Sunday, 13 January 2013

A Fox, a Chicken, and something to think about.

Shinseidokan students training their kata outside
I received an email yesterday from a troubled soul. How do I know he is troubled(?)....well, once he'd laid out all his credentials and established (at least in his mind) that he was speaking with some authority, he proceeded to highlight the "many" short comings in my character; in particular the hypocrisy I had displayed by speaking out about politics in the martial arts, and yet, endorsing a book on Japanese politics.

"Why do you read books like this if you hate politics so much, could it be that you are just searching for ways to gain power without exposing your true nature?????"

Yes...he used five question marks, and from that alone I got a good idea of his karate. Like I said, the writer is a troubled soul. For he felt obliged to put me in my place and saw my comments on a book as an opportunity to do just that. How much better he must feel now, safe in the knowledge that he has asserted his authority over me. A tiny part of me is happy to be of service, but the greater part could care less!

Ok...so what has any of this got to do with the title of this post? Well, there is an old saying appertaining to understanding things, it states: "If you want to understand a fox, keep chickens." This is no Yoda-esk pearl of wisdom, nor is it a Zen-like verbal puzzle designed to send you mad; rather, it is a piece of advice that points directly toward understanding through experience.

Karate, and indeed life its self, requires we understand our abilities, as well as our situation; both suggest that we keep our understanding of each in balance if we want to move smoothly along from the cradle to the grave. So...is it possible to avoid politics if you remain ignorant of how it works? Can you really understand happiness if you have not experienced sadness? Can you ever come to know contentment if you have never been without? And, most importantly....can you ever grasp your reality if you have yet to wake up from your dreams?