JSKA - The Japan Shotokan Karate Association



Why Karate?

Sensei's Blog 2022.04.13
Babak Sotoudeh Sotoudeh Karate Academy

I was the youngest of 7 children in my family. Each of my brothers and sisters was involved in a variety of different sports and a few were members of the Iranian national team. As a result, I got engaged in sports like swimming, basketball, volleyball, badminton, and table tennis from a very young age.

When I started high school I became more serious and passionate about sports.

I remember my first karate training when I was 16 one of my brothers took me to his karate training.  I was impressed the way respect each other and discipline. It was amazing with explosive hands or feet techniques with full control during sparring.

I did like it a lot and continued all summer training.  When school started, I could not continue to go to dojo but I was training with my brother at home.  I started to go back next year when I finished my high school.  I remember the distance from home to dojo was about 1-hour drive.  It was one winter and due to winter storm, all schools were closed but it did not stop me to go to dojo and of course that day it took me twice the time to get there.  When I arrived there I found out that dojo was closed (at that time there was no internet as it is now to inform each other and since dojo was part of the university it was closed too). 

I realized that martial arts are involved lots of physics activities, action and reaction as movement can be different from other sports.  Usually some other sports the optimises athlete’s performance is between 16 -22 years (as body has lots of strength) but in karate is gradually move up and will stay steady for longer period of time as experience will replace strength.  It takes years of hard work, practice and patience to become master in a technique.

Karate gives strength, speed, balance together with explosive movements to sudden stop techniques which require years of exercises and reputation. Karate practice strengthens the entire body, improves coordination between right and left and quickens reflexes.

I was told that Karate is a life style but I did not fully understand the depth of its meaning.  I might not have the same strength that I had 35 years ago but I learned how to do proper movements with less extra steps and more efficient techniques over the years.  Masters as they get older they may not have strength their youth, however, their valuable experience can replace strength. There is a trade between strength and experience and that comes with practice.

I am sure lots of people experienced before each belt test were thinking that might know and perform techniques correctly but during or after test they realize all their weak points.  The test would help them to recognize those point and improve them.

After a few years of training, I started officiating within my dojo and then take courses and participate in tournaments as an official provincially, national, and international.  Officiating gave me different perspective and helped me to be a better coach. Also officiating strengthens my mind and helps me to stay sharp in order to make decision quickly.

On the other hand, Karate gave me an opportunity to travel the world and find amazing friends internationally.  I am so proud that I continued karate and it is part of my life. 

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