So many strikes, with so many purposes. Executed with precision, deliberation, and perfection, they formed near-perfect forms; each one struck more than just the air. A story came to light in the eyes of each practitioner.
Watching the high ranks practice their poomse’s, an ache slammed into me. Unexpected, unforeseen, I hurt with a dozen realizations.
What am I doing here? Why do I go to Tae Kwan Do?
I haven’t practiced a single Kata in over a month. I haven’t worked on any of my karate skills in weeks. I miss doing team kata with my fiancé. I miss hearing our Sensei call out instructions & counts.
Poomse’s, Katas, forms…..they are all so similar yet so very different. Why, in the midst of a class that I have come to love, did I suddenly long for the old practice? Why is it that no matter how much I practice, I feel hollow? It’s never enough, it’s never quite right….the current of passion that thrills through me with every kata is not there.
Where is my passion? How can I love two classes for such different reasons and miss the one so badly?
I dwelt on these things through the end of class and on the drive home.
Understanding hit me hard – it seems that tonight my thoughts cannot come gently…only in sudden, overwhelming bursts.
The last month has been consumed with “what can I get out of martial arts?” Health, strength, speed, the betterment of myself, a good attitude, overall learning. Something is wrong and I don’t understand why it could be.
Images of slow, deliberate strikes repeated over and over came to my sight. Hours of practicing, going until my muscles ached.
That hasn’t happened in a long time. Instead, my time is devoted to overall training. Endurance, fitness, improvement.
These are good things. They are helping me a great deal. But that’s not why I joined karate. It’s also not why I joined Tae Kwan Do.
My interest in martial arts began with myself. All of the things that I mentioned before…”what can I get out of it?” Every answer was a good one, and I’ve got all of those things now. But by the time I was able to begin my training in Karate, my perspective in life had changed. First I found out that my brother also wanted to learn martial arts. Second, I had come to the realization that my body is a temple. One which is not for me, but for God. I was not treating that temple with the reverence that it deserved. A few months before my first karate class, I started doing stretches and exercises with my siblings.
I have AWANA to thank for directing me to the bible verses that finally showed me why this is important. 1 Corinthians 9…..Paul’s words inspired me. I wanted to actually treat my body as a temple and discipline my body for God.
I learned something through karate that I’ve never learned anywhere else. Perfecting something for Him is an act of worship. Discipline is beautiful. It is worth working for, and it is never going to be the same.
It wasn’t the difference between my two classes that made me ache inside tonight. It was the reasoning behind them. This month I’ve forgotten why martial arts are important to me; it’s not about what I can get out of them. I practice martial arts to see what I can put into them. Into my body, the temple that I was given care of by God. Through martial arts I want to show God how much I love Him, & how I want to use what He gave me with honor and responsibility.
In giving this to God, he also gave me things I never expected through martial arts. 🙂 Relationships developed between both of my classes – I can trust my teammates in ways that I can’t trust most people. As for my fiancé, he was my first example of what it looks like to glorify God with karate. I miss doing team kata with him, and training with him. He’s taught me so much, and I thank the Lord for that.
My Tae Kwan Do class is full of people I look up to, enjoy being with and want to learn from. There are also kids who might benefit from my example, so long as I make it a good one. It hasn’t been the best of late, but I want to see what I can put into my classes – both of them. Yep, I’m going to find a way to practice both again. I miss it so much. If I can be of use to these kids, and to the adults & upper belts (they know more than me, and they are better than me, but sometimes a good student is invaluable to a good teacher…a lesson I learned from my own students.) I’m done looking out for me. It’s time I go back to the reasons I learned these things in the first place.
This was written over a month ago (I need to remember to hit the publish button, seriously!!) but in this area of my life I still need practice, and continued discipline. In the weeks since I wrote this I’ve gotten the opportunity to get to know several of the kids. We play together, train together, and encourage one another. It’s improved the attitudes, skill sets, and stamina of all parties involved! 🙂 Furthermore, I have renewed my Karate training. Martial arts are not my highest priority at this time – due to my imminent departure my family takes precedence – but I will use them to the glory of God.