Originally published at the HDKI Shinbun
As many of you know, the HDKI was born in March 2017. At the time I was in my first 10-Days Vipassana silence retreat, where the concept of impermanence is deepened and continuously explored in a practical way, only based in your experience, but I was unable to imagine that this fundamental principle of the universal law would manifest in such a way, so clear. When I left the retreat it took me a while to decide to open my e-mail inbox, but when I did it, I was shocked. Something was born in the meantime and with it, a whole new world of opportunities or that was what I thought.
By that time I had already been invited to train for a long stage at the Hombu Dojo, I had expressed my intention and desire to train abroad under the guidance of Sensei Scott Langley, and there came the opportunity. On May 26 I flew from Barcelona to Dublin to be the first athlete to do the HDKI internship (it has become official after the HDKI birth). The adventure had just begun, I met Sensei Scott at the airport, we had breakfast and for the first time I walked into the headquarters, I was super excited and a bit nervous, I must admit.
There I was, ready to start this part of the journey, for the next ten weeks would breathe, eat, see, listen, write, dream and live karate, 24/7, day and night, living at the dojo with no other option
The first three weeks were tough, the physical boundary was quickly reached and the amount of teaching and training started to have an effect on my body, I started losing a bit of weight and body fat but I felt like no technical improving was coming, and I felt like this was almost the whole experience! That was perhaps the first lesson, as Sensei Scott says karate is 50%-50% physical-intellectual knowledge. The intellectual is indeed kind of superficial, you can “learn” very easily, but physical learning requires time, 10.000 hours someone said, it is like the maya-paññā scale, the wisdom, and how you build it. There are three levels of understanding, Suta, Cintā, Bhāvanā, that is: when you learn, when you think and when you experience. The first one can be given, the second one can be facilitated, but the third one is only based in the transgression that you’re about to make. I use this word because you must be willing to break some barriers to go deeper, can be this synonymous for Shu-Ha-Ri?
And why I said this? From the very first day I started assisting in kids classes, training in instructors morning training, and participating in all the adults classes that were scheduled at the HQ; after a few weeks I started conducting some kids classes, some family classes and by some point I was given the chance to teach several adults classes and black belt classes, so the whole process of learning, thinking and practicing comes to a circle with no end but continuous. Maybe there are many smallest Shu-Ha-Ri within the bigger Shu-Ha-Ri? Just one thing that I like to have.
A few things that may help during the whole internship process, practicing karate 24/7 helps, a lot; the chance to train with an elite team: Scott Langley Sensei, Palma Diosi Sensei (RIP), Ross Stewart Sensei and Sensei Audrius Janusauskas helps; assisting and teaching multiple classes helps; attending to seminars with high-level instructors helps; feeling loved by all students and instructors helps, and for all that I’m extremely grateful.
The internship gave me many tools to teach, learn and walk on my own part of this endless journey, it gave me clear concepts, clear foundations in order to break a few barriers, it gave me the chance to train and learn from the best, and helped me to have a stronger confidence to walk into any dojo, remaining as humble as my ego let me and training as hard as my body can take.
After I left Dublin, my geographic journey continued and following- advice I got from the internship, “train with as many instructors as you can”, I decided to walk into any dojo I found, and I did it in Colombia, Ecuador, Perú, Argentina and Uruguay for the following 7 months after the internship, but I will tell you that story later. The internship was a key part of being there mindfully and to the fullest and train in that way, always trying to absorb good things from others.
After ten weeks, it was pretty obvious to me that the vision of our organization was not something to attempt, but rather the foundation of its creation, something to preserve, to feed and to harvest. I was certainly taught good karate, all people were nice to me, no doubt, it was a huge adventure, as big as the opportunity it represented; and ultimately making “Shu” possible, building brick by brick the “Ha” and encouraging the “Ri” within each moment of the experience.
If you want to know more about those 10 weeks, you can go to www.karatecreole.wordpress.com