Sunday 8 June 2014

Practice is Karate-Do

In the case of all physical disciplines, of course including karate-do, the basis for development—physically, technically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually—derives from actual practice.

Unambiguously, theory and ‘thinking about karate’, whilst important, is counterproductive when it “takes precedence over actual training”. In all cases, thinking is secondary to training/practice. To restate what I said in my opening sentence: “all of the non-physical benefits of karate-do practice, and budo training in general, come from doing the hard yards in the dojo”.

This is an area where Japanese karateka, generally speaking, are far superior to their Western counterparts. Fundamentally, they train and just get on with it. Contrastingly, Westerners tend to over-theorize, come up with many creative answers (especially in the case of kata applications) and, in many cases, even significantly change techniques, kata, drills etcetera.

Like it or not, this to me is the loss of the traditional Japanese budo karate, which keeps things very simple and `effective in the real world’… It is this very `simplicity’ that causes things to become far more difficult. What I mean is that “simple things require much more depth; and therefore, much-much more practice”. From this perspective it is easy to see why the `creative theoretical path’ is a much easier one.

By the way, the photos from this post are from my practice of Gojushiho Dai kata today. This follows some high level advice from Nakamura Masamitsu Shihan, not pertaining to this kata; nevertheless, resulting in my training of it (here, broken down into kihon and also at formal dojo keiko).  Such advice only comes when we put ourselves on the line physically… Sweat, blisters, calluses and bruising are prerequisites. Subsequently, we grow to understand ourselves better, our strengths, limitations and kokoro.  

Just some food for thought, Osu.

© André Bertel. Aso-shi, Kumamoto-ken. Japan (2014).

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