Martial Arts Blogs A Journey to Shodan: The Shotokan resolution.

Friday, October 29, 2010

The Shotokan resolution.

Some months ago, after mental blocking on a few katas during class, I decided that the only way I was going to really build them into my body memory was by practicing each kata once every morning. I envisioned myself soaring through kata, never stumbling, finally doing them with confidence and feeling, beginning to end, no mistakes - I would practice my heart out and reap the benefits. This sure sounded like a good idea at the time. Actually, it was a good idea, but have I done it? No. Well, I did a few times but then my early morning enthusiasm faltered. I liken it to a new years resolution; one has high hopes and all the heart in the world – for the first two or three weeks.

This utter resolution failure came to light last night when I had a mental block during Bassai Dai and Jion, both katas I know well. Or so I thought. As I stood there wondering what the heck comes next, I thought to myself – if only I’d stuck to my resolution and practiced my kata once every morning, I wouldn’t be in this position now. I hate that feeling, standing clueless in the middle of a kata - I get disappointed in myself and extremely frustrated. I was able to finish each kata on my own, after everyone else had finished, but you can bet your last dollar I went home and repeated each of those kata until I worked past my blocks. As it turns out, I was inventing a new kata: Bassai...Nidan. What???

This got me thinking: how does one stay committed to a resolution? What it really comes down to is self-discipline, so it's all up to me. I'll have to work through my excuses, the main one being that I don't have enough time...if I'm serious, I'll make the time.

So - I have two new resolutions:
  1. Arrive to class early enough to practice two kata of my choice, on my own.
  2. I will practice each kata once on Saturday and Sunday morning (caveat: morning = after I get up, if that happens to be noon, well then, that’s when I’ll do them).
I'll report back in a few weeks.


  1. I hope you're doing this. I made the same resolution to myself a few months back, and had the same result ("I can start tomorrow! Really I will"). Now that I know someone else is publicly going through the same thing, I think I can find the time to do it.

    BTW, it's been a few weeks, and you haven't really reported back on your progress =)

  2. I made the resolution public to encourage myself to actually follow through this time. If I said it 'out loud' someone might hear me and call me on it.

    Thanks for your comment, and keeping me honest. It has given me even more incentive to walk the talk. I will write the update shortly.