What Karate Means To Me

Karate to me means many things and these have changed quite dramatically since I began practising the art at the tender age of seven. I used to be fascinated at the speed, and still am, of Bruce Lee. He was my hero and karate meant Bruce Lee and nunchuku's!

I have had a lot of ups and downs whilst studying karate, but I think the ups have outweighed the downs quite convincingly.

To me, karate-do and the things I learn can be broken down into three general categories : "Karate", "School" and "life in general". Karate means a lot to me in all of these areas, so karate in my opinion is not limited to the confines of the dojo.

When training time is upon me again, I think of a few general things like: what will I learn? and how hard will I train? It means sweating for hours on end and listening to my teacher explaining what we are to do. I always train very hard, but know when my Shihan visits us from Sydney to train, I am in for hours of training, learning and tough times. Over the past six months, I have felt myself getting stronger and stronger at karate. I am very happy for this because, now people stop telling me I am just a little weak kid. I also enjoy teaching others. I like seeing white belts become yellow belts and so on. I find it a challenge to teach juniors, some of what I have learnt and experienced over the past nine years.

I find that karate-do has helped me at my schoolwork. It is a lot easier to concentrate at your work after you have trained for a couple of hours, your concentration is at its peak. Listening, too is a lot easier after you learn to stand for three hours and listen to your Shihan. When my teacher starts talking, and it becomes boring, I try to imagine I am at karate training and I am listening to my instructor. I find that it is easier to listen and concentrate when I think of things like that.

Lately, there have been many fights at school. I could have easily been involved in some of them. When some boy tries to start a fight with me, I try to use my zanchin, my inner spirit to wear them down. I do this by looking into their eyes, and staring straight through them. Usually, other boys cannot accept eye-contact and look away and back-down from the fight. When you know that you are not weak, and can stand up for yourself, you become a lot more confident during unwanted confrontations.

Karate-do too, can be a great asset in life in general. By studying karate, I find that I am able to stay a lot fitter than most people. When physical testing time comes around at school, I am always sure that I will pass the test with flying colours. My endurance in events like the Marathon run and cross-country running events is also A-1. I am able to control my breathing and this is a great asset when you know you have a lot of distance to cover. My flexibility, although it could be better, is very good compared with other people of my age. By doing karate and having dinner with my Shihan, I am beginning to understand that there is more to food and vitamins then a Big Mac! I know how important vegetables are to your system and what food is not good for you.

Karate-do means a lot to me, and has ever since the day I began. It means more than just going to class and kicking the air, it is a way of life.

By Lincoln McConnell-Brown, 26th March 1990

Lincoln McConnell-Brown began training at karatedo on 15th February, 1982, at age 7 years. He was graded to Shodan on 25th February, 1990, aged 16 years. He was graded to Nidan on 16th January, 1995, and to Sandan on 12th January, 1998 and Yondan on 13th January 2003. He was awarded Godan on 4th October 2014.