Monday, 30 September 2013

The Need to Know Everything...

My first meeting with Chojiro Tani sensei, founder of Tani-ha Shito-ryu: c1982
When this photo was taken, I held the rank of nidan in the Tani-ha school of Shito-ryu karate; that's me, standing on the extreme right of the shot, Tani sensei is kneeling in the front row, second from the right. At the time I was well aware that my grasp of karate was tentative at best as a nidan....but I figured Tani sensei knew everything!

For a time, during the 30 years since this photo was taken, I tried to learn everything about karate, to stand where I perceived Tani sensei was standing when I was working hard to learn his karate. It took a while to realise that my desire to know everything was actually leading me away from understanding that much about anything.

"Karate is about learning to let go"....a quote from an ancient sage perhaps? No, just something I was told once: long ago. I've been talking with a few people recently about the history of karate, and then this morning I read a blog post by an authentic karateka whose opinions I respect; on both occasions, I was reminded of the days when I wanted to know everything.