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A New Playground

Training is hard. I am not talking about injuries, or sore muscles, or the emotional roller coaster that is inevitable when punches, kicks and chokes are involved. Those things are all there, but sometimes the hard part is just the constant going to class. Going when you are tired. Going when you are feeling lazy. Going when you would rather just sit on the couch eating chips and watching reruns of Game of Thrones. 

It is all this going that is the hardest part. So it helps to have some extra motivation; techniques you are working on, friends you are looking forward to seeing in class, an upcoming promotion, or even the delicious cold beer you are going to have after sparring. Whatever gets you there.

But sometimes you lose your drive anyway. Maybe your favorite training partner quits. Maybe you had a long work day of your boss being a jerk and you just want to lie down. Maybe you get a new job. Maybe you didn't get promoted when you thought you would. Maybe your back hurts. Maybe someone in your life has disappointed you, and is not at all who you thought they were. Maybe you just aren't having fun anymore. 

If you read this blog regularly you know that I love to talk about the ups and downs of training. If you read this blog regularly you also know all about the karate politics, and the spazzy, smashy white belts, and the herniated discs, and the Kyoshi promotion, and an awful lot about my daughter Maya. 

Regular readers, know that you are loved and appreciated. And this post is for you. 

I recently left my jiu-jitsu school, a place I trained for over five years. There are many, many reasons for this. Some of them involve other people's personal business that will not be discussed here. Some of them are schedule related. Some of them are money related. Some of them have to do with commuting. Some of them come from that list right up there. You can guess which ones if you want but I am not here to say anything negative about anyone, so I would ask you to please do the same. (Even those of you who really, really want to. You know who you are and that is what the bar is for!) 

In my world, five years is not a long time to be doing anything. I have been in karate for 26. But it is long enough to have acquired some skills, to have made some friends, to have earned a blue belt. It is long enough to have set some goals and then changed them and then changed them again. But sometimes, things just aren't working. Not arm bars. Other things.

There is a wonderful freedom to decisions that are not marginal. Often things could go either way and you go back and forth between columns like a ping pong ball. Sometimes it is easier to just flip a coin. But occasionally there is a choice that feels one hundred percent right for you, and it is a pleasure to make that choice. 

Over the next few months I will be teaching karate in a public school, hopefully more than one. Many many tiny children will walk on and off the dojo floor. I will practice my katas and put on my sparring gear on Fridays so I can really enjoy that beer afterwards. And I will still be doing jiu-jitsu, both in my own dojo and elsewhere. 

But still, it helps to have a goal, something that gets you off the couch on those days when Netflix is a little too appealing. And my goal right now is a very simple one: have fun. That's all. I am sure there will be more later. But right now I just want to enjoy my time on the mats, enjoy the things that my body is learning to do. 

Quite simply, I just want to play.

If you have trained with me in the past five years know that I respect you and I wish you all the best. (Well, not you, spazzy smashy! But the rest of you, I wish the rest of you the best.) We are all on the same journey and I am sure I will see you again. 

Onwards and upwards, as they say. 
Onwards and upwards.


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