Thursday, November 12, 2015


I mentioned this a little bit in my last post. Mushotoku is practice without the thought of gain or profit. It's a Zen concept that's applied more to sitting meditation, but I think it helps with just about anything.

I get grief for this concept for a couple of reasons. First it's Zen and some karate people are very anti-Zen, mostly because of Anko Itosu's 10 precepts, one of which states that karate did not come from Buddhism. I totally agree and he should know or did know, but this doesn't mean that we can't use Zen concepts and practices to make our karate better. I don't find activities and concepts mutually exclusive. I'd much rather find binding principles across disciplines.

The second reason I get grief for this is goals. You need goals. Goals are important, but many goals are abstract especially when it comes to karate. It's not like weight loss or weight lifting where there are clearly defined goals. Kata can be subjective and when practicing for self defense one should hope never to use it. This is where mushotoku comes in.

We should be able to practice karate for the sake of practicing karate. The goal should be the practice itself not the attainment of specific goals. Goals are great, but they can also be discouraging. Reaching and failing creates a negative lesson, trying gets you nowhere. Practicing and never using can make karate pointless. Why practice karate for self defense if the odds are very low that I'll ever need it? Besides, I have a gun. Basically it needs to be fun. You should enjoy the act itself. You'll keep practicing and as long as your mind is open, you'll keep learning.