Martial Arts Blogs A Journey to Shodan: Stop being so nice.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Stop being so nice.

Well, it's official, I'm too nice.

I've written in the past about the Karate Mask, but have a really hard time walking the walk on this one. I'm totally focused as I bow in to begin my Kata, but soon after the first move the mask falls off; I do the Kata fine, with some form of rhythm and good technique, but the emotional, mental and physical intent all seem to slip away. By the time I'm done, I am left wondering where it went and it is very frustrating. This is also true of my basics. I enjoy what I'm doing and it shows, but just last week I was told (in a nice way) to stop being so nice.

To combat this kindness, I have recently started envisioning someone standing in front of me while I execute my punches and kicks – not naming any names, as it varies depending on how my day went :).  Wow, what a world of difference this has made, or at least it sure feels that way. I'm no longer looking in some general forward direction, I'm actually focusing on the space directly in front of me and hitting with intent, right to the chest or face. I know, I should have been doing this all along, but I guess I've just been too nice until now. This is all part of what the Karate Mask should be – just let go, bury the enjoyment of doing something you love, and for that small moment in time, become a more aggressive and determined version of yourself. Don't just hit, HIT – and hurt the person! I need to start walking the walk on this point, so come grading day it feels more natural to me.

Hmmm, who will I punch in the face tomorrow?

Hangetsu Update:
I've finally got the pattern down and am no longer intimidated by that darned stance, so last night I was focused on tweaking everything in-between – including the tension and breathing. I'm still not loving it, but I am finally seeing progress. I never thought I'd be writing THAT in this blog.


  1. It's uncanny how close we're mirroring each other. Are you my long lost sister? My instructors said nearly the same thing to me last week about me being too nice. I'm in the same rut with forms - they tell me that it's technically correct, but I need more personality, more of me in the form. Sometimes I forget to imagine that opponent standing in front of me when I do my forms, but it really does make all the difference.

  2. Ha! I heard this just last night as a matter of fact. My sensei called what I was doing as "floating through kata." He wants to hear my uniform snap, crackle and pop when I'm going through my forms, whether I'm wearing my school t-shirt or my 12-oz gi. I get that - I really do - and it truly helps to picture my ex's mug in front of me when I'm training :-) Hey - it is what it is...

    Feeling your pain - or niceness - on this one...

  3. Ha, ha - Ariel, I could be your martial arts twin. Seems we've been experiencing similar obstacles throughout our journeys and having to overcome the same frustrations - almost in parallel.
    And Felicia too! What is it with us women who just want our kata to look good? We need to add more Grrrrrrr into it!

    I guess we should really try to master this one - since all our Sensei's can't be wrong. :)