Senshin: The Enlightened Mind

Martial Arts Blog

normrobitza On October - 2 - 2013

81ed8a29447e588b4a9dde5847c731ebShugyo is a Samurai tradition. It is when a warrior is taken to the utmost extent of their physical capabilities. It is training for tomorrow’s challenges today.

This is a ritual that some instructors take their students through once a year. They take them through there paces and beat them down to the point of breaking then watch as they rise above. When a student can meet and surpass this challenge they will develop a stronger character. The students are generally put to the test with an exhausting regime of basic training, kata and sparring. It usually forces them to become ill. The instructor then orders them right back into training. Upon completing the exercise regime, the student will realize that they have broken through the glass ceiling and achieved a new level of physical ability.

This has happened to me recently. I was testing for my Yondan at the 2013 International Karate Daigaku Canada Cup in Dieppe, NB. My test would consist of 2 Kata (Jiin, my choice, and one from a list specific list chosen by the Master), Heian Yondan bunkai, a series of advanced basic techniques and self-defense against a knife. I worked hard leading up to the test and did all that I could to prepare myself.

The evening before the tournament saw a judges’ course and exam as well as Dan exams. I was involved in both. Immediately following the Judges’ course the Dan exam would start. After absorbing the information for the judges’ exam, I prepared myself for my black belt test. If you could have been their you would have seen that I was put through the ringer. There is video but I it was so personal that I do not want to share. Sorry to those that really want to see it. I was exhausted and to add to it all, I was suffering from a torn meniscus (cartilage) in my left knee. When the Dan exam ended, I was totally exhausted. I just wanted to crawl away and hide for the rest of the weekend. But there was not rest for me. The Judges’ exam was next. As we prepared to do the verbal exam, a higher ranking karate ka approached and told me that my grading was all over the place and sloppy. Now I wanted to run away even more. I soldier on through the judges’ exam. After hearing my results for the judges’ exam, Shuseki Shihan Woon A Tai asked me to fix the error in my kata. I immediately, went to the point where I knew I messed up and fixed it. Turning back to face him, I was given my grading results. I was elated to pass both my Yondan test and receive a “C” level Referee’s license. As I walked from the ballroom where the exam took place I was alone and started to feel emotion building up inside of me. I was pushed to my breaking point and beyond. Even with a severe knee injury, I know I can do whatever I put my mind to.

I am not sure if Shuseki Shihan Woon A Tai knows what I went through that day. Part of me likes to think that he was testing my resolve. I will never forget that day as long as I live and if you could see the footage, you would see how exhausted I was as I answered his questions between the segments of my test. I could barely speak let alone answer his question.

If you are ever pushed in your training to the point where you just can’t take it anymore, keep going. The reward is amazing.


Categories: Teaching/Training

Leave a Reply

Featured Posts

I’m a Sensei!

What makes a person a Sensei? There are a lot of factors involved but what gives a person the ability to call themselves Sensei? Ok, first what does the word mean? Sensei translates to “one who has gone before” or “one who has walked the path ahead”. It synonymous with the term “teacher” but in […]

It is my instructor’s fault!

This happens often, a student or parent complains that the outcome of their testing was not what they expected. The student isn’t successful or gets a low level pass so they blame the results on the examiner or the instructor. Then they either give up, change to a different dojo or different style. The problem […]


Achieving a goal is something that is to be celebrated but don’t fixate on it. As a white belt the main goal is to become a black belt. This is true but each beginner should start off with basic goals, learn how to tie your belt, memorise the first kata and learn all of the […]

2017 IKD World Camp

In 2 weeks, the IKD will hold the 6th IKD World Honbu Camp. The organisation has grown with leaps and bounds over the past few years and recently expanded into Australia. Each year at Camp there has been a theme, last year was kobudo, weapons. This year will have two themes. The Science of Karate […]

Search my site

Twitter Updates

No public Twitter messages.