So far, 2017 has rolled over me. We have lost family members and friends in our personal lives. That means memorial services, funerals and lots and lots of tears. At times, I’ve had to be strong enough to hold my loved ones up. Other times, I’ve cried into my pillow or sobbed in the parking lot at work to let it out. We hosted family from out of state after being away for a week for SuperGrands and sandwiched in between the sorrow, I’ve had to travel for business so I can network for my future career. 2017 has been whirlwind of frenetic activity.
My intention was to start training for my next race back in November 2016. I wanted to train for 12 weeks to work on my race pace. My goal was achievable but challenging. In my first half marathon back in 2012, I ran a 13 minute mile and finished the race in 3 hours. Somehow that race wound up being 13.98 miles instead of 13.1 but whatever. A 13 minute mile for a half marathon is my race pace when I don’t prepare and the weather conditions are mild, not too hot or cold.
My best time has been a 13.64 mile race at 12:21 miles/minute and a time of 2 hours 48 minutes. That race was the 2015 Avengers Half Marathon, which I did in conjunction with the Captain America 10K. The two races together were marketed by RunDisney as the “Infinity Gauntlet Challenge – a 10K early Saturday morning and a half marathon the next morning on Sunday. I took that training really seriously because I was concerned about whether my body could handle that many miles over one weekend because #ihaterunning. That training paid off: my body was in very good shape, my stamina was excellent, and my confidence was very high. The root of those positive results: fit body, better stamina and higher self-confidence, are founded in core values for the dojo, two that we carry-over from Rabago Shorin Ryu: Discipline and Respect. I would like to add a third core value that I want to include for Togisala Shorin Ryu Dojo: Humility.
This word “Discipline” is defined by Webster as: “1. Punishment 2. obsolete Instruction 3. A field of study 4. Training that corrects, molds, or perfects the mental faculties or moral character.” In their Children’s Dictionary, “Discipline” is defined as “Strict training that corrects or strengthens mental ability or moral character.” That defines what we want to teach in the dojo. My training for half marathons fulfills the role of reinforcing the importance of my own discipline in training and conditioning my body. Last year, I focused 50% of my energy on my day job, raising Kanoe, and being a good girlfriend; 35% of my energy on opening up the new studio; and 15% of my energy on my own training. I would never approve of one our students only putting in 15% of their energy towards training and I had been very down on myself for that. But life was filled with many barriers taking up my time after November. December’s calendar listed business trips, a halau Christmas concert performance, the dojo Christmas party, and SuperGrands. Honest reasons but not good excuses for being less than disciplined on my training.
I already mentioned what January felt like for us. And it all led to depression and health issues for us. We are focusing on getting his blood pressure under control and managing his blood sugars to get off of medication. That takes discipline on both of our parts. I need to ensure that we have healthy meals to eat and lots of opportunities for exercise and healthy distractions. He must resist the temptation of sugary foods and drinks and the habit of mindless, late night snacking. This discipline is critical to his health. Our lives are so intertwined because we live together and we share the responsibilities of running the dojo. His health impacts my health and vice versa.
Our second core value for Togisala Shorin Ryu, “Respect” may sound simple. The word is used every day in formal and casual conversations. However, the dictionary defines this word as a noun that means, “A feeling of deep admiration for someone or something elicited by their abilities, qualities, or achievements.” In addition, as a verb, the definitions reads as, “Admire (someone or something) deeply, as result of their abilities, qualities, or achievements.” What would that look like when one enters the dojo? Students must bow before they walk onto the mat to train. In addition, we bow to a photo of the late Sensei Rabago, who taught both Sensei Butch and me, of Rabago Shorin Ryu. Before we start class to stretch and warm-up, we show respect by bowing to our Sensei and Sempai. In addition, students must bow to one another while doing partner drills together. If they are sparring, tapping gloves shows respect that each student will show good sportsmanship. Winning is always celebrated with Respect. Show-boating when winning is frowned upon. Crying when losing is also not allowed. We want to teach our students to Respect the lesson in each match or each drill. Showing courtesy by using the words, “thank you” and “please” also builds Respect. Having such Respect starts with Discipline. Many children start martial arts at such a young age that they don’t consciously understand these concepts but I trust that consistency and setting a good example will allow them to internalize these lessons.
But a more difficult value to teach and learn is the word, “Humility.” I am going to spend more time processing this definition and tying it to our teaching at Togisala Shorin Ryu. Look for a new blog post building on this one soon. I need to go tend to our new puppy. I want to name her “Kihon” (look up this Japanese word, if you don’t know what it means).