- RUNNING THE
- Go with the
- Like most creatures on this
earth we live in a world where we rely primarily on our
vision to understand what is happening around us. Yet it
is not uncommon for our eyes to deceive us into believing
that we saw something occur that in reality our conscious
mind tells us was simply impossible.
- A good example of this is
magic, or perhaps more precisely, the illusion of magic.
- An illusion created by a
magician is designed to trick our eye and our mind into
believing that a particular event, often of impossible
magnitude, just occurred. Where the eye goes the mind
will always follow, and so we believe. After all we saw
it happen, or at least we thought we did. If, however, we
can learn to see beyond the magician's slight of hand,
fancy tricks, and purposeful distractions all designed to
break our concentration, then we would obviously have a
much better chance of seeing what is really taking place.
- The same is true in karate,
especially in kata.
- Like an illusion, the real
meaning and purpose of many of the movements and
techniques found within the katas we practice today, are
hidden from us. This is primarily the result of a gradual
modification of the katas that has taken place over the
last one hundred and fifty years or so. Today as a
result, most students practice their katas more as a
physical and mental exercise than anything else.
- Since the practice of kata
revolves entirely around our ability to see, it is often
difficult for us to avoid also focusing on the many
distractions that are taking place around us, since by
nature human beings are easily visually distracted. Yet
it is vital for you to learn do so, for like an illusion,
you will have a much better chance of seeing the hidden
meanings found within the various katas if you first
learn to filter out all of the visible distractions and
- So, as is often the case in
life, there are times when you must look at your kata
training in some what contradictory terms.
- A good example of this can
be found in the following saying: "often to see
clearly, you must first close your eyes".
- Try this simple test, but
always with a partner watching over you.
- With your eyes open walk
slowly across the dojo. Once you have reached the other
side turn around and face in exactly the same the
direction, and along exactly the same path you just
- Study the return path.
- See the path, not only with
your eyes, but more importantly with your mind.
- Now close your eyes and
- Try to see the
path again, only this time in your "minds eye".
- Now walk slowly back to
where you started, only this time do so while keeping
your eyes closed for the entire journey, while at the
same time having your partner monitor your progress for
obvious safety reasons.
- When you "think"
you are back to where you started, or if needed, on your
partners instructions, open your eyes.
- How did you do?
- Did you end up even close
where you started?
- Perhaps yes, perhaps no.
- In truth it does not really
matter. What matters is that you took the opportunity to
approach your training in a new way, and having done so
you will have learnt something new about yourself, and
what it means to try and "see" from within.
- After all, no trial, no
error, no knowledge.
- It is the same with kata.
- You may not always end up
where you started, in fact you should never "try"
to, simply because finishing where you started is not the
real point of doing a kata. What really matters when you
perform a kata is that you do it with undivided attention
to all aspects of the kata. Do this often enough and over
time you will gain a better understanding of the little
things that are not easily apparent the first 20, 50, 100,
or 200 times you perform a particular kata. No matter how
many times you do a kata, you will always learn something.
- That is the reason proper
repetitive practice is so important.
- With this new ability to
"see" your karate will greatly improve, and so
will your opportunities to look deeper into the kata and
to look beyond simply the surface movements of the kata.
As your abilities grow you will start to notice a
difference not only in how you train your katas
physically, but you will also start to notice a
difference in how you feel inside, both mentally, as well
as spiritually. This is when you will truly begin to
learn to do your karate in harmony with the river of that
runs within you. You must as they say "go with the
flow" and learn to harness this new found energy
along with your personal strengths and weaknesses, and
combine them in such a way that they will help to unify
all aspects of your kata.
- No two performances of your
kata will ever be the same, nor should they be.
- It could be said that
because we train in the company of others that we all go
down the river together, but this is only partly true.
The destination may be the same, but the journey will
definitely be different for each of us. In the end it is
not how we run the river within us that matters, but that
we choose to run it all.
- Pleasant journey.
- The goal is
to do the kata as "you feel it",
- as a true
expression of yourself, and
- not as a
clone of your teacher.
- Part the
clouds - see the way.
objective of karate-do is to contribute to the evolution
- of the
human spirit through physical and mental training."