Monday, February 04, 2008

Guest Post: Learning from Injury

This post comes from Donald, a green belt at our dojo. He wrote this a couple weeks before he had surgery on his toe. I thought it was good and wanted to share it. Donald is recovering from his foot surgery and back at class training once again after a short absence.

When things are going well, I have a tendency to take them for granted - whether it be my studies, my work, or my Karate. The same holds very true for my body. I just don't notice things when they work well, and when they don't I seem to be unable to remember how things were when I was well. Due to a recent injury, my ability to participate in Karate class has been limited. This is not a first, nor will it be the last - but it is the first time I have learned something about Karate from my injury, well, consciously anyway.

I have been injured several times in my Karate studies - mainly while taking another style. They weren't anyone's fault, things were just done improperly. I have broken toes, cracked ribs, and bruised a bone pretty badly, but I continued to attend class to at least watch and learn so
that I could practice harder when I got better. My current injury is to the big toe of my left foot, I can put very little pressure or torque on the toe without being in severe pain. At first, the most obvious repercussions occurred to me - keeping others from stepping on the toe, as well as keeping myself from bumping into things or pushing it the wrong way. As a result, I find myself paying more attention to my surroundings, being more cautious, thinking things through more and moving more gracefully to keep from bumping that toe against anyone or anything - all principles of good Karate. While at class tonight, I even had some principles from kata occur to me to be applied from this injury.

I have learned lately that Karate is not just taught or thought of on the mat or in the dojo, but is a way of life, of being. I have now also learned that Karate is not just something done while healthy, but is something that can be learned from our infirmities too. Just as my injured toe has taught me about weight distribution, each little tendon in my foot, and movement; so too can other ailments teach us about our Karate - be they temporary like broken bones, or more permanent like a weak knee or asthma.

Nonetheless, I look forward to being well again, so I can practice further what I have learned.


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