|Kata - contains the essence of karate (IMHO)|
Over the weekend of Nov 30th - Dec 2nd, and for the second year in a row, I was invited to attend the annual JKA Victoria summer gasshuku as a guest instructor. Although I recieve a number of similar invitations from various groups each year I seldom, if ever, accept; so what makes the JKA so different?
Actually, my reason for going to this gasshuku has more to do with respect and friendship than the way people move their bodies around; for the gasshuku is organized each year by a karateka for whom I have great respect, Walter Stark sensei. People may not like the politics found in "Association" karate, (I'm one of them), and for that reason deny themselves the opportunity to train and socialize with some very gifted karateka. But, if you can learn to put such nonsense aside, the way is left open to experience karate in ways that may never occur to you.
|Stark sensei, 6th dan JKA...always checking!|
Over the three days we trained for twelve hours, but I was only responsible for four of them; the rest of the time I "bluffed" my way through the training. I make no excuse for not being able to move my body well in the manner required by the JKA....but I have great fun trying, and I learn much about myself in doing so. On a serious note, I found myself smiling several times over the weekend, as I stumbled over one similarity after another.
I believe karate lives in your heart and mind, or it doesn't live at all. The intricate academics of how to do what, when, and where, are no doubt important to many: but they are no longer so important to me. For good or ill my karate is what it is, and just as I won't teach karate to people I don't like, I won't practice karate with people I don't respect. If I'm lucky enough to be invited again next year....I'll be back!