An Enriching Experience

karate trainingIt is said that some (negative) life experiences can bring out the most unexpected talents and skills in a human being. My journey to acquiring karate skills and even becoming a karate master is testament to this adage.

As a young kid, I always got picked on by my peers in school due to my relatively small stature. Being the first born in my family of five, I could not let the bullying get noticed, especially not by my two younger siblings. In order to maintain my position as the leader of the pack, I maintained a brave face after school even though my brothers could sometimes notice that I was depressed. I always dreamt of the day I would walk into school with magical powers or superhuman strength and get back at the bullies who always tormented me.

At my age, the nearest thing that matched superhuman strength and magical powers was accessed through comic books and action movies. In this light, I developed a knack for comic books and action movies especially those that featured karate fighters. I filled my room with posters and printouts of famous karate fighters and actors. Every day after school I would sit in my room and stare at these super-humans, who had the power to stop bullies and other bad men in the movies.

The surprising break

karate session karateDuring this time, my dad got a transfer for a job in the state at a company near home. This enabled him to pick us up after school when he could. These pickups were usually unannounced as my dad would just come and sit in his car outside the gate and wait for us to come out after classes were over. During one of his waits to pick us up, my dad witnessed one of my many bullying incidents.

When I got into the car, my dad did not even indicate what he had seen. When we got home, I went to my room as usual and surprisingly my dad came over after some time. He did not even knock and hence he caught me staring at my karate posters. He suggested rather casually of how it would be nice if someone learnt to fight like those karate heroes. I asked if this was possible and he immediately told me that if I wished he had an idea of a place where I could receive lessons.

karate practiceAs we drove, I kept asking questions such as, how long one took to learn karate, and such. I could hardly wait for us to arrive at this mythical karate place. When we arrived at the basement training karate club, I was surprised to see how my dad was greeted with respect by the people present. He introduced me and I was taught the first lesson in karate; karate skills were strictly for self-defense. I came to learn later that my dad was one of the karate masters in the state, despite his strict non-violence stance.

I started taking lessons in karate at this place and the rest as they say is history. Within two months the bullies in school had “learnt their lesson” and I had been suspended twice. However, I soon grasped the defensive concept of karate skills and as I increased my skills level, I would not even consider using my skills to hurt anyone. Today, many of my friends are surprised to learn that I am a karate master, because just like my dad, I really abhor violence.