Don’t Lose Your Callouses

Don’t Lose Your Callouses

By Dave Hanson

    I have been involved in the martial arts for a big part of my life.  But even before I got my start in the martial arts I was involved with music.  I was blessed to grow up in a family where faith and music was a daily part of our reality.  It was a given that as a member of the Hanson family you were going to learn to play an instrument.  My dad, who is a very gifted musician, got me started with a harmonica when I was about eleven years old.  Then he gave me a bass guitar.  I didn’t do so well with the guitar.  I wasn't disciplined enough to practice like I needed so that I could improve.  My natural bent was to be active and moving and I didn't fair to well sitting down looking at notes, and my time with the bass guitar was short.  

    Since I had to learn to play something, it was off to the next instrument on my list.  The drums.  As a kinesthetic learner, where I do best by getting involved and moving physically as I learn, the drums was a natural fit. For me learning the drums was almost like karate training.  It came easily for me.  It was me working in my gift zone.  Eventually, as an adult, I decided to pick up the guitar once again and give it a try.  I made my mind up to use my black belt discipline to not let those notes get the best of me this time.  Since I began playing the guitar again I’ve been doing well as long as I don’t take to long of a break from practicing. With the guitar you have to develop callouses on your fingers to hold the notes down.  If you slack and don’t play for a while you’ll eventually lose your callouses.  When you begin to practice again it can be a little uncomfortable to start relearning mentally and also physically on your sore fingers.  This can lead to frustration and the temptation to give up on learning all together.

    Like learning to play the guitar, similarly in karate training as you learn you will develop callouses on our knuckles as you punch.  If you quit practicing, like practicing the guitar, you’ll lose your callouses that allow you to practice effectively.  The lesson here is that it doesn’t matter what your goal is, when working towards your goals, don’t lose your callouses.  Stay at it and don’t quit.  When you stop practicing you don’t maintain your ability.  You lose ability.  The good news is that when you start again you can relearn rather quickly, but why waist time relearning if you can stick with your goals and continue to improve.  So whatever your goal may be from playing the guitar, or punching your way to a black belt, or any other goal you may have set for yourself; remember to not give up and you will not lose your callouses. You’ll continue to improve and grow.


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