Saturday, 26 April 2014

Real Fighting...what is that?

Eiichi Miyazato sensei  -  Chojun Miyagi sensei
There are a number of photographs like this one in existence; they show my teacher, Eiichi Miyazato, with his sensei, Chojun Miyagi. What they don't show is two people fighting, nor do they depict two people sparring; what they do show (IMO) are two people practising karate together...all be it in a stylised way for the camera.

A recent post by Mario McKenna on his Kowakan blog looked at the concept of Yo-no-Bi in karate, you can read it here; like a lot of other things this sensei has to say about karate and kobudo, this is a thought-provoking post. I think many of the 50 million supposed karateka in the world these days have forgotten what they are involved in when they go training. There is a great confusion today about whether karate is a sport, a business, or even a way of life! Some folk think it can be all three at the same time!

When Full-Contact karate emerged in the 1970's, it was just another grab for cash, but it was sold as real fighting. Then along came the Military Tactics people with their version of real fighting, followed by the Gracie family and their version of real fighting in a cage. Today we have the street fighters, bunkai experts, ex soldiers, armed body-guards, and prison wardens; all ready to sell you ways to engage in "real" fighting!

But here's the thing...if you fight (on the street) for real, at least often enough to become an expert in it, you will end up behind bars (or dead). Is that really what you're looking for from your efforts in the dojo? Regardless of the hype, the spin, and the marketing, I think karate today is exactly the same as it has always been....what you make it!