Wednesday, 30 October 2013

What's Necessary in Karate, and What's Not...

Motobu Choki's punch was famous, as was his liking for a brawl
In  a quote I saw recently that was attributed to Motobu Choki, he seems to be suggesting that at least some of his contemporaries where...to put it frankly, stuck up! His dislike of Funakoshi Gichin, for example, is well documented and perhaps this was who he was thinking of when he supposedly said the following:

"It is necessary to drink alcohol and pursue other fun human activities. The art (karate) of someone who is too serious has no flavour."

I tend to agree with Motobu, at least in part; the people who take themselves too seriously these days rarely grasp the essence of karate, instead, they splash about in the shallows and never come to understand the depth of balance necessary for good karate and a happy life. Curiously though, I find the very people who take themselves really seriously in karate are very often the same people whose karate is...well, crap!

Next time you talk to a renshi, kyoshi, hanshi, or plain-old shihan, ask him why he's using the title all the time. When you next meet a member of some childish "Hall of Fame", ask him why he feels the need to be famous. These are the folks who, to me at least, most often have "flavourless" karate.

It's one thing to take your karate training seriously, but something altogether different to believe your own publicity; but if you just can't help it, then perhaps you might ponder on the notion of  "Shoshin" for a while and see what you come up with. Actually, looking at the majority of the professional karate instructors in the world these days it's clear, to me at any rate, that a sense of humour is absolutely vital.