Saturday, 26 October 2013

The Ends of Sticks....

Where my makiwara first stood
When I moved in to my present home, in April 2012, one of the first things I did was plant my makiwara in the earth. It's one of my closest training partners, and as I had no formal dojo to train in each morning, I was keen to have it available.

The makiwara is, essentially, just a big stick; you plant one end in the ground and the bash the be-jeepers out of the other end: but that's not all it is or all you do. When I face the makiwara I have a conversation with it, not the audible kind, but a conversation none the less; and as always when I'm training I try to listen more than I talk.

Sticks...they can be very helpful in the learning of karate (and kobudo), but not if you get the wrong end of one; do that, and your conversation will quickly deteriorate into a shouting match. After my previous post I received a very angry email from someone who felt I had slighted Higa sensei: I didn't think I had, and I certainly never meant to. Still, if the writer could grab the wrong end of the stick then others could too.

I know this sounds Irish (and I am, so it should come as no surprise), but if you look at the previous post you may notice a paragraph is missing: I've deleted the mention of my visit to the Kyudokan dojo. Why? Well as innocent as my mention of  the visit was, it clearly had the potential to be misunderstood. I've spoken at length with Higa Minoru sensei about karate; his gentle nature impressed me, as did his karate, I wouldn't dream of insulting him.

Sticks...have wrong ends. I think one way to spot a really good budoka, is to see which end of the stick they're holding.