Thanks to Sensei Phil whose FB post inspired me to share my story. My karate journey continues to get better and better.
My Karate journey started in July 2015 aged 49 with my then 6 year old daughter Lilybelle. My main motivation to start was a hope that my daughters would become black belts in their late teenage years so they could defend themselves if they had to.
As a parent, I wanted to lead by example and I too had a keen interest to take up karate for fitness, defence, but most of all inner peace.
Every week I see parents, and very committed parents at that, sitting in our Dojo’s for 1 or 2 hours while their sons and daughters train. I encourage you to join in, put a Gi on and start your own karate journey alongside your children. It’s truly life changing. I haven’t been this fit since my twenties and in the last 6 months or so I’ve shed about 8 kgs.
Admittedly, I’ve done this in conjunction with gym and diet too, however Karate has been at the heart of my motivation. I want to improve my fitness and wellness to be able to increase my endurance for karate.
So my daughter and I started together as white belts and just like anything new, the movements felt a little foreign and awkward to me as I was most definitely overexerting as well.
We graded to yellow at the end of 2015 but when 2016 came around, my daughter did not want to start back. (Possibly a little overwhelmed by the huge grading at the end of the previous year). While I definitely wanted to continue, I had also lost some momentum with attendance. I was only doing a one hour class per week at the time.
I Walked Into a Den of Black Belts
After a handful of months, I eventually got back into the swing of things and decided to go to a second class during the week at the Peninsula Monash Uni. Unbeknown to me, it was actually a senior class and as a yellow belt (8th Kyu) I walked into this new class only to face a sea of black belts along with 4th Dan instructor Sensei Paul.
It was a big change from my then regular Dojo where the highest belt was green!
I immediately felt displaced, however I was made to feel very welcome by Sensei Paul.
IN his opening at the beginning of class, he said [Paraphrase] “Everyone is very welcome here, but we all train as black belts”
It’s something I’ve never forgotten.
That class along with all of the Senseis really gave me a boost in confidence and momentum and later that year in 2016 I graded to Orange. At that grading I met Sensei Rob who was very supportive and had an great energy. I asked where he taught and I started attending his class and have never looked back.
I actually changed my “home” dojo from where I had started to Sensei Phil’s Dojo.
I have met wonderful people here and always look forward to training. My mate and fellow brown belt, Dave told me about Sensei Kevin’s class and I started going to his class too.
I had progressed to red belt (4th Kyu) by mid 2018 and was pleased with my progress however I hadn’t given up on my hope of my daughters (now numbering 3) becoming black belts. I knew the trigger for action had to start with my oldest girl Lilybelle.
Then a couple of months later opportunity struck!
Lilybelle had been invited to a sleepover birthday party. Honestly, I thought grade 3 was way too early for sleepovers, but I made a deal with her… “Come to 10 karate classes and you can go to the sleepover party.”
She agreed! The deal was made and she honoured her part. Good for her.
After the 10 classes was done, I started pushing my luck…
Motivating My Kids and Makin' Deals
“Lilybelle, you’ve already done 12 classes on yellow belt (8th Kyu), you just need another 12 for orange (7th Kyu). You could get an orange belt for Christmas (2018)!”
And guess what? She got it. Proud dad!
This year, she got her green belt (6th Kyu) and is now on target for blue very soon. But more importantly, she is loving her karate as well as her karate girl friends.
Lilybelle now tells me she really wants to achieve a black belt before she turns 18.
WOW! I’m floored! “One down, two to go” I say.
And second daughter Millyrose on track to come back soon after her start to yellow and then stopped.
What I love about Karate, GKR and this little piece of region 7…
I feel blessed to be in the company of great humans who are continually in the pursuit of bettering themselves. That’s inspiring!
Especially, I feel exceptionally grateful to have great men such as Sensei Phil, Sensei Kevin and Sensei Daniel who are passionate, caring and masterful teachers in my life on a weekly basis.
I successfully graded here to 2nd Kyu – Brown Belt with one black tip. As I already had the brown belt, the hard work at the grading was for a piece of black electrical tape : ) Worth it!
If you are considering taking up Karate (come on Mums and Dads – it’s great!) or a perhaps you’re a lower belt who is just starting out, I give you this one piece of advice…
JUST KEEP TURNING UP!
Follow that, work hard and then one day, almost by magic, your inner Karateka will appear to you.