Tuesday, May 12, 2009

30til30:day 20, karate

obviously, i'm a little behind with the 30til30. our weekend was much busier than we anticipated and michael and i are both still exhausted (i took a three-hour nap today and still feel worn out). i intend to post days 21 and 22, just not tonight. you can look for them over the next week. but, don't miss them, especially if your name is lisa.

i have 30 days until i celebrate my 30th year of life. i thought i would share with you 30 people, events and situations that have shaped my life and who i want to be. it has been very challenging to come up with 30…i hope it inspires you as it has me. this part of the list is in no particular order.

day 20: karate

i was nine-years-old when my dad came home with a surprise for me: i had “won” three free karate lessons as a studio not far from home. unknown to me, he had entered me in a “contest” (in which every kid won). i was ecstatic. for years, i had watched teenage mutant ninja turtles (heros in a half-shell) and daniel-san and dreamed of being able to do the tricks they did.

of course, there was a catch.

i had to run three-miles without stopping.

i accomplished the task with minimal training, which is a story unto itself.

i don’t know if karate was something i immediately excelled at – my parents didn’t push me, so i only attended class once or twice a week. but, i do know that over time, it was something i got to be good at. very good, in fact. my sensei saw potential in me and asked my dad if i could compete.

when i was 13, i went to my first national tournament. at 14, in addition to a knocked-up jaw, i took home a bronze medal from nationals. i won my age division the next three years. competing is fun, it’s in my blood. and i loved this sport.

when i was 14, i began teaching classes as an assistant. shortly after that, i took over the 4- and 5-year-olds. as a 16-year-old, my friend john, my boss’s son, and i ran our studio for a time. i quit a prestigious job at chick-fil-a asking, do you want fries with that? in order to pick up more hours teaching each week.

and i trained hard. during competition season, our team would give up saturday afternoons for training, in addition to regular training during the week. i remember once coming home with an ugly fist-sized bruise on my upper left arm. my dad wasn’t impressed and told me i couldn’t go back if it happened again. and so, i learned not to get beat.

i learned a lot at the studio. during some rough teenage years, it was a place i could belong. teaching karate lessons was something none of my friends could do and so it gave me something to be proud of. teaching lessons was my first lesson in managing people. my first lessons in genuine leadership happened at the studio, too, as i watch my instructor and followed his footsteps as i taught my own classes.

the biggest thing i gained from karate is discipline. that probably sounds rather cliché, but it’s entirely true. though we trained as a team, karate is not a team sport. though my sensei could coach me from the sideline, he couldn’t land my kicks or make my blocks effective. if i wasn’t disciplined in my training, i wouldn’t succeed.

running those three miles as a nine-year-old was a great introduction to what would be the next eight years of my life. and it was worth every step.

1 comment:

  1. Personally, I don't remember the bruise thing. It is interesting how people remember different aspects of the same events.