Friday, August 24, 2007

Community.

I have always found many parallels between the physical things I do, such as karate and ballroom dancing. Both are graceful and include choreography and require intense focus and stamina. More surprising perhaps is that so many of the principles of karate are related to what I do every day. Trying to adopt the “karate-do”, a way of life exemplified by the principles of martial arts, has helped me immeasurably, not the least of which is in a reduction of stress. So many things that used to bother me simply don’t anymore, as I gradually learn to lose the tendency to judge other people or to worry about what might happen with a voice-over audition. I worry less about what other people are doing in their own karate training and their lives and focus on what I can do to improve my own karate, my own voice-over career, my own life. This results not so much in self-centeredness but in a centering of self. And with this comes enhanced ability to reach out to other people and to help them along their way if I can see a way to do it unobtrusively.

This is all greatly on my mind in the week following a remarkable gathering in our nation’s capital, the celebration of the 45th anniversary of Ueshiro Shorin-ryu Karate in the USA. Over 100 people representing 11 karate schools were in attendance, including 15 people from my own school.

I belong to many communities, formal and informal: of family members, of people in my neighborhood, of parents of school-aged kids, of voice-over professionals, of practitioners of Ueshiro Shorin-ryu karate, of the members of my local karate dojo. I’ve been training with these karate people for 6 ½ years now and have gotten to know some of them very well. We see each other on the deck several times a week, gathering for picnics and for outdoor training, and have stuck together through upheavals at our dojo and the formation and dissolution of personal relationships. Traveling 8 hours by car to celebrate with them for two days and support those who were testing for a new rank, and then the (alas, 12 hour) ride home made me focus as never before on how intense is the experience of being human. These communities are incredibly important and sustaining. This particular one, for me, serves the purpose of supporting mental, spiritual and physical health. I especially encourage anyone who spends their days sitting in front of a computer, even though they may belong to vibrant communities of online friends and professionals, not to neglect their own communities of real people. Cultivate them. Cherish them. Allow them to sustain you.


MCM and friends – photo courtesy Sensei Boris Grossman

Labels: ,

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home