In addition to all of the benefits that karate training bestows, one more gift might be the most valuable. Strong bonds are often formed with dojo mates. The shared experiences of trials and triumphs fosters feeling of mutual respect. You know what the other person has gone through. How can you not respect them and still respect yourself? This mutual respect is a fertile ground for true friendship. This is another way in which a dojo differs from a gym. There is a much greater interest in common success and consequently a great vested interest in each other.
That bond goes beyond the dojo walls as well. Relationships are forged among dojos, and a connection exists between martial artists that is also born of that common experience, goals, and philosophy. Many times we have had visitors from far away schools from around the world. The camaraderie was instantaneous. Soon after we opened our new dojo in 2009. We had visitors from The Netherlands. The following is a write-up from that visit.
Friday, October 16, 2009
It is often the case that training with someone creates a bond that is hard to describe in words. One of the most interesting aspects of karate training, and Kyokushin in particular, seems to be the connections you share with others you have never before met. This, I suppose, comes from the shared understanding of what it means to train hard and to seek within yourself The Ultimate Truth.
Last night we had three visitors from the Netherlands who are in Connecticut for a short internship. Two of our visitors trained with us, one of which is a 1st Kyu brown belt in Kyokushin karate. It is amazing, if you consider the point, that someone can step into our school from the other side of the world and train as if she were a student here all along. Likewise, it is comforting to know that we would have someplace to train should we ever have the opportunity to travel to the Netherlands. This is true of places all over the world, where Kyokushin karateka and other martial arts practitioners are extremely welcoming of their fellow students.
It is a goal of this school to seek out such opportunities, and possibly travel to far away places, just to share in the simple yet wonderful thing that is karate training.
Both adults and children find that the dojo is a place they “belong.” Strong bonds and rich relationships are forged through hard training and nurtured with sweat. You’ll find many such relationships at the dojo; many of us have been close friends for years, in some cases many decades. When you come across an old dojo mate, you immediately recognize and appreciate that common bond.