What Karate Means To Me
Since I was young I always envisioned myself partaking in some form or martial art. I’d always been drawn to martial arts movies and even video games but never actually physically pursued becoming a marital artist. I guess the outside perception I had of karate stymied my passion in taking the step to begin a karate career. I had always viewed karate as having an almost military like environment, which disillusioned me somewhat. I’m unsure as to whether that perception was justified when I first created it in my mind but it has definitely been altered for me since I began training at Shushin Kai.
My early years were dominated by more mainstream physical activities given that my parents believed in a more traditional upbringing. I was guided into more team oriented sports such as football and cricket, the latter being where I spent most of my time up until my early twenties. The friendships made were the main reason I continued to stick with cricket and as my fiends slowly drifted away from the game due to different priorities in life, the game began to lose its shine for me also.
Soon after playing my last game of cricket I spent time trialling a host of different sports in a search to remain active, this being my primary reason for seeking out a martial art in which to study. It took me close to another decade to rekindle my interest in martial arts, more specifically Karate and since beginning my training I have constantly regret not taking the step much earlier. I’ve found that karate in particular is a far broader study than simply the physical aspects.
Although the physical component is what initially drew my interest, I’ve found that the mental and spiritual challenges have turned karate into a passion I can maintain indefinitely. The lessons I’ve learnt in facing my karate challenges have translated into my everyday life aiding me in dealing with larger life challenges such as the recent passing of my father, down to trivial life challenges such as public speaking. Karate for me has become more than a part of life, almost a way of life. Being challenged, struggling and eventually overcoming challenges within the dojo has given me the confidence to apply these same ethics throughout everyday life.
I firmly believe karate has been nothing but a positive influence in my life and through my studies I think that not only can I always become a better person but that hopefully I can help those around me to only become better. The challenge of rising through the grades provides a certain drive to continue my karate journey. However mostly for me it’s the pride I take in being able share some knowledge or technique which I’ve garnered from Shihan, Sensei or another more senior than myself, with a younger student and watching them progress and master it over time. Although at times Shihan would prefer me not pass on my limited knowledge, I always try and make myself available to others and aid them where I can.
I can no longer see my life going forward without karate being a constant. My life journey will run parallel with my karate journey as they have become one and the same and I’m excited for the infinite future learning opportunities that present.
By Stephen Afflitto 6th October, 2018
Stephen Afflitto began training at Shushinkai karatedo on 25th November. 2015, at age 31 years. He was graded to Shodan on 6th October 2018, at age 34 years.