Years ago, when I taught the PreK class in the Reebok Sports Club, one of my friends/co-workers (Sensei Joseph) introduced me to Sensei John. Sensei John and the team of Black Belt Instructors at the Karate school always displayed a genuine kindness that always stood out to me. Fast forward to 2010, I was invited to participate in a lovely meditation at the dojo led by my friend Sensei Joseph. The meditation was in honor of the 9/11 tragedy, and was meant to bring unity within diversity, and celebrate humanity despite tragedy. The meditation was beautiful. It was there that Sensei John asked me if I knew anyone who could help the kids classes, in exchange learn Karate. Though my schedule has been pretty busy, I volunteered myself because I was reminded of the outstanding energy I always experienced with the family of workers at Harmony by Karate.
Twice a week I have the great privilege to join the brilliant team of Sensei's at Harmony By Karate, located in the Reebok Sports Club, to teach the Kids Karate Class. I bring the Yoga stretching to the kids and witness a beautiful way to teach kids discipline through Karate. These kids learn traditional forms, drills, and exercises while the Sensei always ties in inspiring words and things to think about.
Initially, I was reluctant to do the Karate for myself. The work outs are no joke, and force me to use my muscles in different ways than I do in yoga. While I know that martial arts was inspired by yoga, by nature, I am not aggressive, confrontational, or anything like that, so I was intimidated to be in this black belt Karate class. Unlike in yoga, there is no "childs pose" in Karate. In the class I have been doing katas, kicks, punches, chops, rolls, drops, kart wheels, hand stands, push ups, one arm push ups, and much more!!! One night we worked on yelling "STOP!!" to our partner and pushing them. This was hard for me, as my partner was my friend, Sensei Joseph. Each time I looked at his face I found myself smiling and giggling. He forced me to dig deep, and I did it.
This simple exercise nearly saved my life the following weekend. When I was on the subway, traveling early to Manhattan to teach Yoga, a man sat next to me, placed his arm around my shoulder and kissed my cheek within one second (literally when I blinked). I was so startled, I yelled "Ewww Gross, Please get away from me!" and pushed myself free. The man was startled and moved, I walked to another train car. While it may seem funny that I used the word "please" when I yelled, a year ago, when I was faced with a similar scary incident on the subway, I just froze in fear. This time, thanks to my experience at Karate, I diverted a potentially life threatening situation! Thank you to Sensei John, Sensei Joseph, Sensei Adam, Sempai Ferriha, Sempai David, and Sempai Leonard for welcoming me to your team and providing me with tools that I will cherish forever.
Many women have the limiting belief that it is not in their nature to be aggressive. The necessary confidence and skills can be taught with a wonderful self defense class or Martial Arts.
Pictured: Sensei Adam, Ambria, Sensei Joseph, Sempai David