What Karate Means To Me

Some people refer to karate as ‘’a way of life’’. To me, karate is more ‘’a part of life’’. It is a part of who we are, we don’t choose it, it chooses us. We can run from it, but it finds us. No matter what obstacles are faced in life, I have always been able to rely on karate to be there for me. When things get tough, and I feel like just giving in, something inside does not let me. I just keep fighting on and pushing through, no matter what, this is what karate has done for me.

My journey in Karate up to my Shodan grading is something a little left of field compared to most. I first started martial arts training at 15 years old with my uncle, who was a Shotokan and kickboxing trainer. My uncle saw the need for me as a young adolescent with a tough upbringing, a way for me to vent my anger. My uncle was worried that if I didn’t channel my aggression in the right way, I would have mixed with the wrong people and ended up a gangster thug. Especially coming from the type of people in the hood that we grew up in. He always felt that if I was not at the very least given some sort of guidance I would have ended up as a thug. Being somewhat very similar to my uncle, he wanted me to train in Martial arts to not only learn how to fight but how not to fight. My uncle saw a very strong kid and very talented. But also saw a nervous twitch that he could see me flipping and causing some serious damage somewhere along the line. So we started training together a couple times a week and I loved it!

At the time, I also played footy and was the captain of the Hillside Sharks footy team (I had been playing footy since I was 7). One day at footy training, I saw karate being performed in the Hillside community centre. I knew then that I wanted to concentrate on studying karate! It just drew me towards it! I then asked my uncle to come to see this school I found at the top of my street. He took me in to have a look and saw the passion in the karate that was being taught there and gave me his blessing to train there. Training in karate is something that has definitely had its challenges for me. The skills are hard enough to learn but the discipline to practice, be accountable and consistent has always been challenging for me. I have battled through depression, anxiety, grief, illness and injury through most of my karate journey, but for some reason I have always returned. Shushin Kai is that reason.

I have practiced martial arts for 16 years now. In-between my time at Shushin Kai I have tried taekwondo, a couple of other karate schools and styles, practiced Muay Thai and studied boxing. But in the end, Shushin Kai is where my heart is. At times I feel like the lost student, but always find my way home in the end. Through karate training, meditation, friendship and mentorship from my teachers and seniors, I have been able to keep battling on and not give up. I have learnt a lot about my character and developed my own skills in mentorship and teaching which have helped me in my everyday life. Most important to me is that karate has helped me channel my anger and put it into something productive rather than destructive.

Sensei Lincoln once said that I start and stop karate more times than he changes his socks. Not too long ago, due to yet another injury and illness (or excuse), I was about to give up karate once again. I was invited to Shihan’s house to have a chat with him and Sensei Lincoln. They were honest with me and hit me with the facts as usual. They said there was a reason I kept on coming back to karate. That no matter what I do, karate will always follow me and in a sense call out to me. This is true and I honestly can’t picture my life without karate in it. Karate isn’t “a way of life” it is “a part of life” a part of what makes me who I am.

During my Karate journey I have learnt many lessons. To describe the most important lesson Karate has taught me I will use a quote from one of my favourite movies. “Nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain't about how hard ya hit. It's about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward. How much you can take and keep moving forward.” Karate has taught me to never give up, never give in and to keep on moving forward into the man that I want to be, no matter the circumstances or the excuses, to overcome these obstacles that life throws at me and to come out the other end a better, happier person.

By Sean Carville 1st October, 2016

Sean Carville recommenced began training at karatedo on 11th February, 2012, at age 26 years. He was graded to Shodan on 8th October, 2016 at age 31 years.