Friday, 17 February 2012

My tryst with "Karate"

God bless Torrents, and the people who upload a gazillion videos and documents via these torrents. Thanks to them, I am now the owner (though not the sole owner) of a plethora of Martial Arts videos and PDFs that I could get my hands on.

Before I start ranting about Martial Arts and using jargons that all except a 6-month old baby would find incongruous, lemme introduce myself. For those who know me already, bear with the introduction please :P , and then you can probably tell the rest of the world how crazy I might be actually. LOL! All comments/compliments/oohs-and-aahs are welcome! J

My name's Abhishek Jee, and I am a die-hard Martial Arts fan. Not that I would remember the tiniest detail of a fight between two contenders battling it out in UFC (first jargon ;) is an acronym for Ultimate Fighting Championship), but I study Martial Arts as a way of enlightenment and self-realization, and I am enthralled by its history: how it evolved and came to be what it is now.

I have trained in Shito-Ryu karate for 5 years in the prime of my teenage (11-15 yrs of age), and hold a brown belt 4th kyu in this style. Though I left Karate because I could not balance Tennis, my newfound love, alongwith my Karate classes, I never stopped practicing, though it was never the same without a partner to practice with.

After 10 years of having left Karate, I decided I need to learn again, and I began doing quite some research on the best styles available. I hailed from a semi-contact style (wherein the bouts involve minimal contact between two sparring opponents), and then I came across a full-contact style (heavy standup sparring in which you knock down your opponent to the ground if you want the round and the nightmare to end J; in a way, no-holds-barred fighting), and I found the style to be Kyokushin. What worried me was that this style is not practiced in many places in India, and I thought I might have to give up on this, till one day, I saw a guy speeding away on his bike wearing the Kyokushin gi (karate uniform) and a green belt, and I chased him till the first signal I saw. He acknowledged my presence, and we talked about Kyokushin in a secluded spot, and I just signed in. Thanks a lot, Vaibhav. Osu! My persistence paid off well!

My training started off with heavy conditioning and sparring. But the very thought of coming back to training after years of absence enticed me to endure more. 3 days a week, an hour and a quarter of training, and loads of exercises. The dojo (Japanese for gymnasium or school) is small in size, but heck, who cares as long as there is a heavy sandbag to work out your punches and kicks on J

Sensei Morteza Oghbaei, 3 times World Champion, was our teacher (still is, though he has gone back to Iran), and training under him was fun. Not the frolicsome kind of fun, but real endurance (I don’t do kiddy fun!). Though he would tell you not to strain yourself too much if you can't handle it, looking at him do more pushups would make you wanna stretch further. Osu, sensei!

People here have a misplaced conception about Martial Arts, defining it in their own way as a brutal form of sport. I say bollocks, so are football, rugby and cricket. And that too, coming out of the mouths of people who are the very descendants of Aryans and Dravidians who were known to be warlike. I'm glad that my mother never thought so, and what's more inspiring about her is that she used to switch to Star Movies every Saturday night when I returned from my Karate classes (this was during my childhood days), and there would be a martial arts film playing (under only one condition that I take off my gi and have a good shower to drive the stink of my sweat away, followed by quickly shovelling my dinner down my throat so as not to miss the action :P)

Karate teaches you to fight, but never to be hostile. It teaches you patience, and it teaches you virtue, too. It teaches you to realise that there is no situation whose outcome you cannot handle, and you do not need to be hostile to determine the outcome. Though these might sound as far-fetched to you all, I would suggest that you come down and take a few classes, and watch how these sessions can change your outlook on life. The lessons will take time to ingrain themselves in you, but the patience is well worth it. It has been for me! As a saying in Japanese goes, "From white belt to black belt you shape the tool, at black belt you start to learn how to use it." A black-belt is only the beginning J

So long then! Shall be posting a lot more! Osu!

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