Friday, May 16, 2008

Finding a new school

At the end of August my family and I will be relocating to the beautiful Burlington, Vermont area. This move, however, will result in a lot of change for me. This change consists of 1. leaving my 10 year massage therapy business that I built myself and 2. leaving my dojo where I have trained for 9 years. When my husband and I first started to plan this move I was resistant to this change and kept changing my mind about where to move to and when. After much thought and looking inward I have come to terms with the fact that I will be leaving the area where I grew up. This is not a bad thing. Burlington and it's surrounding towns offer so much more for my family, so much more for our future. My husband does not like where we live now and he does not have much of a future in terms of employment opportunities if we were to continue living here. He grew up near Burlington and longs to return to where all of his friends are. Me, I have my ups and downs. I know Burlington and lived there for five years when I attended the University of Vermont (where I got a degree in wildlife biology. Go figure) and to this day have wanted to return. But the sense of loss that I am feeling really pulls at my gut and there's a part of me that's just not happy to go.

The reason for this post is to write about leaving my dojo and my sensei. There will still be opportunities for me to train, just not on the regular schedule that I have now. My family lives here and I will be travelling here on the weekends, when I can attend a Saturday class. However, I am currently training to test for nidan, which I'm not sure I will be able to do once I move. Burlington has many, many martial arts available, but I'm used to forms and tradition. There is not one karate dojo, so maybe it's time I start my own (with permission from Master Morallo, of course). That, however, makes me a little scared since I do not feel I am ready to open a dojo where I am the head teacher. Yikes! There is so much more I want to learn first before I teach my style to strangers. It's going to be very hard for me to leave my dojo and the family feeling that I have cultivated there. My sensei is so extraordinary and that will make it difficult for me to find another place to train.

Most of the martial arts in Burlington consists of Kempo, more Kempo , Brazilian Jujitsu, Taekwondo, Aikido and Kung Fu. Kung Fu is where I am leaning since it is a form-based school and I have always been fascinated by this martial art. I tried a kempo school and it just didn't fit with what I wanted out of a dojo, although the self-defense aspect would be invaluable to my training. Kata is very important to me and through kata I have learned an incredible amount about how to move. Sparring is important, too, but I don't believe the Kung Fu school has this. I can always go somewhere else to fill that need. I have two friends who are both at the nidan level in Kempo and they are more than happy to spar. BJJ is also a possibility since I really like grappling, but have not had much experience. My body type is perfect for BJJ, but I'm just not sure if I want to put it through that kind of training.

So, the quest for a new school begins in September. In my heart I will not be leaving my dojo, and I need to open myself up for other opportunities. This will only further my experience as I travel down my martial arts path. It really is a Way for me, and I want it to continue on in that fashion.


Steve said...

Good luck in finding a new school. Of course, you know where my bias leans. That said, I would recommend to you what advice I was given when looking for a new school: take some time to try them ALL out. Spend a day or two with each school to just get a sense of what feels right.

AmberLB said...

Yes, try out every school. Do at least a couple of classes. Since you really enjoy forms, consider a tae kwon do school that is not geared only towards Olympic style sparring. My dojang is a traditional tae kwon do school, and forms are my joy. We also do some sparring, grappling, weapons, but the forms are so important!

John Vesia said...

You'll find a good school, take your time. Like you, I've always been fascinated with Chinese styles, especially since they're what influenced early karate. Some Chinese forms are beautiful to watch. Good luck on your move.

Michele said...

I was a brown belt when my nidan husband decided he wanted to open his own dojo. After receiving proper permissions, he found an abandoned bar/restaurant that would eventually be our home/dojo. That was almost thirteen years ago.

From reading your posts, it is evident that you have a great karate spirit. Whether you decide to start your own dojo or join a new school, I am sure that you will succeed.

Good luck as you continue on your martial arts path!

Bob Patterson said...

What styles of Kung Fu? Some do have sparring. If you like forms some styles have very complex forms, too.

The school that I'm probably going to take a chin na course from teaches Northern external Praying Mantis. I have yet to watch a class. I also doubt I'll make the jump to that because they are purists and make you quit your hard art.

While I can continue to practice taekwondo forms, fundamentals, and bag work at home I'm really going to miss the sparring. Chin na will give me interaction with other humans but it's not sparring. Not sure how I'll fill that gap...

Anyhow, take your time and good luck!

Miss Suzy said...

I know this is a late response to this post, but I just read it.....wanted to say that 20 years ago I trained with a wonderful club for about 4 years. I haven't able to find that same "essence" in a school since. I've examined if it is just me being rigid, and well...I don't think so. Well, maybe a little...anyway, for me, it was the best fit. Although I have trained other places since, I haven't done an exhaustive search for a club, just been less than thrilled. I guess the exhaustive search could be good..... hope you are thriving in your new dojo!