“Class ended at 8pm! It is almost 9’oclock why has it taken you this long to leave class?” is what I heard one night when I stepped outside of the dojo. I was met with the fiercest look that even Master Ken could only appreciate. Instead of the “Kill Face” I call it the “Wife Face”. My wife was furious with me. I had stood around talking to the sensei and several other martial artists for almost an hour after class ended. – I couldn’t understand why it was not acceptable for me to chat with the sensei and a few of the other guys.
I explained to my wife that in my earlier years when I first began practicing karate, me and my friends used to stand outside the community center for several minutes after class with the instructor and his brother, my brother in law, and friends. When I was done explaining this to her she pointed out to me a few facts that I had not considered:
- When I was younger I wasn’t married. The only responsibility I had was to graduate high school and make it through college. So it didn’t matter if I stood around and hung out with friends.
- The reason why those guys could stand around the dojo all of the time is because each one of them were divorced. Their wives got tired of waiting on them to leave karate class so they left them instead.
To make matters worse for that night while I was standing around in the dojo talking; my sister was in town. The last time I had seen her was at our wedding three years earlier. She was at our mother’s waiting to see me. Plus she was hungry waiting to eat dinner. I realized I couldn’t do stand around the dojo after class anymore. I have a family now. I have a wife, kids, dogs, and mortgages. I learned that when class is over it was time to go home.
Many years later I began taking jujitsu class. One night while sitting off to the side of the room I was watching a randori match and noticed that most of my classmates were working out with a spouse, sibling, or with their children. This dojo was a family oriented place. When we bowed out of class that night, people changed their clothes and promptly left except for the ones who volunteered to put up equipment. Once they were done, they changed clothes and were out the door. Class ended at 9PM and at 9:15PM the lights were off and the door was locked.
The adults were reminded on a regular basis that family and career come before jujitsu (and karate). The kids were told that school comes first. The instructor always followed it up with we will be around for a while no need to put off responsibilities.
I can remember when I was 17 years old sitting off to the side with my sensei, I asked him why class was 2 nights a week and not every night. I told him that if he had a class every day I would be there to practice. He explained to me that everyone else has a life outside of karate. They had jobs and families, and other commitments. Fast forward to 2014 me almost at 33 years old and practicing jujitsu on a regular basis. I began to understand what sensei was talking about when it came to commitments, financial responsibilities, staying healthy, raising a family, and careers.
As my kids started school and they started to have after school programs to attend. My wife has her responsibilities, hobbies, and friends. Then there was the overall health of each individual member of the family. When one was sick, we all got sick. As I learned towards the last quarter of 2014 we had to deal with health related issues. Since then I haven’t been able to step foot in a dojo because of overall health of my kids, wife, and myself included. When we weren’t dealing with health related issues it was financial responsibilities that needed to be met first. I had to pay the bills before I could pay a monthly fee, plus the gas to drive 30-45 minutes round trip, and associated costs. In the end martial arts is a hobby you participate in when all other responsibilities in life have been met. End of story!
Then again; maybe I need to get creative and try to make it into a career. I could go around doing motivational speaking engagements, do a movie cameo, or develop training and fitness videos. Better yet become a martial arts consultant, blogger, writer, or journalist. Who knows the possibilities are endless, I could go on talk shows and demonstrate my awesome skills. But for now Karate Kickin Dwarf is a hobby and outlet to reach out to other to disabled people who are interested in martial artist and martial artists in general.
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