Friday, September 21, 2007

Another step on the path

Richard Rohrman-sensei, right, and me

My karate adventure moved a step forward today with my promotion to ikkyu (1-kyu), the level immediately before one tests for shodan, or first-degree black belt.

As with all promotion tests at the dojo where I train, this one was unannounced. When I walked in the door, though, the presence of several black belts, some of whom I haven't seen in a while, was a tip-off. I'm sure glad I ate my breakfast this morning.

I can't begin to describe the benefits I've derived through seven years of training in karate, including more than four in the style I now study, Okinawan Goju-ryu.

The camaraderie and instruction are exceptional, and my doctors have pretty much ascribed my ability to adapt to the rigors of parathyroid cancer in large part to karate. So, you see, my very life depends upon karate, but not in the usual way.

I can't move with the grace and flexibility that I may once have had in greater measure, but to focus on just that would be to lose sight of the meaning of karate completely and hopelessly. It's much more than that.

Passing this test enables me to say that I'm still here despite medical setbacks, and that life continues and the battle we all wage with ourselves is still engaged.

Now, it's time for a nap. I'm exhausted.


Brotha Buck said...

Great to hear. I put my son in Karate and he loves it, too.

Michael said...

Thanks, Buck! Yes, I would recommend the martial arts to just about anyone. And each one is valid; it's just a matter of finding the one that allows you to express yourself best.

Kozy said...

Rohrman-sensei and you are dignified.
It's a nice picture.

Michael said...

Thanks, Kozy-san. It's good to hear from you!

Matt K. said...

Congratulations on your new rank. I understand what you say about how much you depend on karate for your life - aikido was a huge factor in being able to stave off both type II diabetes and a nasty case of feeling lonely. Good luck and continued success.