Friday, January 21, 2011

Karate meets Dance

Thursdays are Harmony by Karate are always a chance to grow and learn. I entered the dojo, still sore from overworking my back in a few advanced yoga classes, but excited to be there! All I hear is the glorious sounds of the Tibetan Singing Bowls. This sound is so beautiful! Before class, myself and Sensei Joseph give Sempai Fariha a lesson in Ohashiatsu Body work, and she learns how to work on my "bladder meridian"....ahhhhh relief! Thank you Sempai! Fast forward to the kids classes, and surprise Sempai Karen is awarded with a yellow belt black stripe (yeaaahhh we match!!!) both the classes end with Sensei John circling the students up to discuss the powerful "philosphy of the week", and when it's time to meditate the bowls are played. Beautiful.

Now it's time for the adults class, in walks Sensei Oscar. Sensei Oscar leads us through an amazing class that is inspired by the free movement of dance. Sensei taught us to keep our body free when throwing punches, when moving our hips, and work with our breath. With a gradual progression into sweaty fun, we lined up and worked on punches, pushes, and body movement that I would almost compare to a Vinyasa yoga class, only the Karate version. Whenever I see Sensei Oscar, Sensei Joseph, Sensei John, Sensei Adam, Sempai Farrihah, Sempai David, and Sensei Leonard move with such quick agility and ease, I am in awe, and truly admire and respect their obvious dedication to their practice. That being said, I don't have a poker face, so sometimes during the demonstration of the exercise, I have a mini look of fright (which I am working on) because I am unsure if I can recreate such mastery, actually, in the moment I am pretty sure I can't. That was the case tonight, Sensei Oscar demonstrated quick punches and movements, and I had that expression of "OH WOW". Sensei Joseph tends to catch my looks and it results in a moment of laughter for him and I.

When it was time to partner up for technique exchange, I was initially with Sensei Joseph, and while he sees my fear, he is such an amazing instructor that he helps me identify it, sees right through it, and coaches me to work around it. He is so amazing at watching a student and guiding them to shift out of their comfort zone. So when Sensei Joseph was coming at me with Bruce Lee style punches and kicks, (seriously he was really coming at me) and I reverted to an automatic "Oh My goodness, this guy is really coming at me!" reaction which tells my body to cower and run away in fear, he simply said, just breathe. The irony, that a yoga teacher is being told, "just breathe", I love it!!! Breathing being a verbal cue that I guide my students in throughout yoga class, was being instructed to me, and it could not have come at a more appropriate time. When we are faced with a situation that brings out fear, the best and first reaction should be, breathe, and then we can react with ease. Thank you Sensei Joseph, once again for sharing your amazing energy.

The class left us all drenched in bliss, and aware that we will feel the fruits of our labor the next day. The best part, Sensei Oscar had us finish class laying on the dojo floor in a similar fashion of "Savasana", and the singing bowls echoed us into a dreamless sleep.

Some people ask me, why as a yoga teacher do you want to learn Karate of all things? Well, I believe it can improve strength, focus and confidence, and I love to learn. Along with that, I can scare easily, if I watch a movie that is even slightly scary, don't be surprised if I scream and jump into your lap if you are next to I am working on changing that habit. When we want to change anything in our lives, it requires action. Even just the small moments where I learn to just breathe through my fear during technique exchange, kick or punch at the given target, and even avoid choke holds are precious lessons that are bringing about the change I desire. Whenever I seek to learn, grow, and challenge my body, I seek out the best people to learn from or model after, then only do we have a proper benchmark. Thank you Harmony by Karate for providing the best platform for this amazing experience!
Photo: Ambria, Sensei Joseph, Sempai Karen, Sensei Oscar

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