There are so many reasons to start karate. I have heard several: self-defense, self-esteem, discipline, balance and coordination, health and fitness, inspired by the movies or a life long ambition. When I ask a new student, why they are taking karate the most common answer is self-defense. I am often asked about why I began and my answer is simple…people.
My karate journey started in 1993 when I stepped on the dojo floor for the first time. However, my initial exposure was through my husband. We were married in 1992 and he was a brown belt at the time. I was young, 24 years old, and newly married. So imagine a newlywed sitting at home alone three nights a week while my spouse packed up a gym bag and headed to class. I was a dutiful karate wife and I would attend tournaments and promotions to cheer on my husband.
Then it happened, the trip that would change everything. My husband wanted to travel with his instructors and training partners to New Orleans to attend a large tournament. I decided to go along because I always wanted to see New Orleans. I asked my sister to go with me and we spend the trip site seeing while my husband attended the tournament. During the course of the trip, I met his instructors and other members of the dojo community. They were enthusiastic, empowered, real and simply fantastic people. They suggested that I start taking karate classes. I told them I would think about it but it was less than two weeks later that I stepped through the dojo door and never looked back.
There are times when I wish my “Why” tale could be more elaborate or exciting. I think most people assume, because I am female, that I started karate in order to learn self-defense. Many assume that my husband is my teacher but he is not. We are students of the same instructor. The dojo community is an important part of my life. It is the reason I started and it is the reason I continue.