A year ago today I wrote with excitement and anticipation about a series of advanced workshops being led by visiting instructors. I also followed up on the actuality of the experience. We aren’t having any visitors anytime soon, but I have plenty to look forward to this year (more on that later). Whilst it’s great having other instructors come and show us something a little different, I am secretly not all that unhappy that this winter so far looks to be a bit quieter than last year on that front.
Reason: I have more than enough on my plate right now in terms of my learning journey, and frankly I just want to keep my head down (so to speak), stay in the zone, and work on what I need to work on, without any distractions or interruptions.
An online acquaintance shared her experiences (which I totally relate to) in her post last week. I feel I should follow suit, and record how I am feeling now so I can look back on it next year and reflect. Indulge me if you will!
I am currently training harder and more than ever. Regular classes have fallen into somewhat more of a predictable pattern, which has allowed me a chance to really consolidate basics and work on incorporating these into kata and kumite. It isn’t that I disliked the type of classes we used to have, but the new structure has given me different opportunities for growth. Apart from attending classes more days in the week than I don’t, I am also practising whenever and where ever I get the opportunity (this sometimes attracts a few strange looks or comments but generally my colleagues and family are used to it now!).
I am at a stage where I want to know and do everything all at once. I am patient (as realistically I know this is going to take time), but at the same time I am not (mostly because I want to do everything while I am still well enough and young enough to manage it). I have also, of late, developed rather an obsession for kata, which is probably not a bad thing considering how many kata our style actually has!
Kata is something that fascinated but scared me until about a year or so ago. Well to be specific, learning kata scared me. And practising kata on my own also scared me because I was never sure if I was doing it right.
In the last 18 months I have been introduced to more kata than I have fingers and toes to count them on. Trying to retain and improve the ones I know best, whilst ingraining the newer ones is still hard work. However, because I have now been through the process of meeting a new kata for the first time several times before, I know what to expect.
I know I will feel like it’s going to take ages for me to get it. I know it will sometimes feel like I won’t get it. I know that it will be a while before I can get the pattern enough to work on it confidently by myself. However. I also know that I have a strategy, I have a system, and I have support. I know that even though the kata keep getting harder, the time to get things moving and shaking isn’t necessarily more each time, because the more I learn the more associations I can make, which, in turn makes it easier.
And this is why I keep asking for more. Even though I am being given more without having to ask, and even though I sometimes feel out of my depth, and even though I get the feeling I am about to bite off more than I can chew let alone swallow, I still ask for more. So if you happen to see me look like I am in trouble, remember this: I may not be doing the crawl with perfect breathing and strokes but I am treading water madly. Right now I am overjoyed, not overwhelmed; I am engaged, not engulfed, and I am most definitely waving, not drowning.