When One Equals Fifty

by Sensei Mike Pepe

The dojo was a sweat box that night and my gi was soaked with good training sweat. We were having one of those high repetition workouts. You know 400 jumping jacks, 500 punches, 250 push-ups etc. I've always loved those classes because they really push me to my limits. Then when it came to kata it was this kata 20 times and that kata 20 times. Yes, those workouts always ended late! But they are always good because they forge my spirit and test my limits of exhaustion.

The next night as I dragged my tired butt to the dojo I wondered what sensei would have us do and was he tired like I was? We all shugo (a term that means line up!) and sensei says, "tonight will be an easy class." I immediately think "thank goodness", but then again I think, "has sensei gone soft"? I'm soon to find out.

Sensei says that tonight we're going to do only one of everything. Oh no!! Not the dreaded five-minute push-up and five minute sit-up! How wrong I was.

"Punches" sensei commands! "Ichi, ni." And we proceed to do five hundred punches. My arms sore from the night before feel ready to fall off! Now push-ups!! One hundred push-ups later I begin to wonder…" Where's the "one" sensei was talking about. Then it's on to two hundred kicks with each leg and we've only barely begun. We were about half way through the workout when I decided to ask, so I weakly raise my hand. "Sensei, I thought we were going to do only one of everything tonight." To which he replied "We are. In order to improve say, a punch, you need to do one punch and then try to correct and improve on it by doing another. Therefore you do one punch… one hundred times. Not one hundred punches. Weren't you doing that last night?" "No sensei!!" And you aren't doing that tonight?" "No sensei, I was not!!"

"Begin again!!" he barks…"Punches!! Ichi!… Ni!…"

The answer is in the training.

A warrior rambling,

Sensei Mike




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