Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Second line: Kyokushin Dojo Kun

Hitotsu, wareware wa, bu no shinzui o kiwame, ki ni hasshi, kan ni bin naru koto.
"We will pursue the true meaning of the martial way so that, in time, our senses may be alert."

I'd like to quote the Characters Miyagi Sensei, and Daniel-san from the movie Karate Kid to express what I feel is focused upon in this line of the Dojo Kun.

"Daniel: So, karate's fighting. You train to fight.
Miyagi: That what you think?
Daniel: [pondering] No.
Miyagi: Then why train?
Daniel: [thinks] So I won't have to fight.
Miyagi: [laughs] Miyagi have hope for you. "

We have to look at what it means to pursue the "Martial Way" to understand the concept contained in this sentence. In eastern culture, there is something called the "Do", or the "Way" of living. How one speaks, how one draws, how one does their tea ceremony, how one dances, how one lives.. it is all part of your "Way". Budo is "the Way of the Warrior", Aikido is "Way of Harmony", Tae Kwon Do "Way of the fist, and foot", Karate Do is the "Empty hand Way". Following a "Way" is to walk a path of choices, actions, values, and expressions.

So? What is the "Martial Way"? Westerners tend to focus only on the thought that the word "Martial" means "warlike, concerning war, and fighting". Who could blame us? Most of our movies, and t.v. entertainment reveal Martial arts with a "Kick their butt" philosophy. We see the underdog hero enter into a difficult situation, and through his acquired skills, he achieves victory over the "bad guys". We thrill over the speed, skill, and power plastered on the big screen. Children walk into the dojo wanting to be able to do fancy flying kicks that will assure them success over any threat. Black belts are looked upon as frightening images of someone that you wouldn't want to anger. It is the rare movie, or t.v. show, like "The Karate Kid", or "Kung Fu: the original series" that shows us what the Martial Way is in the eyes of the country of origin.

If we look at the Japanese Kanji that make up this word we see that the first symbol is a set of crossed weapons, and the second one represents the word "Stop". The word "Bu" is not really about fighting, but learning how to avoid, prevent, or to stop fighting. The Martial Way, "Budo", is to follow a path where we avoid having to fight by developing our awareness of ourselves, our environment, and our opponents.

"It is said that if you know your enemies and know yourself, you will not be imperiled in a hundred battles; if you do not know your enemies but do know yourself, you will win one and lose one; if you do not know your enemies nor yourself, you will be imperiled in every single battle." Sun Tsu "The Art of War" 6th Century.

We pursue the Martial Path by working on ourselves. We learn what our strengths are, and what our weaknesses are, and we build them both up to improve ourselves. We learn to temper our emotions, and not let fear, or anger goad us into putting ourselves into a fight. We learn to look at our surroundings, and find an alternative to fighting. We learn to take advantage of every moment that is offered to lower the intensity of a situation. We put forth a confident body language which will make an attacker think twice before chosing us as a target. We use our words to de-escalate a situation, if possible. We avoid environments that we know are dangerous. If we can know ourselves well, and become aware of what signals our body gives us, we can learn to avoid danger. Some people ignore that sixth sense within them that quietly warns us that we should be careful. We need to learn to listen to the wisdom within us, and avoid dangerous places, and people.

So in other words, we train so that we won't have to fight.


Anonymous said...

Really good ! Keep the good job.

Osu !


Sarah said...

A very interesting - and inspiring - post. Put a lot to think of on my plate. Thanks!
PS. Have you read "Living the Martial Way," by Forrest Morgan? I came across it a few years ago, and it's a pretty good read. About this kind of idea.

Colin Wee said...

I'd give it just a little slant ...

We train to be able to fight in order not to fight.