We hope you enjoyed the time between Christmas and New Year’s! We have been practicing our kata and some other techniques. We have a 21 day challenge for you at the end of this post. For fun we went to a nearby state park for the night and came away with 5 lessons from the experience we want to take back to the dojo.
- Be in the moment. At the dojo we say “Ima” or being present. As we were hiking the woods and trying to follow the trail, we sometimes let our minds drift to things in the future or the past. The six mile hike was best when we stopped and listened to the sounds of nature. It was only then we saw the many birds and caught glimpses of the many deer that went on our path. We noticed things in nature, including big leaves, footprints in the mud at our feet and the remnants of the old ski slope including snow making equipment hidden just off of the path.
- Use the lessons from kick class to go over fallen trees. Several large trees were across the path as we were hiking. We got a chance to practice our inside and outside crescent kicks to easily go over the trees. It was fun. Also from kick class was a lesson in lifting the knees to kick. This came in handy as we climbed a steep hill on our way to the main trail from the side visit we took to see an historic house that was part of the state park.
- Practicing balance (fortunately for us we did not fall) was helpful as it had rained the day prior to our visit and we walked through a lot of mud on the trail. Of course the trail was not flat and we often slipped. As black belts we have learned lessons on posture and balance. Do you practice these lessons in your life? It is helpful when you need sure footing. We also recalled that keeping one foot grounded was a recipe for success when hiking on a muddy trail.
- Stay on the path to learn the most from class. We keep our chin up and focused on our surroundings. The trail was not as well marked as we would have liked. Leaves covered the path and made it sometimes difficult not to follow the deer trail versus the human trail. We enjoyed seeing the man made bridges as we knew at that point we were on the correct path. Keeping focused on our surroundings allowed us to see a few landmarks in the distance such as the nearby high school football field and a cell tower that we seemed to pass more than once on our journey.
- Stay in good physical shape. By regular training sessions at the dojo we maintain ourselves in good physical shape. We did not set any records on the hike in terms of speed—see point number one as we were in the moment. Our climb on our hike was 1, 096 feet, not Colorado hiking but a lot of up and down for Kentucky. We were warmly dressed for our 40 degree hike out in the woods and at times needed to think like black belts to see the hike through to the end. We did have a few obvious short cuts we could have taken. We also know that short cuts never benefit us in the long run and we stayed on the trail and took the hike as it came.
Great lessons from hiking in the woods for us that all apply directly to karate. Some of this we knew prior to joining karate of course as we have all hiked. For us, the dojo lessons were brought into focus when we noticed something out of place on the hike. I will not share the location so the secret stash of water guns will remain a secret. We did spot them on our six mile hike in what appeared like a spring stream where a pool would form. We were excited that the kids in the nearby area were using the local state park as a source of fun and adventure. I think we laughed on the hike as we discovered the stash of three water guns in the water. It was fun for us to see. At the dojo we need to practice good observation skills, especially when sparring. We used these skills and noted the potential threat.
Your New Year’s challenge from Sensei Glen and Sensei Mae is to practice one kata each day for the next 21 days. Are you able to spend less than 5 minutes a day practicing kata? See you in class at our new location soon.