Saturday, 29 March 2014

When was the last time your karate was tested..?

The late Higa Yuchoku sensei of the Kyudokan: testing a student
In the photo Higa sensei is testing the form of a student. It's a situation I've been in a great many times myself over the years, especially as a student of Higaonna Morio sensei back in the 1980's. But even when I was making my way home from his dojo through the back-streets of Makishi, my shoulders and thighs burning from the fierce slaps I received from my teacher, I never thought of the training as being particularly "testing".

Looking back to that time the physically demanding training, as tough as it was, was always the least of it for me. I was young, in my late twenties and my mind was "ready for it"....I was no athlete, but I was always ready to give all I had in training, and then to see how far my body could run on empty. In the end, that's what always stopped me. My attitude was still prepared to go further, do more...but my body would reach a point of exhaustion...and I would come to a halt.

Me at 56 years old - c2011
These days my training is nowhere near as physical as it was back then, but I'm almost 60 years old now. Even so, my training is still as challenging. I understand that the limitations I impose on myself are seldom as close as I imagine them to be; and if I can find something extra, the will to continue just a little longer, then I can push my limits back further then I thought possible.

Authentic karate training is not easy, but then, only an idiot would think that it was. Authentic karate skill is not something that comes quickly, but then, only an idiot would think that it did. Authentic karate as a benchmark for life is not popular, but then, only a businessman would try to make it so.

My kongoken weights 50 lbs (23 kg)
Time in the dojo is precious, time spent training is precious too! So I think we all do well to remember that karate is a martial art, not a martial science; therefore, knowledge and a good memory are not enough to give it life. If you don't develop a feeling for karate, then all you'll have is an ability to do karate, and doing karate seldom stands the test of time. Let's face it....the world is inundated with people who used to do karate.