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reasons to exercise and my incredible teacher



Still well overweight. Exercise is essential but difficult. I take dancing lessons at the moment. Have done for about a year now. When I started the instructor asked if I was a musician; which impressed me a lot!

Dancing is complicated and an ongoing struggle to remember all these steps. I fail most of the time but I'm still trying.


I also took up badminton at the suggestion of my son Ben. Only once a week though. Then it transpired that they break during the summer months. So not enough badminton going on! To make matters worse I am now working a complex shift pattern that means I can only get to half of the remaining sessions. This is also going to affect the dance classes next year.


I used to do karate training. I did it for 15 years and loved it. I eventually stopped because I had so much time out with injuries. I knew that age was taking its toll & that I needed to start taking it easier, but I just couldn't do it. I stopped training 16 years ago. I wondered maybe if I could take it easier now?


So I phoned up my old Karate instructor yesterday and had a wonderful conversation with him. He's a older than I am and has seen people stop & resume training a lot through the years. My absence is not the longest by far, and his oldest club member is in his 80s.


He also told me an incredible story about himself. First of all its important to understand that he is the longest serving indigenous karateka in the whole of the uk; meaning he has been training longer than any other Brit. He started in the 60s, and is now an 8th Dan. For more than 50 years he has presided over many thousands of gradings, from white belts up to senior black belts.


Its not always realised that when someone of his seniority advances in Dan grade, that its 'awarded' by his peers. This is simply to maintain the 'gap' between all those others continually rising in the ranks below them.


There is nothing wrong with this. Its how things are done. However, when he started his own organisation recently, his peers were no longer there & he was not altogether comfortable with his status of 8th Dan. So he decided to undergo a grading himself to ratify his rank. But who is senior enough to grade him? He decided to seek such people out. After some time he eventually he arranged his grading with a panel of senior karateka headed by a Japanese Sensie in Bulgaria. He had never met any of them before.


Always one to consider his students, took a bunch of those with him also, so they could benefit from training with different people. So he arranged the trip. The airport run, the flights, transport to the hotel in Bulgaria etc. They duly arrived the day before his grading was to commence.


However, on arriving at the hotel, his name was being called in the lobby. He was approached by an envoy of the Karate Sensies and politely told that he must accompany him to attend his grading. He was given 10 minutes to be ready. He tried to explain that the grading was scheduled for the following day, but the delegate was adamant that he attend 'now'.


So my teacher had been up and traveling for 24 hours. He hadn't had a shave, a shower, eaten properly, nor had any rest. Now he was being conveyed to the dojo for his grading. I dont know what he had to do during this session (and its not good etiquette to ask!) but it will have been thorough and extensive. Whatever transpired, he achieved his objective and his 8th Dan was endorsed by the Sensies he had sought out.


I was not at all surprised to learn that the sudden 'change of plan' and haste was in fact part of his grading and evaluation. They knew well enough his time of arrival and deliberately surprised him in that way. That's karate for ya!


Anyway, I start back karate training tomorrow morning (just as well I'm not grading eh?).


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