Offered by Willy Strohmeier – Colorado Karate Club
It had to be when I was about ten years old, I had been doing Karate for a few years and I had gotten to green belt. By now though, the sparkle of training had been wearing off. I mean, there’s a lot of repetition, a lot of practicing. I thought I was bored to do the same thing over and over, and I just didn’t want to do it anymore.
My dojo was a couple of blocks from my house, so after school my two older brothers and I would get ready and go train. My eldest brother was always motivated to go train; my second older brother was more like me, so one day he and I decided to stay home and watch the Flinstones rather than go to class. Lets just say that when my dad got home and found us watching TV, he was not amused and applied some foot to rear medicine to us both. You see, my father was very loving, but he was also very strict. When he enrolled us in Karate he told us that we would at least earn our black belt. Quitting was out of the question.
So there I went to the dojo each time, grumbling and kicking rocks. But after a while I found the love of it again and didn’t need to be dragged anymore. I realize now that children, like myself when I was that age, are voluble and their moods can change on a whim. Sadly, unlike my dad, many parents consent to their child’s caprices. They say, “I don’t want to force him to do something he doesn’t want to.” The child is now in the driver’s seat.
In the age of 24/7 entertainment there is shiny stuff all over the place to distract them. 300 channels of HDTV, realistic – multiplayer video games (not your Atari or Pong kinda thing), tablets, phones, computers, virtual reality glasses, Social Media, gosh you name it. And still, when you ask them what is wrong, they say, “I’m bored.”
As we got older, my brothers and I excelled at Karate. We integrated the Peruvian National team, and traveled the world to many international competitions. I moved to the United States when I was just 19 years old, and would later also come to be part of the USA National Karate Team. Both of my brothers were awarded the “Laureles Deportivos” (the highest honor for a Peruvian athlete) by then Peru’s President Alberto Fujimori (who later landed in jail, but that’s a different story).
Even though I earned a Masters degree in computer Science and had a profitable and rewarding career in the technology field, I later decided to quit my job to follow my passion to teach Karate full time. Today I could not be happier with that choice. To me, Karate is simply part of my life, it is part of my identity. And to think that none of this would have been possible, if it had not been for my father putting his foot down (or up, you could say), and laying down the law for me.
I often wonder, what achievements are never accomplished, what discoveries left in the dark, what potentials never realized simply because we allow things to be left half baked. As a child, I lacked discipline, but my father was there to supplement my deficiency. He pushed me until I did not need him to do so anymore. My father left us too soon at the age of 59 and I miss him dearly. He showed me some tough, but real love, and for that I am forever grateful.
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