This is how it works:
You walk in the door and everything else falls away.
“I’m tired. I’m sick. I’m overloaded. My body hurts.”
The good stuff too—“I’m getting steady magazine work. I’m almost done with grad school. I found somebody to smooch.”
None of this matters.
Training at the dojo is a glorious sloughing off of skin, the kind of training that can render the ego transparent.
And so things move ahead. Training becomes something that you do, are doing, will be doing, all the time. You do not yet dream in karate but you wish you did. You spend more time writing in your karate journal than you do returning phone calls, taking out the trash, opening mail. You bow in odd places and on accident—the entrance to work, the bathroom at the craft school, the mop sink behind the dining hall—because you are used to bowing at places where ritual movement takes place. You say “Yes, Sir” to perfect strangers and, oops, you sometimes say it to women, too, because you are used to politeness and surrender in the healthiest way. In other words, you’ve tapped into some primal propeller that keeps pushing you and the only thing that really feels like home (besides writing) is this: momentum, discipline, kinship through training.
I have to step it up. My knee flared up one month ago and I lost two weeks to it. The most recent two weeks has been at half mast. But if I can, this is what I want to do: 10 shino kata, 10 wunsu kata (1st direction, what I know), moving with punches, moving with blocks, and moving with kicks, sits ups for one minutes, 30 push-ups, and the six stances everyday. It’s got to happen if I’m going to test for yellow belt and it’s got to happen if I want to tighten and refine the skills I’ve gained to this point.
My first day in the dojo was December 1st. I lost one month to the residency and holidays. I lost two weeks to the knee. That’s 8 weeks of solid training that I have had. I’m going to set the above goal for two weeks. If my knee allows, I will do everything I can to achieve that goal.