Karate is for Life…

Karate is for Life…

How often does a karate teacher emphasise that karate is for life or that karate-do is a way of life?

I would hazard a guess that somewhere in the world – at a dojo, training camp or seminar – a karate teacher has made that very statement within the last hour.

But, what does that mean. Gojuryu’s founder MIyagi Chojun is said to have emphasised that one’s priorities in life should be:

  1. Family
  2. Work / study
  3. Karate

I think Miyagi sensei was at least partially right, but that the third priority should be something along the lines of ‘activities to promote physical or mental health’.

As the saying goes “two out of three ain’t bad”.

I enjoyed a post of Charles Goodin’s recently revitalised Karate Thoughts blog today that touches on this very topic, in which he related his pride in a One of his Student’s Recent Accomplishment outside the dojo (emphasis mine):

And, for me, Karate should not be the best thing that you do. If you are good at Karate and bad at everything else, then what kind of Karate student are you? But if you are great at everything else and good at Karate, then what a Karate student you are!

I think Goodin sensei gets it just right here. A student who is doing well in their karate and is doing at least as well in their other aspects of life, especially family, work and study, is the best role model we can have.

To quote one of Patrick McCarthy sensei‘s sayings:

Links of Interest for 03 December 2015

Links of Interest for 03 December 2015

KU Quick Tips: Foot & Knee Alignment – YouTube

1782 – Sonnerat on Sanchin? | Ryukyu Bugei ????. Andreas Quast relates yet another interesting find from his martial history research.

Morihiro Saito: Expunged from the History of the Iwama Dojo! by Stanley Pranin. Interesting tale showcasing an all too typical scenario of revisionist history that seems to occur regularly in various budo organisations.

Links of Interest for 01 December 2015

Links of Interest for 01 December 2015

Shinseidokan dojo: An Alternative approach to karate…. Mike Clarke Sensei links to the Journeys in Japan episode on Okinawan karate.

This may sound strange, but for me, it’s the footage of the presenter walking around and discovering each dojo for the first time that I find the most exciting, it reminds me of my early days exploring…..

Good manners in self-protection | Iain Abernethy. Iain Abernethy Sensei discusses the role of manners as a self defence technique. I have long taught that the maxim karate begins and ends with courtesy means far more than bowing in the dojo.

Surely good manners and an intent to develop character must be a fundamental part of any practical approach; regardless of whether one chooses to use the label “do” or “jutsu”?

Breathing by Jesse

Link

Jesse Enkamp talks about the best way to breathe in karate, a topic that can be quite controversial.

Jesse’s conclusion is a simple one, and it reminds me of the most important rule in scuba diving – breathe continuously and never hold your breath.

On a side note, I’m looking forward to meeting and training with Jesse in Sydney in January.

Books I am excited about

There are a couple of new books out on the Kindle Store that I am quite excited about, and wanted to provide an update on.

Fresh out today is Tales from the Western Generation: Untold Stories and Firsthand History from Karate’s Golden Age by Matt Aspokardu of Ikigai Way fame. This book looks to be the most comprehensive treatment of the Western masters who have been instrumental in the development of karate as we know it today. Matt is one of the new generation of karateka who are working hard to balance the the traditions and the ongoing development of karate.

The second volume is A Stroll Along Ryukyu Martial Arts History by Andreas Quast. A Stroll Along Ryukyu Martial Arts History is based upon Mr Quast’s previous research and publications, particularly the scholarly Karate 1.0. A Stroll is perhaps written to be more accessible for those not academically inclined, or as a complementary volume for those who wish to have a companion version at hand for quick reference.

With my current schedule of international travels, I have been able to access both books in Kindle format, and have downloaded to my iPad for reading on the go. Both are welcome additions, and I look forward to getting into them.

Congratulations to Messrs Apsokardu and Quast on their publications – both of which are clearly built on the back of thousands of hours of research and writing.

Essential Jo

The jo (four foot staff) is a weapon that I have enjoyed the study of for many years, but have always lamented that the published material available about it centres around either the Shindo Muso Ryu Jojutsu style, or the Aikijo practices in many Aikido schools.

The school of karate I practice is based on an Okinawan/Japanese style which has always practiced the bo (6 foot staff) and sai (iron truncheon).

While living in Japan and training at the hombu dojo between 1991 and 1993 I was fascinated to discover that the jo was one the third wepon originally emphasised by the founder, Kaiso Kori Hisataka (1907–88). Unfortunately the practice of the jo lay dormant in the mainline school and the descendent schools.

In the intervening years I made it my mission to research the jo, a process that ultimately led to the introduction of the kata Ufuchiku no jo to our organisation. Subsequently Kaicho Shunji Watanabe of the Shorinjiryu Kenyukai Watanabe-Ha school (with which we were affiliated for several years) also reintroduced the practice of another kata (alternatively called Shishiryu no Jo or Kudaka no Jo).

In my research I began to realise that the practice of the jo was important among the bushi of the Shuri Court, and can be found in several styles of Udundi (palace hand) and Ti extant today.

With this background I am pleased to see that others have also seen the importance of the jo for karate practitioners, as it is a versatile weapon that has real relevance today. Poles and rods in the 3—4 foot range are common and can be used as makeshift weapons of defence.

The first book that I am aware of to take an indepth look at the Jo from a non-Aikijo persective has been written by Dan Djurdjevic.

Essential Jo promises to be “the most comprehensive text on the subject to date”, and is said to be well-illustrated with over 900 photographs.

I have ordered a copy, and look forward to providing a review soon.

Book Review

I’ll admit straight out that I am a little late to the party with my review of Goran Powell’s new book Chojun: A Novel.

This is at least in part because I have been busy with new endeavours, and this book has been one of several that has been patiently waiting for me to get around to reading it.

Get the Kindle edition of Chojun: A Novel at Amazon.

Get the paperback edition of Chojun: A Novel at Amazon.com

2014-01-25 A big ooops

A big ooops…

It seems that there was some sort of cache file corruption on AppliedKarate.com that was showing visitors to the site that the most recent post was in mid-May 2013. In fact, there had been a number of posts since then that do not seem to have shown on the site.

If, however, you were logged in you would have seen these updates. Similarly, if you received the web feed (RSS) you would have received the updates.

I am of course embarrassed that this happened, and hopefully visitors will now enjoy the several articles showing below that had been published since that time frame.

Wallace Smedley’s Five Points on Self Defense

Wallace Smedley, author of the book Slapping Dragons has posted a great article regarding Five Things to Remember About Self Defense.

In this article, Wallace paints a realistic picture about the reality of self-defense, the role of awareness and avoidance, the importance of health and the potential legal and psychological consequences of acting in self defense.

Well worth a read.