Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Empty Technique

On a certain level karate is about the perfection of technique, but this is a very small level in my opinion. While there are those that say that karate is not violence, I say that it is very much about violence, but because it is about violence that it draws our attention to the fragility of life. The pursuit of technique is empty. The pursuit of personal growth and improvement is full. It has the same shape, but is not the same thing.

A person can practice a movement or a kata one million times and while this may be the culmination of one's karate training it is not the goal. The goal is survival. It is not winning, or losing, fantasy, dreams, heroics or zen, it is living. Techniques, mindfulness, and determination can all play a role in survival, but if one survives without these things they've still achieved the goal.

The perfection of techniques for it's own sake stagnates into aesthetics and empty ritual. It becomes a picture of the thing, but a picture is not the thing itself. If one is attacked suddenly by a wild two-legged beast, does one want to strive toward perfect technique or survival? If our attention during training is drawn toward technique rather than overcoming, than where will our attention be during that dire moment?

Perfection of technique should be aimed at the perfection of survival, not the perfection of vanity.