Even though I’ve been to every Sho-Rei-Shobu-Kan Karate Convention since I started training, I hadn’t planned on going this year, because I’ve mainly just been focusing on Jiu-Jitsu lately. Then my husband started telling people that the reason I wasn’t attending was because I had quit Karate, which really made me mad! So I went to the convention to prove I hadn’t quit, and I am so glad I did. I had almost forgotten what I was missing.
I don’t think I can possibly explain to anyone who wasn’t there what the convention was like this year. This was my eighth convention in a row, and it was the best one yet. The feeling of respect, support, and love was palpable, you could literally feel it in the air around you. When I got to the convention I was overcome with emotion, since I’ve been slacking on my Karate I did not feel worthy to wear my black belt and share the floor with such amazing people, but they quickly convinced me otherwise.
Our time on the floor was well spent, we worked really hard and learned a whole lot. It was hot and sweaty, and I know that everyone who was there has many new aches and pains, but they are the good kind, the ones you take home as mementos of where you’ve been. Every bruise reminds you of someone, every sore muscle is an indicator of how much you accomplished. Even when they fade, the lessons that came with them remain.
If I hadn’t gone to this year’s convention, I would have missed the incredible opportunity to see four generations of Roseberry’s all training on the floor together; John Roseberry-Shihan (aka Shihan Pops :), his daughter Cindy, his granddaughter Stephanie, and his two year-old great-grandson JoJo. His daughter and granddaughter have both recently started training again, after stopping for many years. One of my favorite quotes from the breakfast this morning came from Stephanie, who thanked the people she worked with and said “Trying to teach me Karate is like trying to teach a robot to do the worm!” That’s exactly how I feel in Jiu-Jitsu!
Throughout the time that I’ve been attending the convention, I’ve heard many people who were new to the organization say that although they had been training martial arts for many years, they had never seen anything like the extended family of Sho-Rei-Shobu-Kan. Shihan has created a network of like-minded martial artists from all around the globe, who come together every year to help each other grow, and who truly care about one another on a deep level. My entire life I have felt like an outsider, and I never really felt like I belonged anywhere…until the first time I stepped on the floor at Roseberry’s, and then I knew I had found my place. Shihan Pops and his martial arts family are the most wonderful group of people I have ever known, and I am honored to be considered one of them.