Wednesday, September 07, 2005

karate- benefits of practice in the great outdoors

many martial arts teachers have said and written that one should practice outdoors. as a karate kid i used to practice in an old clocktower with hardwood floors where falls really hurt and i thought that practicing outdoors wasn't for me. practicing outdoors was for the kid who needed to fall on grass to avoid crying.
when i got older i kept practicing indoors. mats, mirrors, clean gis- the benefits seemed endless. we never had to deal with bugs or twigs or rocks and i often wondered how they used to do it in the old days when a lot of training took place running in the mountains or in the woods.
now that i am left with some students i find myself enjoying the outdoors! the uneven ground brings a new degree of difficulty (and reality) to front kicks and moving basics. i noticed in a hurry that my feet were going to (and did) get tougher walking on rocks and sliding my feet in hot sand. the sun gets in the eyes, the wind kicks up dust, you freeze your toes off in the cold morning dew, and dogs bark at us- what better place to train?!
beyond the trials of practicing in a natural place, there are many internal benefits. each morning during our run, i can smell the trees, see the birds, and hear the wind. my senses feel sharpened and the demands of everyday life seem to drain out of me. appreciate nature! we should not say "how did they do it in the old days?" but instead "how do they do it now-a-days, so far removed from life?"


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