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Learning Karate as an Adult: Struggles and Resolutions

Ira Glass's 'The Gap' is a concept that speaks to the profound disconnect between our early

creative efforts and our aspirations for mastery. This disconnect can be likened to the journey of adults learning Okinawan Karate-Do, an art that not only captivates with its philosophy but also presents a unique set of challenges. In this blog post, we delve deeper into 'The Gap,' the struggles it poses, and the strategies that empower adult learners to bridge it, achieving mastery in Okinawan Karate-Do.

Understanding 'The Gap':

Ira Glass's 'The Gap' is a term used to describe the initial disparity between our taste and our abilities when we embark on a creative endeavor. In the context of adult learners in Okinawan Karate-Do, it signifies the contrast between their appreciation for the art and their actual capabilities. The allure of Karate-Do, with its rich history and profound principles, may lead them to a struggle to bridge this gap between what they envision and their current abilities.

The Struggle for Adult Learners:

The journey into Okinawan Karate-Do can be a double-edged sword for adults. While the appreciation of the art serves as a powerful motivator, the gap between their expectations and their initial skills can become a source of frustration. Some may even feel compelled to quit as they grapple with the sense of inadequacy and slow progress, especially when comparing themselves to experienced practitioners.

Recognizing and Bridging 'The Gap':

Self-Compassion: The first step in bridging 'The Gap' is practicing self-compassion. Adult learners must recognize that the journey is not a race but a personal exploration. It's essential to be kind to themselves and acknowledge that everyone progresses at their own pace.

Setting Realistic Goals: Setting achievable, short-term goals is crucial. Breaking down the journey into manageable milestones allows adult learners to track their progress, keeping them motivated and focused on their path to mastery.

Consistent Practice: Consistency is key. Adult learners should engage in regular practice and trust in the process. Improvement may be gradual, but it is steady. The more they practice, the closer they get to their goals.

Mentorship and Guidance: Seek guidance from experienced senseis (instructors). Just as Ira Glass had mentors, adult learners can benefit immensely from the wisdom and encouragement provided by their martial arts instructors. Senseis are there to guide, motivate, and inspire.

Focus on Personal Growth: Remember that the journey in Okinawan Karate-Do is not just about mastering the art but about personal growth. Embrace the philosophy and values of the art. Karate-Do becomes a way of life, and every step taken is a step closer to excellence.


Bridging 'The Gap' in Okinawan Karate-Do is a journey of self-discovery, appreciation, and mastery. While adult learners may initially struggle with the contrast between their aspirations and abilities, the strategies of self-compassion, realistic goal setting, consistent practice, mentorship, and a focus on personal growth empower them to overcome these challenges.

In the end, it is not just about reaching the destination but the transformative journey itself. As adults navigate 'The Gap' in Okinawan Karate-Do, they discover that it's the process, dedication, and personal growth that truly matter, making this martial art an enriching experience like no other.

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