Well it is the last night here in Canada… tomorrow I head back to London. What can I say. It’s been epic. Of course that’s really easy to say but honestly I’ve not felt like this in a long time. I came to Canada after a fairly hectic few weeks, actually a fairly hectic few months and all I can say is that finally I can breathe.
But first a story, you see I took a chance on the flight over. I fell asleep on the Sunday before I travelled in the front room of my house, on the floor and unfortunately on my shoulder. I must have spent the entire night on that shoulder and the following day I couldn’t move it. Actually I woke up thinking that I was having a stroke. You see I tried to move my arm to turn on a light switch and I missed it by a good 6 inches. More of a worry was the fact that I couldn’t feel my fingers and my arm was pretty numb. Everyone had a story about a “mate” who had a friend with the same issue who ended up getting it amputated. Not helpful at all.
More to the point, I tried to cycle that morning and nearly died about 10 times on the way to work. I’m a worrier and so I spend a considerable amount of time thinking about effect of the flight and the pressure but hey, I was committed to going.
The night I arrived, some 48 hours after the sleeping on shoulder event, it was considerably better but in no way what you could call functional. Absolutely nothing was working. My entire balance was out of sync, my legs were somewhere over the North Atlantic and my arm was totally unpredictable. To the degree that I tried to test it with a gedan barrai (using a weight) and almost took a tooth out. I still have a bruise on my lip…
This first night was when Nakamura Sensei took me to look at my kata. Now I’m someone who struggles under pressure to perform, I don’t like be watched and there is no other way to put it… I go to pieces. I wanted to cry and run away to a warm fluffy place. Don’t get me wrong, this is my psyche… I am forever grateful for this attention and I have taken away so much to work on, but I spent the entire time trying to control my arm that was so wayward 😦
So…looking back on the last week, I have so many many good memories, but also feelings. Now I’m not someone who writes or talks much about feelings, in fact I don’t really like to, but at the end of this period here, I have nothing but good feelings.
I left Shotokan in London (and in general) as I had difficulty in finding a dojo that matched to the experience I had in Ireland. In London I was so very lucky to find Tooting Karate Club and Sensei Linda and the community atmosphere which I had so missed when I moved. Here in Canada the welcome was immense, this was a welcome from people who love Karate and love to train and who I think picked up on the fact that I also love the same.
Looking back on the last week, I have so many thanks to give, I’ve literally been blown away by the kindness, caring, love and hugs from everyone. I’ve been welcomed in a way that I would never have expected. I can’t thank everyone in person but I go home with a body that has loved every minute of training, a brain that has learned that it has so much more to work on and to develop further and a heart that is bursting with so much happiness.
Canada has been very good to me. I needed this break. So very much. In my job and in my personal life I give so much to others, as a result it’s often hard for me to ask for support and in truth ’cause most people see me as a strong person few think that I might also need a helping hand from time to time. This doesn’t phase me, I’ve strangely become stronger as a result. But I was given so much here. I’m not sure if people realised how much it meant. It really meant a lot. I can’t stress that enough.
Tomorrow I will head home… but I go home rich… I have so much to think about and to work on. I had more than a few light bulb moments here. More than a few realisations that my own personal training was going the wrong direction, a very clear understanding of my many many weaknesses and lackings. This naturally leads to questions as to my ability to bridge these gaps… that, I don’t have answers to as yet.
Tomorrow is the last day… it’s not even a full day, it’s the last time that I will go to the dojo here and I hope to have the time to say goodbye to everyone. I’ve made so many new friends here, I’ve been inspired to train more, train differently, I’ve learned so much and I come away so much more humble. This Karate thing is weird… someone said it’s like trying to grab clouds. I think that might be true for the superduper dan grades, for mere mortals like me, I’m just trying to jump high enough off the ground to glimpse the clouds that others try to grab.
This week will stay with me forever… I know that this is not the sort of post that I usually write…. I cringe at the emotions but I think it is important to call out… growth and all that…