Monday, April 26, 2010

Go green or die trying!

Today was definitely a day for learning experiences. I'm usually sore from karate, but this time I'm a different kind of sore.
We had our belt test today and I didn't make it to green belt.

I can't pretend that I didn't consider the possibility that I might not make it, since I've been sick for the past five days and am definitely not at my best...but when it actually happened, it was a different thing. It was like the difference between back-falling on purpose and having to actually back-fall. I really thought that I'd be able to pull through! I guess I should've known that it would be too much when I started getting winded from practicing the high-dragon stance. That should've been a red flag. It's just a stance.

Anyway, I learned two things today. First, I learned that my health is the most important thing. I got so into it; I wanted that green belt so much that if Sensei hadn't stopped my test halfway through, I probably would've passed out. I might have even had an asthma attack and ended up in the hospital. I let my emotions get in the way of my better judgment and it could've had some serious consequences if Sensei hadn't intervened. 

It was irresponsible of me to put myself in that kind of danger over a belt test. I need to be able to trust myself to stop if it's too much for my body to handle. There's a difference between pushing yourself and being stupid and I was stupid tonight.

Besides, if I die from training, I can't train anymore! And I don't ever want to stop.

The second thing I learned today is that I am not invincible. Emotionally. That is, I was very disappointed when Sensei told me that he was going to stop my test. It's not a good idea to get upset when you can't breathe, because it just makes everything worse. I was a little bit worried that if I started crying, I'd stop breathing. So I didn't cry. And that's okay, because a few minutes later, I got over the initial frustration and I was alright..

Anyway, I'm a little bruised from this; a little bit disappointed...but it's nothing I can't handle.
After's just a belt. Just a different color.

Nothing to get myself put in the hospital over!

Thursday, April 8, 2010


This might sound kind of obvious and pointless to say, but it's really important to breathe. When we stretch, we breathe a certain way. When we kiai, it's a loud expulsion of breath. When we've been doing a lot of kicks and we start getting winded, Sensei often has us take a few seconds to just breathe.

I think it's important to take time out to breathe in real life, too. It's really easy to get wrapped up in school, work, and the other kinds of stress that occupy our daily lives. Sometimes we forget to breathe.
It's so easy to just forget. Breathing is automatic; most of us don't have to think about it. We just do it. And we only take time out to focus on breathing when we think we really, really need it.

After all, why should I just sit here and breathe while I could be getting something accomplished? I can multi-task, after all. Isn't it just a waste of time?

A few months ago I might've answered that question 'yes', but I've learned that the opposite is true. It's not a waste of time; breathing is a way to help us reboot or reconnect with what's going on in our bodies and minds. Sometimes it's easy to forget where and who we are...taking a second to breathe really helps with that. We, as humans, seem to feel the need to always go, go, go. I know that I like to be at the top of my game, three steps ahead of the last "ICE!". I like to DO stuff on the mat, and I like to do it with enthusiasm and excitement.

But even so, it's immensely important to stop and catch your breath so that you don't get hurt.

My dad once told me that, "If you're not breathing, nothing else matters."

He's an EMT, so he would say that...