Saturday, January 2, 2016

Searching for Karate

I spent a little time reading over some of my first posts and decided that I should give a better explanation to the purpose of this blog. While it's a place for me to record my training and a place for my ideas to coalesce, it's also about self discovery and hopefully offering a little bit of motivation. Let me start by trying to explain the name of this blog, In Search of Karate.

You might be asking yourself "why not do a quick google search?" or if you're really old school "why don't you flip through the phone book?" If you're too young, they're those yellow things that mysteriously appear on your doorstep, which seem to be forgotten there and then turn into mush. There are plenty of people out there teaching karate, claiming they teach karate and are all too happy to tell you what karate is in exchange for money. There's Wikipedia and other sources that will explain exactly what karate is supposed to be and plenty of people writing blogs like this telling everyone what they believe true karate to be. No matter what the setting each person needs to decide what karate is for themselves, what karate means to them. It can be fighting, self defense, fitness, spiritual development or any combination of all of these. It can even mean hanging out with friends and meeting new people. Just going to a school is the easiest. There have definitely been times where I've wanted to throw up my hands and say "screw this, I'll just find a school and get some colored belts and have fun playing at martial artist." I've done it in the past. It's what brought me to Seidokan when I was in the service. Going alone is hard. Even when one has a teacher, some things are impossible to teach. A lot of karate is about feeling. Until you feel your body moving in unison, all of it moving towards a single point with all your weight behind the technique than every time someone says that "power comes from the hara" than you won't know, won't listen, won't understand until that first time when recognition hits and you'll know what your sensei was talking about. Until then you just think you're doing it right, you won't know. No matter how many times you hear that kata is everything, you won't understand that it is the tool, the textbook and the teacher. Karate is a search and a journey.

This blog is also about motivation, encouragement and giving people permission. Paying for a class and standing in front of a sensei is not the only way to practice karate. You don't need uniforms or belts or someone telling you what to do. As far as I'm concerned all you need to practice karate is a kata, patience and discipline. Anyone who practices a karate kata practices karate. It takes patience to learn the lessons and discipline to keep at it, but this is all you need. Too many believe that karate is only practiced at a school that if you're not paying a class fee than you're not practicing karate. Karate is not a credit card or your electricity. It doesn't require a monthly payment to practice. It just takes practice and your only payment is sweat. I want people to know that when there's a will there is a way especially when karate is concerned. I want people to know that they have permission to practice karate however they want.

This is what this blog is about. It's about discovery, practice and most of all asking why.