I did something unexpected tonight. Something that I wasn’t planning to do and I have no idea why. For some reason I decided on my cycle to the dojo for personal training that I was going to do a 108 kata challenge. There was no one else in the dojo and I was a bit late arriving because I had been chatting in the office and to be honest I felt a little pooh and was feeling sorry for myself. I was half thinking of leaving the bike in town and heading for a medicinal wee glass of wine when I thought, shag it, lets get going and do something constructive. Then I changed and got on the bike and realised how bleedin’ cold it was outside.
Anyhow, I was making my way to the dojo and this idea of doing 108 katas came into my thought process, it sounds like I was going through some massive cerebral moment, but actually I was mostly avoiding buses and trucks whilst also thinking about the ‘stuff’ that had occurred during the day. A muddle of thoughts, near death moments and pangs of anger and then this thought of 108 katas… what possessed me?
So I arrive to the dojo and it’s freezin’, proper cold and any body heat that I had from cycling just disappeared! So I got started, we’ve done a few of these kata challenges during the year and started with Gekisai Dai Ichi and moved forward through the list of katas. Tonight was different however, I was on my own and I wanted to challenge myself. Anyway, I started through the katas and I was reminded of what one of my colleagues had said about how he gets angry with the repetitions. Then there is the whole cleansing thing associated with doing this in the first place. In Japan, at the end of the year, a bell is chimed 108 times in Buddhist temples to finish the old year and welcome the new one. Each ring represents one of 108 earthly temptations a person must overcome to achieve nirvana.
So there I was, 15 or so in thinking, I will never finish this… my feet were really cold and it took me ages to get to 15 or so it seemed. The things that went through my mind during the whole exercise were just hilarious. At one stage I felt angry and another I was thinking about how I would reward myself after I finished. Then about 66, actually at 66 I was going to give it up, finish there and leave it at that.
But I didn’t and I do need to apologise to the people I passed on the road as I cycled home because I had a huge smile on my face the whole way home. I think I giggled out loud in the dojo when I finished the last one. I don’t think that i have cleansed my worrisome soul in any way…so i will probably need to do the whole thing again!!!
And the kata… Seisan… I’ve probably more than doubled the amount of times that I have done that kata in my life with my efforts tonight. Still need to do more though… oh well… next time!