Saturday, December 27, 2008

5000 Katas

It might be a slight understatement to say that I'm a bit obsessive about martial arts. Since starting doing judo at college my freshman year, I've become more conscious about my body, actually working out, and actually watching what I eat. Not a bad set of habits, I think, since judo helped me during my sophomore to push myself to train harder and lose over 40 pounds through diet and exercise for a tournament. (I still tremendously lost, but it was definitely worth it.)

Judo unfortunately ended after this past spring semester, as our instructor, a professor at the university, felt that he needed to put more time into his research. (C'mon, what's more important? Cancer research, or us?) So this summer, I decided I needed to either find another place to practice judo, or take up some other martial art. Since the nearest judo school is at least 45 minutes from my home, the next step was to cross over into karate. Conveniently, there was a dojo (two, actually) within a stone's throw of the day care that I worked at over the summer, so I officially started at the beginning of June.

As I mentioned in the last post a few times, this semester was rather bad for my general health, between poor sleep, poor diet, and poor exercise. Since I got home, I've been going to the dojo nearly every day to work out, and I think I've regained a lot of strength and lost some weight. However, I'm afraid that when I go back to school, I might again lose these good exercise/diet habits that I've had at home lately.

Today (at practice, naturally), I had an idea for a New Year's resolution. Normally, I don't set resolutions, because they're either too silly or impossible to be taken seriously, and there's no way to be held accountable for them. However, this year, I have an inspiration for a serious goal (the many black belts who always mention "doing that kata a million times... literally") as well as something to hold me accountable (the visitors to this blog).

The goal, in short: do 5000 katas over the course of the next year. Why?
1. Obviously, to become better at the katas, and in turn, more confident in them, and in turn, more confident in myself.
2. Exercise. Practicing a kata even a few times is enough to make me break a sweat. Whether or not that's a good thing, I'm not sure, but at the very least, it's physical activity for the whole body, and I can't say I've gotten much of that over the last semester.
3. For the sake of having a commitment. I've already mentioned that I've had problems with resolutions in the past, but martial arts (for me) isn't just a hobby, it is a commitment. I know that if I want to improve, I have to stay committed to practicing.

So what is 5000 katas? About 13 or 14 per day. Depending on which katas I do, that could be about a half hour to an hour per day. As of yet, I only firmly have Heian Shodan and Heian Nidan down (although there's plenty of room for improvement), but I'm currently working on Suishi no Kon and might get started on another one before I return to school. Hopefully, I'll be able to pick up more during spring break and summer break, so my repertoire will be more than just three or four katas, but for the time being, focusing on a small few is a good way to really solidify those particular katas.

I've added a box to the right side, which I will occasionally post with my progress in. I need people to pester me about this to keep me on track. By all means, ask me if I've done my katas today, it's the encouragement I need.

So, for 2009: 5000 katas. Possible? Yes. Plausible? Maybe not s'much, but if I can pull this off, who knows what improvements I'll make.


Aaron said...

so we're 4 days into the new many katas have you done?

ksekelsky said...

this year: 5000 katas.
next year: 5000 onion rings!

(but seriously, good luck! also, I had to use wikipedia to find out what a kata is. and now i feel more educated!)