- TAKE YOUR
- Mother was
- When I was young, my mother
always use to give me a good size dose of cod liver oil
whenever she thought I was not looking all that well.
- She said no matter how it
tasted the medicine was good for me, and that by
taking it my health would improve.
- To this day I truly dislike the
taste of cod liver oil, but mother was right, taking
my medicine when it was needed worked.
- Today I see many student
practicing in the dojo who could use a good dose of my
mother's cod liver oil, because to me their basics and
their kata do not look all that healthy. Yet class
after class they still avoid taking the medicine
that they need to get better.
- You know what I mean.
- A solid stance, correct
placement of all blocks and punches, good posture, proper
balance, timing, all those things that if taken to heart,
and applied in the appropriate measure, would help
make their basics, and their kata, look great.
- However, in spite of
constant reminders to improve the quality of their
karate, and private lessons to remind them of what
is needed, many students still fail to practice what they
have been taught. As such their present level
of understanding remains unaltered, and often their
personal progress continues to be slower when compared to
that of their classmates.
- The simple fact of the
matter is that for these students the message is not
- Yet in spite of this fact,
it is often these very same students who still feel they
are ready to learn a new kata. A higher kata. All the
while not realizing, or not willing to admit, that they
are in fact still struggling with the very
katas that they so often claim they "already
- More often than not it is
this supposition by the student that they
"already know" all of the katas that they have
previously been taught, that really is the crux of
the problem. I imagine that from their
prospective, since they can get from point "A"
to point "B" in all of their katas, and
they can get from the start of the embusen (pattern)
to the final movement, they probably think there is
nothing more that they need to focus on in that
particular kata. So why not move on to the next one,
after all what else can there possibly be left for
them to learn - right?
- The answer of course is a
- It is a fact that no matter
how much you think you know, or how good you think you
are, there is always a great deal more that you can
learn when it comes to all aspects of karate. But that is
especially true when it comes to kata.
- The trouble is most student today
do not have the patience to delve deeply enough into each
of the katas that they already have been taught in order
to find the answers that they are missing, let alone to
try and figure out what questions they should be seeking
the answers to.
- I suppose having been
brought up in a "fast food, fast cars, cell phone,
computer driven, I want it now world" these students
are simply in a rush to learn as many katas as they can.
- The only problem with that
is there is no fast way to learn a kata well.
- Understanding any kata
- It takes patience.
- In fact it takes a
- In the end very few
karate-ka will ever put in the years of effort that
are really needed to understand what the words "I
know this kata" truly mean.
- So whose fault is that?
- Their parents?
- Their teachers at school?
- Their Sensei's?
- Or theirs?
- In the end karate,
like anything else, comes down to two things, "what
do you want to know, and how well do you want to know it".
Once you decide on the answer to those two questions then
it is simply a matter of applying yourself to the task at
hand until you finally get the job done.
- For example, some people
will put in the required effort to obtain a
Bachelors Degree in a specific discipline. While
still others will be willing to put in the extra time and
energy to obtain a Masters Degree. Then you have those
people who are willing to go the extra mile, and devote
whatever time, and energy it takes to obtain a
PHD and a Doctorate in that same discipline.
- It is the same with karate.
- Regardless of how much time
and information the teacher provides them with, in the
end the task of "learning" falls squarely on
the students shoulders.
- Not their parents.
- Not their teachers at
- Not on their Sensei's.
- Others can tell them what
they need to know, and how to practice to become better,
but, in the end it is up to the student themselves to
take their medicine, and to apply the knowledge that they
have been given in the proper manner.
- That medicine of course is,
effort and hard work.
- A simple formula really,
but one which so few students seem willing to swallow on
a consistent basis.
- A shame really, since the
longer and harder a student practices the art of karate the
more they will come to realize just how much there
is still to learn, but so many students get
frustrated and quit rather than simply putting in the
effort needed to succeed.
- That is why the saying,
"for every one thousand students who start karate,
only one will ever make it to black belt" is so true.
- So the next time you think
you "know your kata" ask your Sensei if you can
get up and do it in front of the whole class.
- And when you are finished
the kata if you found a flaw in your stance, in your
basics, in your timing, in your focus, in your balance,
or in any other aspect of the kata, then think again
before asking to be taught a new kata.
- Chances are you will have
just discovered that you still have some things to learn
about the kata that you think you "already know".
- If that is indeed the case
then take my mothers advice, take your medicine, and take
it in large doses.
- You may find that
the health of your karate improves to the point that your
Sensei will notice. In which case he or she may just take
it upon themselves to start teaching you the next kata in line.
- As I have said before
knowledge comes to those who seek it, however, knowledge
only remains with those who apply what they know
properly, and on a very, very regular basis.
- Karate is
just like boiling water,
- if you do
not keep the heat on,
- your skills
will cool very quickly.
- 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."