Dojo for life…

We all know that life likes to throw all sorts of things at us, in my life, it’s never just one thing at a time, I can go for months perfectly fine then all hell breaks loose.  I’m in one of those change periods at the moment and I thought it a good idea to share some of my thoughts and feelings. Don’t worry, this isn’t going to be a discharge of random female emotions- I’m not good at that sort of thing and prefer to take my frustrations out on a punch bag.


I wonder if that is normal? Sure we all have stressful days but I was in the gym a while back after a stinker – a day when absolutely nothing went the way it was supposed to. I did a wee cardio circuit on cross trainers and the like and then took to the hanging punch bag.  Have to say, 40 minutes later , I had temporarily forgotten my worries and was totally focused on the act of getting air into my burning lungs. Now I didn’t solve my problem just by spending time on a punch bag, but it did give me a break from thinking about it and as a result a new perspective.

I mentioned that I am going through a significant change at the moment, I’ve decided to leave my current job and I’m not entirely happy about it. I have strong  personal ties to the guys working with me and so to step away from that is frightening to say the least.

I have a secret weapon though- my dojo.

People have asked me for years about the benefits of training, the physical and the mental aspects. For sure, these exist in abundance , however there is something else…

But what is it? A dojo is a complex thing, I have been lucky enough to have ‘felt’ the benefits of a strong dojo from my youth.  To me it was a safe haven,  my first Sensei was more than an instructor, he was specific in his tutelage regarding etiquette, history and  the behavioral expectations of each and every dojo member.  Maybe it was these expectations, but as a group we really gelled. When I was studying and stressed out of my mind with exams, I could seek relief in the dojo. Not only that, but I always had clear goals and targets.

As times moved on, I had longer term goals, planned over years for bigger and bigger personal accolades. This however, always gave me a self belief that I could stick with my goals and be successful in my eyes. I struggled at times when I moved for work and couldn’t find a dojo that had the attributes as needed but I knew what I was looking for and so didn’t stay long with those that fell short.

My current dojo is a second home to me, (some might say I spend more waking time there than at home) and no wonder, in my mind it is a spiritual place, a place of hard work, a place of learning, a place of physical and mental challenge and a place of support.  This type of support I have had my entire life from loads of different Karateka and parents of Karateka. I can only hope that everyone finds the same sort of longevity in their karate careers and thank all that I have met along the way and who have helped me over the course of my karate life. It makes times like this much easier, so leaving my current role, well I know that things will move on and I’m not so scared any more… kinda.

One comment

  1. Senpai, what a wonderful way to express absolutely everything that I have been feeling about my dojo as well. Having it in my life is my sanctuary and the oasis in this sometimes frustrating, often frightening thing we call life. Thank you for writing this! I look forward to more of your thoughts…

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