This blog is going to be mainly about my journey through Shotokan karate with additional items that can benefit others with their martial arts goals.
For me, my martial arts career started when I was 10 years old. My brother also started with me and we were under the sai-kan style, which is of Okinawan decent. Due to circumstances beyond our control our training was sporadic until about age 14. At age 15 our sensei moved to Phoenix, AZ (from Ohio) and left his two 1st Dan black belts in charge of the school. We shared the space with another “karate” school in a health club and our school fell apart due to a disagreement between the black belts in charge. They then decided to dissolve the school and acquired an agreement with the Sensei of the other school to take their students at the same price and to keep their ranks. Only four of us took that offer and only two of is stuck it out for any decent length of time. Our new Sensei was, at the time, 6th Dan in Shotokan karate, Shihon Danny Sprague.
Sensei Sprague took a full year to get us up to speed to learn their versions of kata (pinian to heian) and basic moves. We made brown belt and eventually 1st Dan. At almost 20 years old I made, retrospectively, one of the worse decisions in my life. I decided that I was to busy for martial arts due to school and work. Ultimately during this time I married my wonderful wife and had two boys. Periodically I would run into my Sensie around town and he would try to talk me in to coming back to class and I would tell him I would think about it but never do it.
11 years after my last class I ran into my sensei again and he told me how well the school was doing and I was impressed by what he had to say. My boys were 9 and almost 6 and I thought it would be very good to get them into something besides baseball.
Sensei Sprague allowed me to keep my prior rank and now my boys have proceeded down the Shotokan path. it has been 4 months now and I am slowly relearning my kata but fortunately muscle memory is a wonderful thing so my moves and stances weren’t all that rusty. In the next couple of weeks my boys will be taking their first belt test to get their red belt. Things are going great and I hope to have a very long and prosperous martial arts career. I believe that my story is rare as most who quit usually never return. I hope to inspire and encourage those of of you who may have stopped their training to go back and continue your martial arts for the betterment of your self and your family.
I congratulate Sensi Sprague for his well over 40 years of constant and continual training and for the positive impact he has had in our’s and surrounding communities.
If you have a story to tell about your martial arts journey I would love to hear it.