There’s nothing quite as humbling as starting over. When you’ve invested so much time and energy into progressing and evolving something, only to have to begin again.
I’ve studied martial arts my entire life, but for one reason or another, I’ve never been able to reach black belt. Whether it was available resources, finances, conflicting family obligations, work, or Covid (thanks a lot, 2020), there’s always been something holding me back. The closest I ever got was Dahn Bo Nim rank in Kuk Sool Won — that’s a black belt candidate. I was only 4 of 8 tests away, but life had other plans.
Through careful research, I found the Shotokan Karate Online — a strictly online school for martial arts. And after much deliberation with my pride and ego, I’ve decided to start over.
Today was my first day of Shotokan Karate. I’ve learned from various styles and systems throughout my life. I was conflicted on what style would be best and what my focus should be. I chose Shotokan for several reasons:
- Being a Japanese (more specifically, Okinawan) style, I feel more connected to my grandfather who would tell me stories of when he was stationed in Okinawa during the Korean War. He’s partly responsible for my love of martial arts.
- I’m a HUGE fan of history and older cultures, and Shotokan is a traditional martial art deeply rooted in its history.
- I’ve always been an admirer of Japan and Japanese culture. I’ve spent countless hours reading history books on the samurai and shinobi (aka, ninja). I love the work of Akira Kurasawa **bows in respect**. I practically lived vicariously through Ryo Hazuki while playing Shenmue — I even learned a bit of Japanese along the way.
So now I’m once again donning a white belt on a new martial arts journey. This will be a humbling experience starting from the beginning once again. But as Bruce Lee once said, “Empty your cup so that it may be filled; become devoid to gain totality.”