About us [ Chief Instructor Bio ]
The Meaning of Life
By John Kanabay
I believe the meaning of life is to search for what makes you happy, and do it everyday. If you find the meaning of your life, then stress, insecurity, and a list of other negative emotions disappear. We all need to ask ourselves: When I look back on my life, what regrets will I have? Was I happy everyday? Did I wish I was somewhere else? Me, I am happy everyday in the dojang.
I feel my life’s meaning has always been martial arts. Ever since I can remember I have had karate on the brain. As a small child my mom would take my sister and me to the library, and every time I would look for a book on karate. By the age of nine I had read almost every book in the library on martial arts. I had also been attempting the techniques that I had read about (although, none of my attempts were very good).
I struggled in school. I was always in trouble for talking during class. I ignored homework assignments and felt that my bad grades were the teacher’s fault for not liking me. My father also worked a lot, so I didn’t get to see him often. He would wake up around five a.m. and come home around nine or ten at night.
By the time he got home I would have already been in a world of trouble and my mom would leave it up to him to straighten me out. We didn’t get along very well. I felt that my world was chaotic with a lack of direction.
One day a friend and I decided that we would try out a karate class together. I didn’t know what to expect— I only knew what I had read about in books. When we got there, I saw the students working on the techniques that I had read about, but unlike my attempts theirs looked great! I began to understand the difference between my books and the real thing.
I remember that I was wearing a white t-shirt and black sweat pants. I stood out as I walked into the room with all of the other white belts in their uniforms. I took an amazing class and on my way home I told my dad, “I am going to run a karate school when I grow up.” He laughed and said, “Why don’t you get your white belt first.” I was very serious because at that moment I had found the meaning of my life.
From then on, I would take class to get away from stress at home and in school; I took class a lot! If I had a bad day I would grab my uniform and forget about my problems for that hour when I worked on punches and kicks. As soon as I embraced the meaning of my life, my grades improved and my social life improved. Most importantly, my relationship with my family improved.
My instructor instantly became my idol. He was the first black belt I ever met and to this day I still try to do techniques the way I saw him perform them. I now enjoy calling my father and reminding him about the conversation when I told him I would run a karate school. In the end, I found a way to talk in class and produce a positive result--no longer getting in trouble for talking. I love teaching and giving all my students a new life experience. Who knows, someday my students may have a better story about what I have done for them!
Thank you to all the instructors that helped me along the way.