Saturday, March 24, 2007

Our strongest asset in training

I have found that my strongest asset when I train in karate is to find my inner motivation, and flow with it.

I was walking past an aerobics group a few days ago, and I stopped to watch them doing their class. The karate-ka in my recognized the hint of various stances, and techniques as they were moving their arms and legs. I thought to myself, "if they understood the potential of their movements, they would be able to train it to a different level, and might be able to use it in self defense ( If they had to ) Ah.. but that is not their goal. They chose to spend an hour moving their bodies to build up a sweat, lose weight, build muscle, and increase their cardio-vascular output."

This realization brought me to think about what our goal would be when taking a karate class. What is the main goal of a karate club? I believe that it would depend on the philosophy of the Sensei. Although every Sensei contains more than one goal within them, you will find that they tend to centralize in their philosophy. Some Sensei are looking to create the next World Champion in their art. Their club centers on tournament fighting, and getting the gold medals. Some Sensei are looking to investigate into the deeper levels of their art, and understand the techniques at a higher, and higher level. Some Sensei just enjoy training in the art, and create a family atmosphere. Some Sensei are more centered on teaching "street" defense, so that a person could honestly protect themselves if placed in a dangerous position such as a police officer.

Just as there are different teaching philosophies, there are different reasons that students will take martial arts. For some, it is to gain in health, balance, and flexibility. For others, it might be to become the next World Champion. Some people take karate for pleasure.. they just enjoy doing this activity as a hobby. Some want to learn self defense.

I think that all of these reasons are great.. because they can combine the benefits of physical activity with learning various movements that might come in handy one day. The most important thing is to find what motivates me, because once I've understood what it is that I want from my training, I can arrange my energies into that direction. It would not work for me to train under a Sensei that is centered on creating a World Champion, if I am looking for learning street self defense. This is when I should start looking for a Sensei that lives, and teaches the same philosophy as mine. I believe that matching the type of teaching to my goals helps me stay motivated in my art.


John Vesia said...

Isn't it funny how a lot of exercise programs today contain some elements of karate training? When Funakoshi brought karate to Japan, one of his main selling points was that health benefits could be achieved through training. And legend has it that when Bodhidharma arrived at the Shaolin Temple he found the monks there woefully out of shape. So these famous founders originally stressed exercise and health maintenance as primary goals in the martial arts.

supergroup7 said...

Yes John, Sensei Gichin Funakoshi's history is that he was a sickly young boy. He attributes his long healthy life to the karate training that he did constantly. Sensei Funakoshi truly felt that Karate training was more than just a Martial art, but could be used as a tool to improve one's character, health, and living condition.

Colin Wee said...

I was going through my downloads page last week and I noticed that there were a few things I developed a little while ago that I haven't shared much recently.

Of note to this discussion of the strongest asset, check out my visualisation tool. I put it together from previous experience as an archery coach.

Tell me what you think.


supergroup7 said...

Oh my gosh, Colin.. with all of the things that I have been doing, I have forgotten to go check this visualization tool out. I had promised to do so AGES ago. My apologies.. I'll make it a point to go there sometime today.