Posted On:11/03/2011 3:40am
Style: TSD, Karate & Kickboxing
Well it's been a long time since I've practiced Shotokan karate - got my Shodan in Shotokan in 2002 then had to leave due to moving and work commitments. I've had a few other incidents/accidents over the years (I've posted them already and don't want to repeat) and have practiced other arts, however never really enjoyed them as much as my first art.
Anyway, fast forward almost a decade and I've decided to return to Shotokan (but different association). They have said that they will accept my current rank that I have, but obviously for my Nidan I will have to meet their requirements (which is fine) and by the time I get back up to speed it'll be approx 3-4 years before my next grading which I'm ok with.
I just hope that my left knee holds out and that my asthma stays under control. Apart from that, bring it on :)
Has anyone else here had a long break (don't mean 6 months) and decided it was time to return to their choosen art? How did you get on?
Posted On:11/03/2011 6:08am
Style: Shotokan and Iaido
Had a break of 12 years, returned last year August. Been good to be back, but also realise that due to the break and having been exposed to different arts (however briefly) that my long held assumptions needed to be challenged.
Struggled mainly getting the body back into "training" shape, lots of strains, pulls, bruises etc so you need to take it easy to start off with.
The mental aspect was quite surprising, most of the kata's came back pretty easily but little bad habits had taken a hold and had to work hard to get rid of things - like lifting the shoulders and telegraphing every time a threw a punch.
I would suggest focussing on the enjoyment of training and not too much on the whole grading aspect, especially over the first couple months, give yourself time to get back into it and remember why you enjoyed it in the first place!
Posted On:11/03/2011 6:32am
Thanks mate :)
Not even thinking about grading at the moment. However at some point would like to progress. Do have to say that I'm under no illusions of bad habits. Will take it easy and see how I go.
Watch and Shoot !
Posted On:11/03/2011 8:47am
Take this for what it's worth; with regard to your shodan, are you going to return and immediately wear your black belt ?
I ask this not to sound like I'm being a dick but from the perspective that if you've been out of the discipline for some time, whilst going back will be very familiar to you, you will find that your actual abilities are far under par with lesser graded students already within the dojo.
Now, this isn't to decry the hard work and obvious effort you've put in to achieve your shodan however, whilst no one would ordinarily say you were not a shodan, you're obviously not up to that physical standard at the moment. Here's what I'd do in your shoes.
Talk to the lead instructor of the dojo (which I assume you've already done to some degree)
Go back to training wearing a white belt, this means you're not having to explain to everyone you train with at club level or beyond that whilst you've got a black belt on, you've been out of training to some time.. (thus don't expect black belt quality/standards)
Wearing a white belt will make you less conspicuous within the dojo, it will however become very apparent to people you train with on a regular basis that you already possess far more knowledge and ability than the average student wearing a white belt.
In my opinion, better to be an above average white belt than a below average black belt.
At a point where you and your teacher feel you've brought yourself back up to a reasonable physical standard of fitness and skill, have the teacher advise the dojo that you'll be wearing your black belt again, this serves three purposes..
1. Students will gain your respect for coming back wearing a white belt despite having been previously graded to shodan.
2. it will serve as a direct incentive for you to train harder to bring yourself back up to standard.
3. When your teacher eventually announces that you're again starting to wear your actual grade, everyone in the dojo will understand why.
Naturally between now and the point where you re-wear your black belt, conversations will naturally take place between you and other students thus they will already know the position you're taking. And like I suggested, I think you'd gain much respect from people already established within the Dojo.
I'm suggesting this because I've seen first hand how the dynamics of an otherwise established club can alter - sometimes negatively - when a new student, already a dan grade joins. Club environments are often like mini empires with people taking the Sempai/Kohai/Sensei relationship a little too seriously thus, when someone else becomes apart of that equation especially someone wearing a black belt, well I'm sure you can appreciate the situation which can arise.
At the end of the day mate, I wish you every success and hope you're able to enjoy your training for many a year. The crux of everything however lay in your conversations with the instructor and what you guys decided to do for the best.
"To sin by silence when one should protest makes cowards out of men".
Posted On:11/03/2011 9:47am
Thanks mate, I was quite willing to return as a lower belt or wear a black & white belt (as some associations will ask you to wear it while you get back up to par), but I spoke to the Chief Instructor/Chairman and he said to return as a Shodan (however just in case, I'll be taking all my previous belts with me).
However in the back of my mind in my first class back I'll be standing with the other black belts, the 2nd class back I'll be standing with the white belts, lol.
However any issues will be address, so I'm not worried from that point of view - just worried about how out of practice I am (and of course my left knee and asthma).
Will let you guy's know how I get on next week :)
Posted On:11/03/2011 11:07am
Originally Posted by Rock Ape
Take this for what it's worth; with regard to your shodan, are you going to return and immediately wear your black belt ? [snip remainder]
Just do whatever sensei says in this regard. But I really don't see it as the Big Deal that Dave does - the other people aren't idiots, they should be able to understand the concept of a rusty shodan.
Posted On:11/03/2011 12:47pm
As much as I hate "Dojo Politics" it always seems to be there. Do what the instructor asks but Rock Ape's advice is pretty solid. Wearing a white belt will cause some to accuse you of sandbagigng douchery, and wearing the black belt will cause the same idiots to say "how dare you". Some more advice is to ignore everything that isn't training. Work hard and be happy.
Posted On:11/03/2011 1:04pm
Happened to me on a pair of occasions (but with kyu ranks). Talked to the instructor before joining the club
Me: I practised this style long ago, achieved x-rank under (former instructor), but I don't remember much and I'm out of shape.
Instructor: Don't worry, bring your old belt and I'll introduce you to the class.
Posted On:11/03/2011 2:01pm
Thanks guys for all your input, much appreciated :)
Posted On:11/03/2011 2:33pm
1) Wear exactly what the instructor told you to and make sure other students know that it's on orders from above that you're wearing it. There's no reason why you'd get any grief after that since the choice wasn't yours.
2) Depending on the exact nature of your left knee damage, you might want to be careful with kata that have level-changes and/or 360-degree jumping turns (Enpi, Unsu and Kanku-Sho, for instance). Also, be cautious with driving off of deep stances at speed.
3) Best of luck to you with this.
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