My Life as a Karateka

Came across old footage of Masters Nakayama, Nishiyama,  and Kanazawa practicing Shotokan self-defense. I love this kind of thing, and love the historicity of it all. We are watching men who helped shaped Shotokan into the martial art it is today.

I’ve always been a big fan of Kanazawa. He’s the man defending himself at the beginning of the video. I love his work at the table; good stuff.

This may bore some of you, but I used to be pretty heavily involved in martial arts. I started off in Isshin-ryu but college got into the way. Late nights studying multidimensional calculus and modern physics cut into my free time. Imagine that!

Later I went into Shotokan karate. Shotokan is known as a hard, linear style. I took to it in a big way. I was one test away from getting my brown belt.  I even trained a little in kung fu, but not a lot to speak of. Shotokan was my main focus. I participated in a few tournaments and got a couple of trophies, but trophies were never my main interest.

I didn’t care about competing against others. I only cared about competing against myself. I got pretty good at it.

Recently I have thought about getting back into Shotokan. There is a dojo in Arlington but that’s about 50 minutes away. That’s a little too far to drive several times a week. But I don’t know. There’s a Wado-Ryu place nearer, and at least that is traditional Okinawan karate, but I’m not sure I want to relearn a whole new style.

It’s been long enough, if I do get back into Shotokan it would be a relearning process anyway. The only other style that interests me is Krav Maga, and there are a couple of places I could go to study that. Well, one in particular, because this is a style that is often taught by some rather shady people who took a course and then were “proficient” enough to teach. So you always have to do your homework before you start training in any style within your area.

I would love to jump into judo, but there are no judo places around here. (It’s Texas, folks.) Anything else, like taekwondo, MMA, kung fu styles, and others don’t interest me much. Maybe kung fu. Wing chun. I don’t know. Maybe I am too invested in my years of Shotokan. Maybe it’s time to shift to another style.

Of course, I’m getting pretty old. I don’t expect to do much in any style other than get myself toned up and stretched. I’m not out to prove anything. I know my limitations.

So I have been thinking about this and I believe I will drag out my old gi and books and start going through the Shotokan basics like kihon and kata myself. Start off by doing the stretching and strength exercises, of course. Until a Shotokan dojo opens up closer to me, that’s about my only option.*

Meanwhile, I can always watch these historic videos! 🙂

*I’ve also thought about getting back into golf. But that’s another blog post for another day.

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