My Life as a Karateka


Myles Ushio


I started karate thirteen years ago with my wife and daughter.  We joined so that our daughter would learn a form of self-defense, and the self-discipline and respect that came along with training.  After three months of practice and surviving the beginner’s class it seemed like we had found something our family could do together. 


Unfortunately, my wife would have to stop practicing due to a bad back.  My daughter and I continued practicing and improving while facing the challenges with each new kick, kata and kumite technique.  I really enjoyed the time we spent together training and learning new things.  Seeing her grow in her abilities and confidence through training and exams is a cherished memory.  There were tournaments where her fighting spirit and fearlessness just amazed me.  She made it to the rank of 6th kyu (advanced green) before she got side tracked with many other activities and decided to stop karate.


This created a dilemma for me in deciding whether I should continue on my own.  We had started karate for my daughter.  After pondering what I should do the answer was clear, I was hooked.  There were many factors that made my decision easy.  Sensei and the Senpai’s are amazing.  They were very good at instructing students on how techniques needed to be performed.  With Sensei at the helm and his incredible ability to teach by breaking things down and seeing what you needed to correct made learning enjoyable.  Sensei also had an uncanny way to know just how much he could push us past our comfort zone so we would improve.  It is very impressive to see how he is able to command the attention and respect of the students but still make them feel at ease.  Great learning environment!  What also amazed me about the instructors was that a majority of them were a little older than me and trained with so much speed, intensity and spirit.  They led by example!  Back then I wondered if I would ever be able to get to that level.  For me the challenge is what makes karate great.  No matter how much you learn or train there will always be something you need to improve on.


What could have also swayed my decision to continue was that in the back of my mind as a young kid I really wanted to take karate.  Don’t remember the reason but my parents would not allow me to take karate and had me take aikido instead.  Aikido was fine and taught me quite a few things but it was not karate.  It might also have been all those Sonny Chiba and Bruce Lee movies that I watched that had me so interested in the quick moving action of karate. 


I have not regretted continuing karate at HSK.  The only regret I have is not starting karate earlier in life.  Trying to perform all the complex techniques with a middle aged body is a challenge in itself.  My wife calls me the “Ouchy Man” because some part of me is always sore.  I have had some physical setbacks like a bad knee that required surgery delaying me from taking my first black belt exam.  But I feel events like this happen for a reason and gave me the fortitude to endeavor in my karate career.  It really surprises me how much I am able to do and the stamina I have gained since beginning karate.  It has all been worth it! 


Karate also improves your mind, focus and spirit.  As you progress through the different levels you gain confidence that extends far beyond the dojo.  It has helped me tremendously in my job, where we have a high level of stress to meet project deadlines that seem unreasonable at times.  Karate puts you in stressful situations but through diligent training and preparation allows you to overcome them.  If you had told me when I first started that I would be up in front of a karate class teaching, I would not have believed you.  I have always had some apprehension of being in front of large groups and still find it challenging today.  However, HSK progressively exposes you to what feels like uncomfortable situations that eventually helps you deal with them.  I really feel that this has assisted me to better cope with the stresses and anxieties that I face.  As a black belt, I look back to that fateful day thirteen years ago and feel that I am truly blessed to have found HSK, since it has improved my life in many ways.



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