More Betterer Part IV – Physical

Click Here to read Part I


What will be the physical differences between who I am now and who I will be if I’m granted the rank of Shodan?  Every single class I see how others who are better than I am do things.  I am constantly challenged in very specific ways to improve what I do.  I know I don’t look nearly as good now as I will years from now if I’m invited to test for Shodan.  So I watch those who outrank me, I listen to them, I practice, and I have to trust the process that will get me there.

By the time I am invited to test for Shodan, I want to have reached the following goals:

1) Lose ten more pounds
2) Be able to do at least 30 pushups
3) Nice deep stances (if deep is called for)
4) Better endurance – particularly in highly “cardio” activities

I’d like to reach these goals sooner rather than later!  Other physical things that should happen by the time I’m invited to test for Shodan include:

1) Great form
2) Optimal execution of all techniques
3) Gi-popping awesome speed (when speed is needed, of course)
4) Loose when and where I need to be loose, tight when and where I need to be tight

In a nutshell, I should be stronger, better, faster, have more endurance, and I should look pretty gosh darned awesome when I’m doing Karate.

How am I going to get there?  Detailing everything would take me quite some time.  Nutshell summary…  I have to be flexible and clever about when and how I train.  I have my “home” dojo, but one hour twice per week is not enough.  I am very fortunate to be part of a larger organization that includes three other “sister” dojos within reasonable driving distance of my house.  I also take advantage of my YMCA membership and do some supplemental exercise.  Once I reach 3rd kyu, I will be expected to drive out of state for training once each month.  This period will last a minimum of three years, and then maybe I might be invited to test for Shodan.

How long is this going to take me?  The time-frame I’m looking at to reach Shodan is roughly seven years from now, give or take a year or two.  The average in our organization is 8 to 10 years.  Really, though, the exact number of years is not important – what’s more important is Bruce Lee’s maxim about being a little bit better today than I was yesterday.

And being a little bit better today than I was yesterday is something that must not stop at Shodan.  In other words, I should always strive to be more betterer.

So that wraps up this series of posts [UPDATE – for now!]  I get the idea there are things I’m completely clueless about and depths I haven’t even begun to sound.  Those of you with more years under your belts, please feel free to burst any bubbles I might have.

October 2021 UPDATE – Click here for More Betterer V

Author: Joelle White

I began training in Karate in June of 2014 after a 27 year hiatus.

8 thoughts on “More Betterer Part IV – Physical”

  1. It is a long road but one well travelled in some senses. We are all on our own journey but we have others to follow and others still, following us. We have a finite time to get there but where is there? It doesn’t stop unless we choose or until we “stop”. Train hard and train smart. Osu!

    1. Ossu, Rach! Wonderful thoughts – and comforting too. I don’t have to tell you to train hard and train smart because I know you do 🙂 Thanks for being a good example and friend 🙂

  2. Hi Joelle, nice to read the final installment of your series! It strikes me that you’re comparing yourself now and at your future shodan status, as if these are the milestones for “before and after”. But I bet you’ve already physically improved a LOT since you came back into training! So your journey is very much already underway . . .

    Secondly, I LOVE your sentence: “I know I don’t look nearly as good now as I will years from now if I’m invited to test for Shodan”. Most people just naturally resign themselves to assuming that their physical attributes will deteriorate as the years pass, and the best they can hope for is to slow this process down a bit. But not you – you are plotting like mad to improve yourself physically on at least eight different counts (the ones you list). And that’s not even including all the mental and spiritual improvements you’re also seeking. Can’t tell you how much I love reading you aspire to excellence like this – pls give us more of the same! 🙂

    1. Awww, thanks Kai – you’re sweet!

      I’m 22 pounds lighter and have far more endurance than I thought possible. I can now do 15 pushups (not much but it’s progress). So yeah, I’m better. But I’m still not satisfied.

      The beauty of Karate is one can keep on learning. All the black belts who work closely with me are my age or older. Those who work intermittently with me include some younger, but even the majority of them are roughly my age or older. They inspire me. And all of them can kick my butt nine ways to Sunday 🙂 Heck, many of them have done so already 🙂 What I see also is some of them are overcoming the limitations of their body and making Karate work for them. I’m sure they’re healthier for it.

      Thanks for the compliments and thanks for stopping by and reading! Stay tuned for more – there’s ever so much more to learn, always!

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