It’s not that I’m falling out of love with karate…It’s that we no longer have any white belts in our class and I’m the one with the least amount of training, so practically everything we do is new, different, challenging, or all of the above. In the blue belt, I can no longer move like a beginner. Or at least, I’m not supposed to. I still need to know the basic movements and be able to break down a basic punch, kick or block to its most rudimentary layers. But now, what matters more, is working with advanced concepts rather than beginner basics.
I need speed and accuracy, first of all, and second of all, I need to be working from a fighting stance at all times. I need both presence of mind with each movement and the ability to always anticipate the next move. I need, above all else, to be able to flow.
None of these concepts come easily to me. I wouldn’t say I’m discouraged…just slightly lost and not entirely clear on how to proceed.
After class tonight, I asked Hanshi what I can work on at home besides kata. I used to practice my beginner basics – kicks, punches, blocks – but now, many of those moves only reinforce concepts I’m trying to move away from. They are the foundation, when I need to be honing my skills for the first floor of the building. So, Hanshi tells me to keep practicing my kata and to work with the kicks. He says try stances and moving between them rapidly with reverse punches that I pull back quickly. He says find a wall, a doorknob, anything I can put a little pressure on with one side of my body, and then kick with the outside leg.
There is something else that he didn’t say, and that has to do with focus. I’m still not sleeping much more than 6 hours a night because of being so busy with magazine work. It’s good work, but on top of 30 hours a week at the coffeehouse, 60 minutes a day of physical therapy (typically I do this from 6am-7am) and the remaining MFA work, and it’s all sorta adding up and dispersing my ability to focus.
Come June, I’ll have no more excuses. I must stop over-committing myself because it’s going to start costing too much.