Why HSK? Written by Ann Oda (March 2015)


           What separates Hawaii Shotokan Karate (HSK) from most other forms of exercise? Perhaps part of the answer lies in what Sensei first told the beginners’ class almost two years ago...”Karate is going to be the hardest thing you have ever done in your life.” This was quiet an ominous statement that lingered in my mind as I stood there on the hard concrete floor of Noelani School. My internal monologue started making me weak at the knees, “What did I get myself into? This is supposed to be fun. I’m just doing this to the pass time while waiting for my son. I’m no spring chicken...yadda, yadda, yadda.” It’s been almost two years since that extraordinary summer day, and I agree, karate is the most difficult thing I’ve done, and yet, most enjoyable.

           HSK is interesting and challenging. Lifting weights, long swims in a pool, burning hour after hour on the treadmill gets boring quickly. This is not the case with karate. It’s always a challenge and HSK knows how to keep it fresh. There is always something new to learn and always something old to perfect. Just when you think you got it, you learn that’s not good enough. Karate not only challenges your body, but also challenges your mind and spirit. Focus and concentration are often fleeting with other forms of exercise but with karate, you can’t afford to doze off. Just a quick thought about what you have to do at work will bring your karate form crashing to the ground; or worse, a punch in the gut. Then, there’s self-confidence. We all know confidence is important to kids but can karate help adults? As you progress through the different belts and participate in tournaments, you become more confident in your ability in the dojo, as well as, in the boardroom. HSK helps to build confidence by encouraging you to succeed with a can-do attitude, and never-give-up approach. Once you start to gain confidence, you know you can handle yourself in any situation.

             In my past life as a jazz dancer, the mothers watching their kids would often criticize, “Why can’t you get your leg higher...I can’t believe you had trouble with the double turn.” You see, it always looks easier than it really is from the sidelines. This is so true with karate. I enrolled and learned firsthand just how challenging it is. I first joined HSK to get some exercise, learn a skill...I thought, I might as well do something instead of being one of those mothers on the sidelines. Hands down, enrolling in HSK with my son is turning out to be a blessing. It’s helping to close the generation gap. While my school friends have kids in college, my son is in middle school. I’m surprised his friends haven’t called me grandma yet. He and I now have a common basis for training, advancing, and supporting one another. This gives me an opportunity most mothers do not have with their teenage sons. I am learning much about him as a person. He is a good kid with a kind heart, and strong spirit. He is an inspiration to me. It doesn’t get better than that!


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