Across the dojo floor – reflections on my first year of training (written December 2014)

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You looked so big and scary

When I entered that first day

And when you said: “Come train with us!”

I felt compelled to stay.

I was keen but unfamiliar

And I tried to do my best.

I felt so uncoordinated

Compared to all the rest.

I came back again the next time,

Determined to learn more,

And though yet to get too black and blue

I pulled up pretty sore.

But by then the bug had bitten

And that Sunday morning fix

Was the thing I craved the whole week through

While practicing my kicks.

I’d started on a journey

I had finally found my “way”

Each kick, each punch, each block, each strike

Improved gradually each day.

I got some white “pyjamas”

Though they’re now known as my Gi

My boxing gloves and mouth guard

I donned each week with glee.

I went to meet the other gang

who train up in Magill

Though t’may be “half way to Melbourne”

I keep going back there still

I went to Shihan’s workshop

On a kata so complex

I could barely e’en pronounce it’s name,

Yet I joined in with the best!

The day of reckoning arrived

The time had come to grade

I did not know what to expect;

I was somewhat afraid

It was a proud moment

To put on my yellow belt

And to see my boy get his as well

Just made my strong heart melt.

A tournament was close behind

I was hesitant to enter

But with a little prod from Sarv and you

I got in front and centre.

Another month on, I grade again

A black stripe and 9th Kyu

At least this time I sort of

Have worked out what I need to do!

And somehow we have reached the end

Of my first Karate year

It’s been fun and fast and furious

And I’ve enjoyed every minute here.

Each time I leave the sacred space,

I leave wanting to learn more

I’m so glad I left my comfort zone

And crossed the dojo floor.

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