Student Voices

Senpai Rebecca

Training Since: September 2004

The reasons why I train in karate and the reasons why I train at Sun Dragon are inextricably intertwined. This is not to say that I would no longer train in karate if I could no longer train at Sun Dragon; but I don’t think I would still be training in karate if I had not begun my training at Sun Dragon. The Sun Dragon community is one of the most supportive that I have ever known. This support has helped me to develop a level of comfort with my body and a sense of confidence that I had never known before and that I will take with me wherever I go in the future. Sun Dragon is a place I come to be challenged as well as a place to find peace—a place where I exercise my body and my mind in tandem. I train to improve myself. I train at Sun Dragon because its community provides a unique environment in which to improve myself, but also because it is a community where my contribution to the whole is valued and encouraged. I train because I have something to learn from each and every person with whom I train.


Training Since: August 2005

I train because to not train is to deny myself needs
that are as primal as hunger,
natural as breathing,
innate as a heartbeat.

My body needs movement.
I move it though kata, kihons,
self-defense drills.
I move it against bags and ukes.
I move it through kumite.

My mind needs puzzles;
to sort through the intricacies of
a combination or a kata
keeps me sharp and ready.

My soul needs community.
Walking into the dojo is to
walk into a friend’s embrace
irrespective of the quality
of your mood,
irrespective of what you are
able to give that day.

To train is to meet the requirements of my soul’s dynamism.
I am blessed to do that at Sun Dragon.



Training Since: April 2007

As all of us do, I have dozens of reasons why I train, but I’ll start with this one: I’ve always preferred to think my way out of problems. I’m good at thinking – no confrontations, no potential rejection, no one has to know if it doesn’t work. The perfect crime. The thing about thinking, though, is there’s only so far it will take you. You can’t think yourself into physical strength or out of threatening situations beyond your control. I was never able to think of a good argument when my father would ask my brother, not me, to help him with the tough jobs around the house; thinking doesn’t make me feel safer walking alone at night. On the occasions when I decide to stop thinking and just act, it always feels like a pretty risky business, one that I may or may not see through to any sort of logical conclusion. Starting at Sun Dragon was one such leap of faith. I began my training prompted by mild curiosity, the nebulous conviction that it would probably, somehow, be good for me, and the knowledge that I would be training with other women. Surely at least some of them had fathers who always asked their brothers to do the heavy lifting.

So I started karate as a hobby, always half-anticipating that it wouldn’t work out, smiling to myself at the made-up future in which I was a black belt – the implication being that naturally, that would never happen. And then came the day when I finally stopped short and asked myself, Well, why not? Why on earth not? Don’t I want to become a black belt? Admittedly, yes. So what is there to possibly stand in my way, except for myself? No one’s going to blow their whistle and sit me on the bench, or tell me that I’ve made a good run of it but maybe I should think about quitting after I get my yellow belt. All I have to do is do it. Not think, not doubt – just do. Maybe some people come to this realization at their first class. It took me months. In fact, I’m still digesting the enormity of this logic: if I can do that, what else might I be capable of?


Training Since: February 2005

I train in karate because I can have a rare talent to defend myself and to learn about something that is not the easiest thing. There are many different types of karate and more martial arts. There are tons of basics and kata and techniques using your own self. This may one day save your life. You can learn where to use it. Unlike boxing you only use karate when you are in trouble. There are over 800 styles. You can do it for fun, too.

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