Sunday, December 15, 2013

My Blog has slowed down greatly, but let me explain

When I started training in Karate everything was shocking, alien, and new.  From how one enters the room, to how one stands, to how one reacts, etc.  It really is a totally different culture with unique expectations, and experiences, and I wanted to document the progress of understanding Martial Arts  from white belt to black not only for myself but also for my various internet friends who have supported me throughout the years that I had met on various Martial Arts forums.  This was the reason that this blog existed.  Also, whenever a friend and I had questions about philosophy, technique, or patterns, I would post my answer on the blog.  I wanted to share those family moments that I had enjoyed when my husband, and children trained with me, and reveal the positive effects of Karate training.  I was a stay at home Mom with some personal time in my day to dedicate to reaching out to the virtual community.

However, now that I have been living as an established Black belt, and my ability to participate on Martial Arts forums has been restricted due to work, family, and training, I find that I'm having more and more difficulty contributing to the Blog.  It's not that I have learned "everything", and so there is no more progress.  It's the opposite.. I've learned that there is so much that I do not know; layers of information that cannot be put into words, but must be felt in action in order to understand.  It's the difference between knowing what a good chocolate cake should look, and taste like, and being able to bake one.  My knowledge is now part of the energy of my movement, and even videos or pictures cannot do that justice. 

I have also found the answer within myself that I have read in Sensei Gichin Funakoshi's Autobiography wherein he refers to all "karate" being the same.. that there is no difference in styles, or schools.  I used to be confused about that idea especially as I would watch someone fight in a tournament, and I could almost pin point that the manner in which they fought showed off a certain philosophy.  However, that is tournament fighting, and not "karate".  ( Wow.. I'm sure that I have opened a bag of snakes with that sentence!)  Let me explain...  Tournament fighting has rules, referees, time limits, space limits, etc.  There is a space there where one can use various techniques, and applications, but karate is survival where one faces a severe deciding moment in life and the result is never a trophy.  As Sensei Gichin Funakoshi said "When two tigers fight, one is certain to be maimed, and one to die."  When one is faced with this situation, all revolves around the thought that one wants to be the one to walk away from the confrontation alive.

I met a wonderful Kyokushin student just a month ago who came from Rwanda, and who had lived through the violence, and chaos of the Hutu/ Tutsi conflict in 1994. It was his experience of watching a Kyokushin Black Belt successfully defend the village from imminent death from a group of killers that spurred him into wanting to gain these skills in his life.  I also met another courageous woman over 40 years old facing the tough training of Kyokushin, and doing her best despite all of the complications, and demands that this new experience is challenging her to overcome.  Her main enemy is herself as she struggles to survive as a student in a situation that reminds her that she isn't 20 years old anymore, and that each exercise is only possible if she relies on her will power rather than her body.  For me, this is karate.. and style or school doesn't matter.