Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Difficult Research...

Inside the Meibukan dojo,  Kume, Okinawa - 2013
Over the past thirty-years that I have been travelling to Okinawa I've been fortunate enough to visit many dojo in my capacity as a writer; having a magazine editor hungry for a story, or the impetus of conducting research for a book, often provides a keen incentive to seek people out, and in doing so, expose myself to many individuals and opinions I would otherwise be unaware of.

When you commit to karate, that is, when karate stops being something you just 'do' two or three nights a week, and is no longer merely a hobby but a benchmark for how you conduct yourself, then the notion of research becomes a key element in your relationship with the art. If you think of yourself as an authentic karateka, then in my opinion, you are obliged to step out of your comfort bubble on a regular basis, and, through difficult research, discover depths to your nature and ability that usually lay hidden under a thick blanket of familiarity.

The research you undertake may be physical, but it might also be done by exposing yourself to people with opinions that don't happen to endorse your own. Either way, if you limit your exposure to karate to those aspects of it that make you feel happy, you are missing the point. The essence of karatedo, the 'way of karate', is to equip you to deal with life, and to do that well you are going to need far more skills then simply knowing how to kick and punch.

You can read more about my thoughts on "Difficult Research" here and here.