As I indicated in my last post, my weekend was spent in the company of some dedicated and talented karateka. Everyone in the dojo, except me, practised Shotokan karate, but that didn't count for much in my book because when we were training we were all trying to improve our feeling for karate.
I know....some of you may wonder how a person who trains in Goju-ryu can improve his karate by training in Shotokan? The answer is simple really, I listened to what was being asked of me and then faced the challenge of trying to do it. By doing that, regardless of the particular packaging the karate was wrapped up in, it was possible for me to seek improvement and with any luck achieve a little too.
For way too long I've been listening to people in karate hide behind, "We don't do it like that in our style." , "My sensei said you do that like this." or "Our way is better." Frankly, such folk make me yawn - big time! If you wear a black belt and you're still hiding behind such nonsense then you really do need to look for something else to do with your life, because as far as karate is concerned you're wasting your time. You're like the guy who says he's a chef, when all you're doing is copying recipes from a book.
Consider this, there are no styles in karate unless you choose to recognise them, there are no organisations holding authority over you except those you chose to be subservient to; karate only exists when you engage with it on a personal level. When you do that, when you engage the art with an open mind and an honest heart, the industry that surrounds modern day karate simply falls away, and when that happens, what you're left with is the kind of karate everybody dreams about....