Friday, January 15, 2016

Everything and Nothing

The martial arts are weird and especially karate, because we talk about them as if the martial art or the technique does all the work when really it's you who does the work. Technique is just the movement of our bodies. The martial arts are like an idea, real and not real at the same time. They are everything and nothing.

The same thing goes for kata. I like to call kata the shape of the weapon, because it's easier for me to think about it with this filter. Kata is very abstract and this gives it a handle of sorts. It helps me picture what I'm thinking about. By shape I don't mean the embusen, I mean the actual movements and all the parts of the movement. If I could take a photograph of a movement with a low shutter speed, the blur of movement that the camera captured is the shape. It's not the beginning or the end that is important. It's only a guide. It's me who does it, not the kata or karate. There are plenty of ways to interpret kata movements. There are definitely different legitimate ways to look at the same movement. There is no right or wrong. There is only movement. Because of this, kata essentially becomes everything and nothing. Because it's nothing it has the capacity to be anything, because it can be anything it's essentially nothing.

This ties rather well into the idea of mushin no shin, or mind without mind. Thought without conscious thought, or no mind. There is me, my opponent and that is it. My resolve against theirs. Everything else is irrelevant.

Makes me think of the union of mind, body and spirit in a more tangible way. Interesting.