Wednesday, February 5, 2020

On Retiring from Karate Due to Acquired Disability

A fellow karateka has announced their retirement from karate due to a cascade of horrendous medical events. I wrote them this note and I hope it will help others.

Sensei, I hope you will see this message coming to you with tremendous respect and humility.

You may think you've retired from karate but you have merely shifted your attention to a new battle. You are one of us, a disabled karateka, a different type of warrior. Higaonna-Sensei asks us to imagine who we were yesterday as our opponent. This is no different and you are stronger than ever. A whole legion of us is beside you, just as afraid and unafraid as you are about what the next battle will be. But we are a brave troupe and we don't leave people behind.

I'm a humble 2-kyu but I'm a formidable foe against chronic illness and all that comes with it. If I can be a listening ear this is a safe place to grumble it all out. We don't know the same people and it does not get repeated.*

I wish that you will find many ways to laugh and play, to cope and to love.


My world is full of people with mostly congenital disabilities. People with acquired disabilities have a much harder time adapting. Your resilience continues to stand out and your willingness to speak out about your experience goes on to help others. Thank you for the will to share your experience. I am learning from you how I might help others cope and find strength after such significant change. :) Please keep it up (if you feel up to it).

*Only make a promise of safety and confidence if you can truly keep it. Otherwise, offer to listen.

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