Shiryodo Karate is helping me beat performance anxiety.
I joined Shiryodo after spending three years watching my son grow and develop his skills to brown belt. The decision to join was easy after witnessing the close networks of friendships between the students. It was so refreshing to see no jealously, no negative energy, just a friendly supportive network of people all working towards a common goal for their own reasons and a positive spiritual energy which wound them tightly together.
Getting onto the dojo floor for the first time was a nerve wrecking experience, but that initial apprehension soon subsided once I began to get stuck into the training. Being a white belt and training in a separate group with other white belts felt good. The support was reassuring and training other novices meant that we were all in the same boat. Even though the moves were familiar after watching them from the sidelines, everything felt new. Getting used to the bowing order on entering and leaving the dojo floor and saying ‘Osu’ after every command took a little getting used to, but after 20 classes, the etiquette began to sink in and by the time I came to grade for the first time, this was second nature.
At my first grading I was very nervous to get everything right, there was a rush of adrenaline I had never experienced before. Whilst it was much more exhausting than the classes, the one minute marathon of chudan tsuki’s and one minute marathon of mai geri’s were very satisfying and the energetic sound of the ‘Kia’s’ sang from within the dojo and right through the body, feeling almost like the spirit of the seven virtues were hammering there way into the sole. With the written examination, my fellow students and I worked together to complete the test, starting the bond of new friendships. This was the start of the feeling that training at Shiryodo Karate was much more than just fitness and spending time with my son, it was becoming a lifestyle choice.
For the next four years, I continued my training, working hard on every new challenge in the syllabus presented to me with 100% determination. With my poor coordination I struggled to implement moves even though I could picture them clearly in my head. I tried and tried and tried, eventually mastering each move as it etched into my muscle memory. To add to these challenges I have had to cope with the usual focus split between full time work in a demanding job, domestic chores and my training which meant every lesson was like learning new moves over and over. Karate has become so important, giving me the headspace to relax after work and give the chance to keep work from entering the home whilst maintaining my strength, fitness, moral values and helping in building confidence in performance skills. Karate has helped me break through many barriers of myself, and no matter how hard I have found learning the syllabus, at no point have I ever wanted to quit, in fact the struggle has made me more determined than ever to break through the barriers and challenges that were my nerves in an attempt to change once and for all.
Every student at the dojo I have trained with has played such a big part of my journey to get this far and I have learned so much from everyone. Shiryodo Karate is such a special place for me and the students are like family. This community spirit is what makes the training so pleasurable as well as the special people taking the classes and running the dojo. I hope I can continue to develop and become a great asset to the dojo as Shihan, every Sensei, every Senpai is right now.