Friday 29 July 2022

心技体 (Shin Gi Tai)

 心技体 (Shi Gi Tai) is an extremely important concept in Karate-Do and, indeed, life in general. In karate, (Shin) is one’s mentality and heart; (Gi) is one’s technique; and (Tai) is the body.

Out of balance and there will always be a problem, a major weakness. For example, someone can externally appear to have good technique and/or knowledge, yet lack the necessary courage and fighting spirit in the face of a serious situation. Likewise, they might have a very strong heart but lack the physicality to stop a strong opponent. Of course, another situation might be that the personal is mentally and physically strong, but has insufficient technical prowess.


Irrespective and in light of these examples, ‘Shi Gi Tai’ must be sufficiently in balance—and this balance must be established by and for each individual—that is, there is not a ‘one size fits all’ approach.


Firstly, this requires self-awareness, which encompasses the elements of self-honesty and well refined introspection; Secondly, regular ‘good quality’ training (ideally with high quality training partners); and thirdly, if very fortunate, having access to a high-level sensei/mentor/coach. This last point is what led me here to Japan 29 years ago, and has resulted, in total, well over a decade here. As the saying goes 'A great teacher is worth more than gold'.


Overall, balancing and refining each domain of Shingitai is a three dimensional circular process, that is, they never end horizontally—just keep going around and around; moreover, the three circles overlap and ascend or descend largely based on our conscious effort. This vividly highlights the need for ‘Mindfulness’ in Karate practice and training.

All of the four main RYUHA equally emphasize the importance of 心技体

To conclude this post, I’d like to add that I talked about this topic via Heian Shodan a couple of years back, so here’s a direct link if you’d like to read some more:


© André Bertel. Oita City, Japan (2022).

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