K is for Kata

I don’t have much talent when it comes to athletics. I never tried out for team sports. I avoided teams for fear of letting my teammates down. I wasn’t good enough anyway. Besides, I preferred individual sports like skiing, swimming and running. When I was diagnosed with depression, I was told to do yoga. The exercise and the meditation would be good for me. I gave it an honest try, but yoga was too slow for me. It left me alone in my head for too long. Never a good idea.

I had given up on the exercise and meditation for help with my depression until I discovered karate. It was perfect for me. Karate has lots of bonuses for the average person. It’s a good workout, you learn self-defense and discipline and it improves mental outlook. There are added bonuses for people with depression. On a bad day, you need something to engage you. Karate can do that, it gives you reasonable goals that you can advance toward and achieve. This, in turn, improves your confidence.

I got all of these benefits from practicing karate. I also learned to do something I was never able to do before….meditation. Not the kind of meditation you are thinking of though. It’s kind of a moving meditation. Kyokushinkaikan was the style of karate I did. This style incorporates kata. Kata are detailed choreographed patterns of movement, kind of like a dance, but the moves are blocks, punches and kicks. These kata required dynamic movement, speed and strength. Once you learned them it was like a form of meditation. My body memorized the movements and I was moving too quickly to think about anything else. Finally, I found a way to turn my brain off and truly relax. It was wonderful. I was kicking some depression ass!

Have you noticed? I’m saying was. I got up to the level of brown belt in Kyokushinkaikan before I had to stop. I started graduate school and it kind of sucked up all my time and money. I’m slowly forgetting the moves, but I still run through the kata as best I can when I need to clear my head. It still works. 🙂

10 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. suesconsideredtrifles
    Apr 12, 2014 @ 08:38:06

    I follow another blogger who teaches karate. http://thebottomofabottle.wordpress.com/


  2. organizednowplease
    Apr 12, 2014 @ 08:38:16

    The idea of martial arts was always intriguing. I am just now starting to be able to do quiet meditation and yoga. I liked the idea of meditation, but didn’t like the mental chatter. You could always try a guided meditation.


  3. nembow
    Apr 12, 2014 @ 11:10:52

    I’ve always fancied taking up a martial art, but never mustered the energy to commit to it. Knitting is more my thing! I’m really glad you found it so helpful though. Activities that exercise the body and distract the mind have helped me too. 🙂


    • somberscribbler
      Apr 15, 2014 @ 12:22:37

      Knitting is sort of the same concept. You hands just kind of take over, but the brain is still focused, not free to wander into negative thoughts. I’ve done arm knitting. It’s a great activity.


  4. Birgit
    Apr 12, 2014 @ 16:55:31

    I love meditation but I also took Tai Chi which is not like yours but still reminds me of this and you just do the moves and don’t think of the outside world


  5. Gretchen Joy
    Apr 14, 2014 @ 10:13:29

    Man, I have always wanted to do karate! That’s awesome.


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