Karate: more than just a physical journey

When most people think of karate, they think of jumping kicks through the air and super strong karate chops because of the way it is portrayed in the media. However, when I think of karate, I think of a journey that is not only physical, but mental and emotional as well.  Don’t get me wrong, karate will definitely help you develop physically, but it is so much more than that.

Since the physical journey is the most obvious, we’ll start there. Karate is beneficial for developing leg and core strength, endurance, and channeling your power. When you start training, your body will be sore from making it move in all kinds of new and different ways. However, over time, you develop muscle memory and your muscles become strong and powerful.  These physical results make so many people ignore what happens mentally and emotionally, especially as you advance in your training.

Mentally, you must deal with learning and remembering kata, remembering Japanese commands, and the annoying voice in your head that tells you that you can never be a black belt. Spoiler alert, the voice in your head is wrong! But, that is why karate is a mental journey because you have to overcome your fears and persevere, all while keeping tons of techniques straight in your head.

From an emotional standpoint, karate can bring about many ups and downs. For example, when you pass an exam, you’re going to feel encouraged and excited to continue your training. However, if you don’t pass an exam, you may feel defeated and want to quit. While all of the black belts may look emotionless while they’re in class, the truth is that every single one of them has felt bad about themselves at one point or another. The reason they got where they are today is because they pushed through the mental and emotional battles and came out on top. And on a more personal level, joining a dojo can help you build lifelong friendships that are irreplaceable.

Overall, by doing karate, you become stronger physically, mentally, and emotionally. In my experience, karate has allowed me to feel empowered and truly shaped who I am today. So the next time you see a ninja movie, just remember that there is more to karate than meets the eye.