Karate and Life in Lockdown
Sadly, my Dad who was my absolute hero lost his twenty-year battle with Bone Marrow Cancer in February. My biggest inspiration in life was strong, witty and charming till the end. I miss him every day.
I was resolute until Dad’s Service was over. I had promised him I would give a reading and somehow once I had, the full force of grief and loss hit me. I have never felt sadness like it before. For a few days I could barely be motivated to get dressed or get up. Suddenly everything did not seem as important, least of all karate.
But then something happened that no one could have predicted. The Prime Minister announced a full lockdown. Now I did not really need to get up and venture out, the pressure was off. I could hibernate.
But wait. No, I could not. I am a Dad myself. A Son and an annoying husband. The reality of the situation hit me and suddenly my purpose was once again simplified and defined. I needed to look after and protect my family. I had to ensure we had enough to see us through the unknown and make sure we had food and of course the hard-to-find toilet roll in the house.
When Dad was ill, and I was frightened of exposing him to risk and viruses I got through it by simplifying my mission. In my mind I just had to ask Dad what He wanted and then do my level best to make those things happen. To avoid panic and confusion in Lockdown I knew I needed a similar underlying principle or statement to use as my anchor. I decided to simply make sure my wife and kids were happy and safe for as long as it takes.
Setting Goals or targets has been the underpinning of my everyday as an adult. Suddenly my mission was much simpler, and the strangest thing happened. I felt Free!
When I wrote my tribute to my Dad it was therapy. It made me ask myself why he was so special. Not just to me, but seemingly to everyone he ever met. I realised that Dad had an innate ability to live in the moment and enjoy the present. Whether it was a beer or football match with friends or bouncing his grandkids on his knee. Dad enjoyed the simple things. The Important things!
I watched my Dad isolate after bone marrow and stem cell transplants on 3 occasions. The first time was for 8 weeks and back then his food used to get delivered through a hole in the wall.... we used to have to wave goodbye every night through a window. It sucked!!!!!...... when I asked Dad how he got through it his answer was beautiful and sophisticated in it's simplicity.... "Matty, I just take it one day at a time"
Those words are my inspiration in Lockdown. I just try to do the best I can each day to keep moving forward. My Wife was essential in encouraging me to reboot my training. With her encouragement I cleaned and tidied my dojo with the help of my daughter and started training one day at a time.
Wifi in the dojo was a game changer and after training with my good friend Anthony, I trained with Sensei Aidan Trimble via Zoom one Saturday and suddenly felt the desire to start really training hard again.
These who know me appreciate that I am not the best at staying up with technology. But as a late adopter I am embracing the whole online training thing. For me though it must not try and be too clever or insightful. That translates to down time watching the Sensei talk. I want to train and get one session better each time. If the drills are interesting and delivered with charisma, we are good to go. So, with this philosophy I started teaching online myself. I am not slick at it yet and certainly not perfect. But I train hard and have fun. I just hope that all those training have fun too.
Who knows when we will be able to back in our dojos and hall in big number’s? Perhaps it won’t be this year. But if we stay resolved and keep training, we can take things one day at a time and get there in the end.
So, for now none of us have immediate grading or competition goals. Instead we are reminded of what is important in karate…… Training. Simply that, turning up and training.
For now, let’s all take it one One Day at a time. Live in the moment and enjoy karate for what it is. A fantastic way to train our bodies and souls and escape the pressures and worries of the world for the duration of the training.
For if we train and live this way despite the worlds many challenges, our legacy will be simple but sincere. We all lived and made the best of it. …….One day at a time. Oss.