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Cheyenne’s Essay

Cheyenne Murano

 

Over the past few years, karate has come to mean a number of things to me. It’s fun and I enjoy it, but it’s more than a sport. The self-defense is helpful. I know I can take care of myself at least reasonably well, which, considering I’m moving to another state with people I’ve never met, is a comforting thought. The physical part of it is great, but it’s everything else that makes it so important for me. It gives me goals to set for myself, whether it is learning a new kata or improving my side kick. It’s something for me to work toward.

Karate has taught me a number of important lessons. It’s taught me that respect is earned. It’s taught me that when I fall, it’s a chance for me to get up and try again. It’s been a confidence boost when my self-esteem has been at it’s lowest. When I come to practice, it’s a chance for me to leave y problems outside with my shoes, and I can pick them back up later. It’s also been a reminder that I still have a lot to learn about many things (i.e. people, life, karate, myself, etc.). Thus, it’s been a lesson not to let accomplishments get to my head.

Karate has given me opportunities to meet some truly wonderful people. Everyone I’ve met at practice has influenced me somehow. At practice, everyone has seen my best, and my worst, but I’m not judged for it, nor would I presume to judge anyone.  I’ve come to regard the people at practice as extended family. I know if I ever needed help, all I would have to do is ask for it.

Being the only girl in a men’s class has been a growing experience. Sometimes it’s been painful, usually when sparring. Because of it, I know I can take a hit and shake it off. As I’ve grown up and gained more experience, I’ve noticed a difference in how people treat me. I remember when I was a white belt, it wasn’t uncommon for me to hear, “It’s okay to hit me. You aren’t going to hurt me.” I never heard that said to any of the guys. Actually, I heard the guys being told “Hey! Watch your control!” It was minor coddling that has disappeared as I’ve gotten older and more experienced. Nobody takes it easy on me because I’m a girl. I’m expected to keep up with the men. It’s as though the differences in gender have become blurred. I’m one of the guys.  Maybe nobody else has noticed this, but I have, and it means more to me than I could ever put into words.

I’ve learned a lot about myself from it. I’ve learned that I’m a lot tougher than I thought I was. I don’t easily trust people, and being in karate has helped me start to overcome this. I’ve learned that the only way to learn is to try over and over again, and that when I think I’ve got it, to do it again and make it better. Katas in particular have helped me there. Karate has had so much influence on my life. I wouldn’t change that for the world.

US Branch of Japan Keishinkan Karate