Een memorabel karate weekend

Bunnik, 27 en 28 oktober 2012

Elk jaar organiseert Holland Shotokan Karate een seminar in de herfst. Dit jaar komt het verslag van Diana, sinds kort in Nederland en nu trainend in Den Haag. Veel leesplezier! Aan het eind van het verhaal vind je ook nog de kyutest resultaten.

A memorable karata weekend – by Diana Vlad

This seminar was a worthwhile experience. It was the first I ever attended, and boy am I glad I did! I have only trained here in The Netherlands since July. Before, I’ve trained under Sensei Cameron Greenhall in Calgary, Canada in the Renbukai tradition. It is not too different from Shotokan, but there are certain key differences. For instance, Shotokan requires that the hips be turned outwards when doing zenkutsu dachi, such that the shoulders are not square, whereas in Renbukai, it requires that the shoulders and hips point forwards. However, these differences per se do not matter. What matters is that one train properly under any style he or she decides to undertake. This is the point that I will cover in this short memoir.

What I most admire about the seminar and about Shotokan Karate of America in general, is its spirit. It emphasizes persistence and the importance of improving our technique, stamina, focus, and above all else, character. It was beautiful to watch everybody striving hard and maintaining an unyielding enthusiasm throughout the entire weekend. It was an honor to have met these amazing people, and I look forward to seeing them again in the near future. It was an honor to have had Stefan as our instructor. He provided clear-cut explanations that were straight to the point. It was truly a remarkable feeling to be taught by him. Everyone was just so helpful. Thank you Adriana for your encouragement and the many tips you have offered me. Thank you Kees for reminding me always to look my opponents in the eyes. Thank you Jeroen for being such a hard opponent and providing me with a challenge during kumite! This seminar has definitely been a step forward for improving my self-confidence, not just in the dojo, but in everyday life. After all, karate is supposed to be a way of life; it teaches and disciplines us to be good human beings.

I consider myself lucky to have become a part of this community. I learnt so much at the seminar, for which I am very grateful. I learnt that I must pay more careful attention to my form, I learnt to appreciate the power of the kiai, I learnt that I must deliver strong punches yet be gentle, I learnt more about working with different kinds of people possessing different habits and abilities. I learnt to be mindful and responsible for all that I do. And finally, I learnt that what matters most in the end is not the perfect execution of techniques, but the spirit within: to remain focused on the target, and to be confident. I think we know we have mastered these things when our kiai comes out strong from deep within the diaphragm, when we do not hesitate to block or to strike, when we breathe fluently such that one kata is completed in one single breath, when we are in time with our opponent and can predict his next move. At times it was psychologically challenging especially when we had to do the same moves or the same kata over and over. Other times it was mentally challenging when doing kumite, and still other times it was emotionally challenging, during the kue test when making a mistake. I remember when I was doing sanbon kumite, I was feeling very stressed because I was not able to block the incoming punches fast enough and the reason was because I was not moving back far enough. I remember feeling self-conscious and angry with myself, but one thing the seminar taught me: don’t display your frustration, which I didn’t, I made sure to keep my emotions tucked inside and carry on with the kumite. The seminar was emotionally challenging also in another sense. Being among others doing the same thing as me, wearing the same uniform, I was reminded that in form I was equal to everyone else; all I have to do is improve my leadership skills. Karate to me is an invisible sword that I wear on me all of the time, there to protect me from the worst of enemies: myself. I must defeat my own insecurities and fears first and foremost. I stand by Bruce Lee’s quote: “if we cannot conquer our fears, then a life of 1000 years is a tragedy. If we can conquer them, then a life of a single day is a triumph”.

I particularly enjoyed running outside barefoot on frozen ground. I am not saying I found it fun or anything, I am saying I enjoyed going out of my area of comfort and “easy” life, and partaking into a different kind of challenge or endurance if you will. I always wanted to do something that would put both my physical strength, and also my spiritual strength to the test at the same time. It was a privilege to participate in, even if for a few minutes. After the running, when we practiced tekki shodan, I could barely feel my feet and I had the sensation that I was doing the kata wrong. I soon realized that my sensation was right. I realized right then and there, that one is his best critic only when put under hardship, only then can he admit his imperfections. In order to distract myself from the cold, I forced myself to focus on my technique and do it the best I could, despite the soil, grass, and frost beneath. I will never forget this phrase by Master Ohshima, with which I will conclude my memoir: “We are experts at babying ourselves.”

Thank you everyone for making this a memorable weekend!


Tot slot hierbij de resultaten van de afsluitende kyu-test, allen van harte gefeliciteerd!

Diana: 7e kyu

Andrea: 6e kyu

Daniela: 5e kyu

Oscar: 5e kyu

Nuno: 5e kyu

Natasja: 4e kyu

Cheyenne: 3e kyu

Jurgen: 3e kyu

Hugo: 2e kyu

Assing: 2e kyu