Ten Years of Petersfield Karate Club.
In 2013 I installed some raised planters in our garden. The intention was to have a mini allotment at home and teach my young son the beauty of nature and the pleasure of growing one’s own fruit and vegetables.
Inevitably life got in the way and a few tomatoes and Sweet-Peas aside we have never really made use of the planters. Instead they have become another annoyance. Something to weed regularly and a visual reminder of potential unfulfilled.
Then Lockdown happened! Suddenly the availability of time was no longer an issue. Since March, my family has been growing a modest mix of Potatoes, Peas, Carrots and Courgettes. My Son has really embraced the growing and regularly waters the plants without the need for my Wife or I to prompt him.
With this new found enthusiasm we have suddenly started to notice the seeds in our Peppers and Tomatoes or the Pips in our Fruit and have become curious about how easy or otherwise it would be to ‘grow-our-own’.
Recently my Wife and Daughter were eating Cherries when I stated,
‘Hey we could grow our own Cherries. Karyn save the seeds!’
My wife turned to me and said,
‘I thought about that but when I looked into it, I discovered it takes ten years before you get any fruit’.
Immediately I was interested in Cherries. I wanted to plant the seeds and grow the trees. I was indifferent to the fact that I will not harvest any cherries for a decade. Then I realised something. Growing Cherry Trees is like starting a karate club and my club was ten years old in 2019. Suddenly I wanted to explore this train of thought further.
When I started teaching in a small village hall in Froxfield just outside of Petersfield I inherited two members and another (Regular Nev) joined on my first night. The club was small, new and in the middle of nowhere. I had no goals or dreams as such for the club, just the desire to do my best and the intention to ‘Teach Classes I would want to train in’.
For the first few months I did not advertise or make a big fuss. I simply worked on my teaching style and my confidence now I was no longer my Sensie’s assistant and I was now working on my own.
After a few months I created a simple website to act as a signpost and soon had a few more members. Firstly Mike who had trained at University and then Jon who like Nev had trained at the old Petersfield dojo back in the 1990’s and Wayne who had trained with SEKU the association where I grew up when he too was a young(er) man.
These members are still with us at the club like Cherry Trees planted a decade before. The best thing is that now they (and many other members) are now blossoming into fine martial artists and bearing fruit for themselves and others to benefit from. I think the relevance here of the metaphor is simple and it is purely about Care. If someone needs to eat Cherries today, they will have to buy and then consume them. If someone plants a seed today it will require ten years of attention, affection and care before they can enjoy the fruit. Then the tree will continue to grow, and the fruit will germinate, and the harvest will grow and grow.
When I researched on-line, I found the following:
‘With proper seed and soil preparation, under ideal conditions, cherry seeds started in fall germinate the following spring. A rule of thumb is that it generally takes 90 to 150 days after planting. It will be another seven to 10 years before the tree bears fruit’.
To become a skilled karate exponent you need dedication, enthusiasm, the correct environment and the attention and Care of Seniors to Mentor and a strong leader to teach. I grew through a combination of my own determination and the Care and interest invested in me by others who recognised my potential.
The main reason why I teach karate is to ‘Help others achieve their potential’. Karate is my constant throughout life and my vehicle for self-esteem.
The Cherry Tree metaphor is essentially the story of Petersfield and Villages karate club. Start with the basics, get the environment right. Administer care and nourishment, be consistent, weather the storms and keep weeding.
Sometimes you will get it wrong and make mistakes. But as long as we demonstrate care we will all continue to grow.
The pleasure is in the growing not the eating. Live in the moment. Train with positive intent and grow together!