Karate is one of the few things in this world that I feel are truly karmic. What comes around goes around, and you get back what you put in.
What does that mean? If you work hard, you get rewarded. If you use sloppy technique, you get injured. If you don't pay attention, you don't progress properly.
I believe this, I really do. I also realize that sometimes, the connections are not as direct or obvious. For example, after years of dance, gymnastics and martial arts, and one knee surgery, I am very careful about knee position. This care has not prevented me from injuring that knee again and again. Right now I may even be looking at another surgery to clean things up in there, and I am not thrilled. To make things worse, I was finally making a breakthrough on some technique and form problems that have plagued me for years. How can karate reward me by possibly forcing me out of the dojo for a few weeks?
That's when I'm feeling negative, sitting with a sore knee after training, ice pack in place, tired and discouraged. The positive is that I did not give up on fixing those troublesome form errors, and karate has rewarded me by finally showing me the way. I have finally figured out what muscle group to use in my back to really keep my shoulders from rising up all the time, and although it's still not consistent, at least I finally see the way. I have finally figured out a way to keep my core strong and ready while remaining relaxed instead of stiffening up and slowing myself down. Somewhere in there, I probably forgot about perfect knee position. More than once. Multiple times, if the pain and swelling is any indication. The knee will heal, with surgery or (hopefully) without. The breakthroughs will hopefully remain.
Karate for me is like talking to my toddler daughter. She takes everythng I say absolutely literally; she does not yet understand things like sarcasm or jokes. If I give her the option of saying "no", she will exercise her independence and do so. I have learned to weigh my words and their desired effect, to minimize confusion and frustration for both of us. Karate will give you what you ask for and will do as you tell it, as long as you put in the time and effort. But it will take you literally, so watch your words. Next time, I will tell karate that I want to fix my shoulders, but not at the expense of other body parts!