Sunday, 14 April 2013

Ulterior Motives

Miyagi Chojun  training with his student Eiichi Miyazato
After corresponding with karateka I sometimes wonder what their involvement with karate is all about: what are their motives? Listening to others speak is a poor judge of motive, and watching people train is little better; for there are plenty in the karate world with a gift for public speaking, and others, who posses terrific physical skills. No, to fully understand the motives of another person I think it's necessary to know them for many years, to observe their reaction to various challenges and events that happen during the normal course of training, and, most importantly, to witness how they live their life and interact with others.

"There are no short cuts in karate".....isn't that how the saying goes?

If there was just one thing I could do to fix the current mess in karate, it would be to cure the world's karateka of their various ulterior motives. It's an impossible task of course, a pipe dream....I know; but without dreams there is no inspiration. Karatedo, the way of karate, has the potential to change lives for the better, to literally "change minds", but it has to be lived and expressed in your daily life, it has to become a part of who you are, and not just something that you do.

Karate masters in the dojo who live ugly lives outside of it, have mastered little of any importance; their karate is an act, a performance, a myth. What motivates them to stand before you has little to do with budo, and even though it's not difficult to spot these pretenders, it would be a mistake to spend too much time judging them by your own standards. Instead, your focus should seldom drift far from the man in the mirror; for at the end of the day, he is the only person in the world you have a hope of changing.