrible. My daughter has had a tough time with some mean girls at school and has been crying from the minute she wakes up until the time she goes to bed. She's been begging me to let her change schools so it will all be over?At one stage she even tried to bite her own lip to make it bleed so she would get sent home from school. She is a 6yr old little girl? So when today was her 1st karate tournament I thought it would be a welcome distraction, then when she saw how big the hall was and how many people were there she freaked out and the tears we've seen so much of this week were back. My heart sunk again, my little girl being so unhappy is devastating and again I felt so helpless. Then upstep her Senseis, they were so supportive and encouraging and she looks up to them all so much it really helped her gather herself together. She was still unsure though until an older girl who was also competing stepped up and offered to do the Kata with her. The older girl probably won't have realised what she did that day but by supporting my daughter make that 1st move it gave her the confidence to go on and compete all day. She now has someone new to look up to and with that confidence she went on to win 2 out of 3 of her 3 step rounds and only just missed out on a trophy. I watched her confidence grow each time she competed and more importantly her smile was shining bright again. I sat down with her after and as she clutched her medal tightly I asked her....
'has competing had been scary?
'Yes Daddy really scary.'
'As scary as going to school this week? ' I asked
Her response: 'Yes, but I did it Daddy and I won a medal!'
'Yes you did princess and so now you know you can do anything you set your mind to right?'
'Ok Daddy I'll go to school Monday.' "
From first competition fears to the grading that all dream about, the transition from kyu grade (coloured belts) to Dan grade (black belt). As with all gradings there is always a training session first, but when you have been training for 6 years for the moment one further session is never a bad thing.
On this particular grading 3 siblings that have trained together from the very start all took their Dan grades at the same time, just ponder on that thought for a second and remind yourself that the outcome is not predetermined. Think about the emotional pressure if you are the one that passed when your other brother or sister did not, what about if you were the one that 'failed' when the others achieved, or maybe worse still, what if you were the parent! But why, why should you ever view failure as an option? What if there is only ever feedback regardless of outcome? Pressure that you can use to help free you from the shell and feedback that you can use to grow further in all walks of life?
Masatoshi Nakayama Sensei, direct student of Funakoshi Gichin, the founder of Modern day karate, shares 'the ultimate goal of karate should be the attainment of a developed moral character built through hard and diligent training'. So take pride in the ways you put yourself and others under pressure and give yourself credit for creating the opportunity and the catalyst for growth.