As 2019 winds down I am making some choices about how I spend my time. Some of these decisions are tough, some are easy. 2020 will see me letting go of some things and ramping up others. Unfortunately, dear readers, I am letting go of posting on this blog regularly. I will be intermittent at best. Years ago I started out blogging quite frequently – and later recognized my need to scale back. I’m at a similar place now.
I love writing. The discipline of writing about Karate has been beneficial to my mindset and practice. I have enjoyed interacting with those who left comments. There’s also a bit of accountability involved – if I say publicly that I do something or will do something I’d better do it and keep on doing it until I change what I’m doing for the better. Those who have been reading this blog for awhile have seen growth as a result. But blogging biweekly has been something of a strain the last two months.
I’ve reached crossroads not only in my Karate training, but also in my personal and professional lives. I’m not going into the personal and professional crossroads here – except to say I anticipate great things in the coming year. This blog is about Karate, so here are the details of my Karate crossroads.
I’ve already been scaling back in Karate. A little over a year ago I had to let go of helping out with the college PE class. I suppose I could have made it happen but it would have squeezed out other things in my life. Other karateka stepped up to the plate and I’m glad to see them taking on the responsibilities. Earlier this week I let go of my involvement with our karate booster club, which I’ve supported for most of my karate career. I’m still “on call” and anticipate returning in 2021. I don’t plan on competing and judging at Nationals until things settle down in my personal and professional lives. I’ve scaled back some things but I’ve been ramping up others.
I have been actively training for Shodan (first degree black belt) since November 2018. That’s when one of my sensei(s) told me to start training as if I had that invitation to test. I hadn’t yet tested for i-kyu (my current rank). For about 13 months now my mindset has been, “What do I need to do now to make Shodan happen?” While I wait for the formal invitation to test I sometimes tinker with the structure and content of the workouts and practice I do at home. I know I’ll continue to adjust as new things come up, and that’s OK. I anticipate this hard work will pay off and lead to big things – if not in 2020, then some other year.
But blogging isn’t one of those big things. I’ll maybe check in a few times in the coming year, write an article here and there…
When I first started this blog I drifted between aping other bloggers and trying to find my own groove. It didn’t take all that long for me to figure out that autobiography and introspection came more naturally to me than anything else. I don’t know why some of my earliest posts drifted away from my original idea to record my Karate journey right from the start.
I pretty much got the idea to start blogging after I read Smile at Strangers and Other Life Lessons by Susan Schorn. I loved this book. It spoke to me in many ways. Yet I wanted to know more about what she experienced when she was a beginner like me. When I started this blog I wanted to document the beginning of my Karate journey from the perspective of a beginner, not retrospectively, as Susan Schorn had. It’s OK – the whole point of her book was lessons she’d learned, and honestly she got right to the meat and skimmed over the baby food. I just wanted to do my own thing.
And I have.
Don’t get me wrong, I haven’t “arrived.” I haven’t “finished.” I don’t consider myself to be in some sort of a “holding pattern” while waiting for the invitation to test for Shodan. As this blog’s banner says, ” I will always be beginning something new and will always be discovering my abilities. ” I’ve probably promised before now that this blog won’t stop when I reach Shodan because Shodan is a new beginning. Yet here I am trying to keep way too many balls in the air. I need to let go of posting regularly.
Honestly, there’s not all that much more I really want to write. I fear repeating myself. I know there’s nothing wrong with learning the same lesson on a deeper level, but I have trouble making repetition into a good blog. Also, as I’ve written before, there are some things that are best left private. Sometimes these things are negative, sometimes these things simply involve someone’s privacy… These things are part of life in the dojo and therefore are also part of the karate journey. I’m also finding myself increasingly reluctant to write about some of the most exciting things about learning and growing in the art of Karate.
I’m finding that there are quite a lot of treasures and discoveries that I want to keep to myself. I have been reading Andrea Harkins’ blog for longer than I’ve been writing my own. I recall her writing at least once that there are some really wonderful treasures that are best kept “secret.” These are not negative secrets designed to hurt or exclude. Neither are these “secrets” some sort of woo-woo magic Karate tricks taught only to certain ranks. These little gems are a lot like Christmas presents. Secrecy is best for those kinds of gifts.
Anyhow, that’s what’s going on with me nowadays. I’ve been getting loads of “Christmas presents” all along, but it just seems like it’s getting harder and harder for me to want to try and describe them here in this blog. I’m not a tech writer nor am I a philosopher. My strength is narrative, and my material is limited (out of respect for others) and starting to cycle. That and I need to cut back on some things in my life. Cutting way back on blogging was a hard decision to make, but necessary.
Greater things are ahead. I’ll stay in touch as best I can: intermittently.