Time is an element of life that has always intrigued me. Why? Well, we can use our time wisely or we can waste it, but regardless, once it has gone it has gone, and we can never get it back. And let’s be honest time really does fly by. As I have got older I am certainly wiser in how I spend my time, in many ways I plan things out better, be it for work, growth or enjoyment. I also try to distance myself from negative people for the very reason that time is probably our most precious commodity, so I don’t wish to waste it. 

I remember having a discussion with my good friend James East Sensei about his personal Karate training during his first 10 years or so of being resident on Okinawa, hereby training at both Senaha Sensei’s and Onaga Sensei’s Dojo’s. Of which he was spending 30 plus hours per week of his time training in the Dojo. His reasoning though was quite simple, as in a devotion to studying Okinawan Karate deeply with little time for distractions apart from earning a living. His words always resonated deeply with me, both for his disciplined dedication and in that it is often the distractions that hold us back. I will always hold James Sensei in the highest regard, not just for his deep knowledge and understanding of Okinawan Karate, but for a devotion that few others have matched, but more than that, it is all done with a quiet sense of humility that even fewer are capable of.

Having had many conversations with Senaha Sensei over the years about his training of old, he will mention that he would attend his Sensei’s Dojo, as in Meitoku Yagi Sensei’s Dojo for training 7 days per week, never having a day off. Well apart from a Sunday when there was no class. But regardless, he would still go to the Dojo on a Sunday for both solo practice and to do the customary cleaning or Souji o Shimasu. He mentions how Yagi Sensei would often come into the Dojo and give him personal guidance, there after say, “Senaha go home, Sunday is a day for you to relax.” (The photograph above is of a younger Senaha Sensei in the Dojo of his Sensei)

Regarding Sensei’s training of old, it relates well to both distractions and time. I say of old, but he still enters the Dojo daily for his own personal workout even though he is 83 years young, as he knows this is time well spent. He mentions that back then there were fewer distractions so to train regularly or every day at your Sensei’s Dojo was easier. The thing is though, Senaha Sensei is being humble here, because he still had to earn a living and he still had to support his family and be there for relatives needs just like most of us do today. And times back then on Okinawa following the war were very hard indeed.

I tell you what has changed, modern lifestyle needs, comforts and priorities. Of course, none of us know how much time that we have on this planet sadly. But what we do know is this, we all have the same amount of time, as in 365 days in a year, 7 days in a week and 24 hours in a day. Let that sink in again…. Yes we ALL have the same amount of time, because as individuals it is we who decide how we wish to spend our time. Work and family commitments are an important part of our daily life, be this in the past or in the present, so nothing has changed. In-fact for most of us, but not all, life has become easier with each generation. 

Karate most certainly does not have to take over your life, become an integral part of it though maybe, and yes life is to be cherished and enjoyed, with so many pleasures to be embraced alongside one’s Karate. But, we all choose, and we all decide what we do in our spare time, no one else. So, after our work and family commitments are met, do we show discipline and spend as little as an hour or maybe a half hour or so a day in time doing some Karate, that is so good for both our well-being and health. Or, do we spend it browsing on the computer, going to the pub, watching tv, studying, at the cinema, sitting on the sofa or more. Only you can decide this… But if you are wise with your time, you can do all of these things mentioned above and much more, with plenty time spare to spend practicing Karate. However, serious Karate Ka do not fall into the trap of wasting time or using laziness as an excuse for not practicing. And remember the famous quote of Eichi Miyazato Sensei “If you get your Work & Family Commitments in order first, then having time for Karate will become Easier.”

I saw this quote recently and it made me smile. It is a statement that is true for so many, but only true if we allow it to be. 

Teen Age: Have Time & Energy… But No Money

Working Age: Have Money & Energy… But No Time

Old Age: Have Time & Money…But No Energy