April 20th, 2014
Sensei Larry Link Midtown Karate Dojo
Push Your Boundaries - Train Outside the Dojo - TOTW - April 20, 2014
Spring has arrived, and with the warmer weather comes the opportunity to push your boundaries, literally, by taking your training OUTSIDE the walls of the dojo. I realize this may apply less to those of you in the southern and tropical climates who get this opportunity more often than us Northerners. But I'm sure that even you may not have considered the many benefits of regular training in an alternative environment:
Practice your footing on alternative surfaces - soil, pavement, stones, water, sand, and wet grass, just to name a few.
Practice your Mai when the walls disappear - Being outside helps greatly to orient your body with an internal sense of direction rather than relying on a mirror or familiar wall.
Use the environment to sharpen your skills - Naihanchi is custom-made for fighting with "your back against the wall". So go find a wall! Or, want even more adrenaline? Get up ON the wall! I guarantee your footing and side-stepping will improve.
Breath the air and let it fly! - No matter how large your dojo is, there are still walls that physically or psychologically restrict your moments. Outside, you can let it all fly! Great for weapons too.
Let your mind be free - Being in a different environment will cause new thoughts to arise about your practice. For example, I like to draw strength from the trees, the mountains and the wind.
Promote the art - Practicing in a park helps to promote and raise awareness of our beautiful living art. Every time I'm outside practicing, I end up talking with someone about Karate.
It's important to remember to train responsibly at all times, especially outside the dojo. For example, be aware of people around you (another training opportunity), especially when practicing weapons.
Of course we cannot replace regular training in the dojo as the "sacred hall of learning." But we can discover new opportunities to learn when we push our boundaries outside the dojo.
Your humble deshi,
Sensei Larry Link