What karate taught me



Since finding out when exactly rugby will start, I’ve been reflecting on how I’m finally going to be making the transition away from karate. I could say for once and for all, but who knows what the future will bring- perhaps I might end up making a return to karate in a couple of year. In saying that though, the chapter from the ages of 5 and 18 are going to be coming to a close. That sounds way more dramatic than I intended.  I don’t know about you but I feel like everything becomes more dramatic when you start thinking about them more in depth.

13 years is a very long time, especially when it’s at such a crucial transitioning stage in your life. I credit karate for having a huge part in making me the person I am. I missed out on a lot of ‘typical’ growing up things I guess, having missed a number of hang outs or parties because I had training or a competition. Soz but I was working hard for those tournaments- I wasn’t successful at what I did for nothing.  Although there were times I didn’t want to go to training or continue doing what I was doing, there was no chance I would just quit. It was a huge part of my identity and I wouldn’t change it. It taught me a lot of things, including:

→ Confidence
Karate taught me confidence and its many forms. It taught me how to be confident walking down the street, knowing that I had the skillset to overcome any potential obstacles. It taught me how to be my own person and focus on myself without giving in to what others thought I should do.

→ Discipline
The last point in confidence leads me onto discipline. In a social aspect, the discipline karate taught me prevented me from making questionable life choices like I’ve seen so many of my friends do. I suppose in a sense I missed out on them because I was always at training or at competitions so I didn’t really have to worry about social dramas. Why would I waste my energy on some petty 12 year old? I had a championships to win. In a more life/career/academic aspect, karate has taught me focus and ambition, as well as how to set goals and the importance of organisation.

2011 Sydney International- I was 13 here….and I’ve realised I haven’t aged much since..

→ How to fight (literally and figuratively)
Obviously, karate taught me how to defend myself. It taught me how to fight in case I was ever in a situation where I needed to protect myself. But karate also taught me how to fight for what I wanted. I mean, a number of things have taught me that, but I think karate has been the biggest influence. When I had a competitive goal, I did whatever I could to achieve it. I would fight to be at the top of my game. This kind of principle has easily been transferred into my daily life, whether it be with academia or anything else.

I’m the one in blue (credit to Aussies in Action)

→ Humility
Karate has taught me to be humble. It has taught me to be aware of my surroundings and it has taught me to be a respectful, disciplined person. Whilst I see other people I know get hyped up or walk around like they’ve got a broomstick up their backside, I do my best to stay as down to earth and calm as possible. Karate has taught me graciousness in defeat- even in the toughest losses. In that, it has taught me resilience. In winning, karate has taught me how to be thankful as well as respect whoever I have beaten to win- I have been there in their positions, I understand what it feels like to be so close yet so far. I don’t boast, but I am still proud of myself. I’m still over the moon that I have achieved what I wanted, but I don’t rub it in people’s faces or act like I’m God’s gift to the world.

Karate has taught me a number of things, and because of this, I have become the person I am. Because of these valuable lessons, I would recommend for anyone to take up karate if they’re considering it. Even if they’re just looking for a sport to do to stay fit and healthy, the benefits of karate will last a lifetime.

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