The Quantum Karateka

…step outside the dojo.

You and I don’t know shit

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My Sensei took down my study group flyer at the dojo the other day.

He thought, because it said “kumite” on it that it meant that I didn’t like how he taught kumite and I was challenging him by teaching my own version.

[…pause for eye roll…]

Immediately annoyed, I told him, “Sensei, that’s the name of the group“.

Sensei: (kind of surprised) “That’s the name?”

Me: “Yeah.”

Sensei: (silent)

Me: (in my head) “Yeah, apparently you don’t read shit. Cause there’s a description of what the group is about on there and nowhere does it say that I’m teaching some alternative version of kumite that is better than yours.”

[Grappling Hands Circle (or Kumite Sakuru in Japanese) is a peer-taught, adult level study group geared towards open-minded students of Okinawan karate, but gladly welcomes newbies and practitioners from outside this discipline. The purpose of Grappling Hands Circle (GHC) is to provide an inclusive, non-competitive environment that emphasizes three “key concepts”: Kata Literacy, Aliveness, and Friendship (Community)*. The overall intent of GHC is to be a karate organization that thrives not upon the personality, charisma or talent of any particular individual (i.e. Sensei, Hanshi, Master, Guru, Professor, etc.) but rather, on the integration of relevant information, ideas, and practices (inside and outside of karate) which will help its members to become functional and broad-minded karate students.]


My therapist told me that this man relates to people through a power dynamic. Which means that either he submits (not likely though) or you submit to him. And I’m talking to him from a different dynamic, what I’ll call a “sharing” dynamic. Meaning, I want to make sure we’re all comin’ up together.

So in essence, we’re both hearing Latin. Which is no wonder why I’m always feeling misunderstood. This guy just doesn’t get what I’m trying to do. And let’s be real: I am challenging him. I’m challenging the way things are taught because I think it’s missing some crucial pieces of information.

But *sigh* again.

What am I doing?

It’s not as though I’ve discovered this applied karate stuff on my own and I’m simply following my creativity. If that were the case, perhaps it would be easier to go against the grain? Most of the shit I know now (which isn’t a lot mind you), comes from the work of other people. I feel like I’m just digesting and re-emphasizing what they’re saying and doing. I mean, admittedly, despite the few years I’ve been training, I actually suck at what I’m doing. And the purpose of the study group was to help myself learn this stuff so that maybe I won’t suck as much.

But I always have this anxious feeling inside of me like…I feel like I’m a phony. A fake. A poser. A soft guy pretending to be hard. I hate it. I don’t wanna be fake. I don’t wanna be a phony. I want my pursuits to be aligned with what’s authentic to me. So what’s authentic to me? Not fighting that’s for sure. I mean, I’m a guy who tears up when words alone hit me in the face. I’m a sensitive dude. I like playing with animals and children. I’ve never been in any serious fights or trouble in my life. Except the trouble that comes from my soul; suicide ideation and depressed, negative thought patterns and behavior. And that’s gotten me into trouble with my parents and friends. I’ve lost a friend because of that. I became a violent and aggressive bully. And I’ve become violent and aggressive with my father numerous times in the past.

It’s real difficult being human sometimes. I’ve honestly wondered what the point of me even being alive is. The pressure to do and to be and to acquire…all that gives me a headache, a knot deep down in the pit of my stomach. I’m like, “why the fuck did I have to be born into this!?” Listen idiot: Last time I checked, we’re all living on a pale blue dot. That dot is floating, literally, in space. What’s space? I don’t know, but it’s pretty infinite seeming. And I’m not so sure that the things you’re so sure about really matter. Cause while your squabbling over your little bits of whatever, this little blue dot is spinning and turning and I don’t think anyone in space really cares what little empire you’ve built for yourself. You’re a big man cause you conquered other people? Motherfucker, you’re nobody inside yourself. Instead of conquering, why not try cooperating? Why not try swallowing that fear of change and admit that you don’t know shit. Admit that despite your life experience, what you are, what you can see, is a blip in time. A blip dude. Like, come and then gone.

So if that’s the case, what really matters?

SMASH your bullshit.


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