Rita W., 46, unranked, practicing 3 weeks
"Keep coming back, it works! The philosophy and what the masters had and have to say is what first attracted me. That I don't have to be perfect and [do] everything all at once. To get my mind to have the power over my body is what I have always strived for and karate helps center me. Because of this I feel I'll get there."
Phillip S., 39, 2nd kyu, practicing 3 years
"In Shotokan, we practice long, hard and often. Our seniors drive and inspire us. At Special Trainings, we learn that the mind sets limits on the body. We smash those limits. Oh, what a ride! "
Kjell G., 20, 3rd kyu, practicing 5 years
"My uncle introduced me to the art at a young age. I have been practicing diligently since. "
Cathy C., 44, sandan, practicing 20 years
"I began practicing karate because I was bored with the people and the atmosphere in my health club. Originally from Los Angeles, in 1979 I was living with my husband and two-year-old son in Georgia. Planning to return to California, my husband said that, ' when we get back to Los Angeles I know of something you can do that will challenge you for the rest of your life.' That something turned out to be Shotokan karate - and in Los Angeles I had the opportunity to train with a man whose reputation within karate circles precedes him, Tsutomu Ohshima.
Little did I realize that it would become the practice for my life. I am amazed even today, almost twenty years later, that it has become such an integral part of my life. Although the physical practice itself has made me more fit at 44 than I was at 18, it is for the spiritual and mental benefits I receive from karate that has fused me to my practice. I have come to appreciate that the quality people who continue to train seriously is one of the treasures of Shotokan karate .
I believe I have had this almost enlightening experience in karate, an activity I had no previous interest in other than as a fitness tool, because I came to it with no other expectations. The benefits of karate practice are so subtle that over the years they occur without one's knowledge. Never in my life had I considered the possibility that I would one day be a 3rd degree black belt. Now as I enjoy the priceless fruits of my years of practice I have come to understand the maxim: Karate is life itself. "