Monday, 17 March 2014

The Unreasonable Man...

Me after morning training at the Higaonna dojo, Makishi, Okinawa, 1984
George Bernard Shaw once said, "All progress is made by the unreasonable man." His point being, that if you accept the status-quo then you are destined to remain forever in whatever situation you happen to find yourself. Progress, he contended, is made by the seemingly "unreasonable" man, the individual who asks questions and demands to see the evidence. Imagine if every new karateka did that..! I reckon a great many karate instructors reading this would have to find a new hobby.

An inability to question yourself about why you think and do the things that you think and do, will fix you in place wherever that happens to be. As a kyu level student, appearing to be unreasonable will help guard against confusing conditioning for instruction. In the learning of karate, asking questions of your teacher at the appropriate time is entirely acceptable; more importantly, asking questions of yourself is absolutely necessary!

Here's a question I sometimes ask myself when I read about karate instructors teaching self-defence, or 'real' karate bunkai..."I wonder if they have any paperwork!" I'm talking about the charge sheets issued by the police when they were arrested for taking the guy(s) out. Or better still, the prison release form they were issued when they finished their sentence as a violent offender!

So, if you haven't already become conditioned into accepting the status-quo, now is as good time as any to start asking questions. But don't waste too much time asked them of others, instead, aim your questions at yourself; and when the answers start to come, ask yourself what you're going to do next.