Perfection of Character
One sensei once said during a class: “If you are putting your effort in karate, or any other thing, you have to be positive and strong, and give a 100%.” He said to me that one of the most important things in karate is the attitude. He showed the dojo kun (a set of rules of karate dojos) pinned on the wall: “The first karate rule is Perfection of Character. You have to strive for improving yourself, be aggressive and ferocious.” It does not mean you need to be all angry around, it means you need to show in your attitude that you are giving all your fighting spirit to be the best you can be.
When I had started doing karate it was only a new activity I did not completely understand, with a set of etiquette rules. I wasn’t going consistently, same as my previous hobbies (grappling, guitar…), because although I was enjoying it, there was always a tug of war between time spent with work and time spent in other things. I had the habit to pressure myself to keep working overtime, even if I wasn’t being as productive as in normal hours. Being frequently at the edge of the time for karate class, it was easy to say no at the moment and stay sit in front of the computer. Until this behavior consumed me.
Although it is the first time I truly engage in a martial art, I always felt I had a knack for it, simply because every time I am in a class, I always felt I belonged in there. When in a dojo, it is the only moment I free my mind, forget everything, and focus on working hard to get the most out of the class. And it is so good to free the mind; it is the best feeling ever!
To emerge out of a pit of darkness and emptiness, in July this year I decided to cut that rope, no tug of war anymore. I started going three days a week, and no matter how horrid my day had been, if I went to karate and gave my best, I would be smiling back home. I have been going consistently, and to achieve this discipline and attitude, I had only to notice how good this is to me when other things are not so good, and how free I feel at that time, while at other times I feel trapped.
Karate has not been only a set of fighting techniques, or a fitness activity, or a self-defense training. Karate teaches me that I have to strive for perfection of character, and be the best human being I can be. The dojo is my training ground for battling the darkness in life, and “the more I sweat in training, the less I bleed in battle.” At the moment this is “jinkaku kansei ni tsutomeru koto” (perfection of character) for me.
Be the best you can be, in Karate and /or in Life!