Tuesday, November 22, 2016

The Relativist Hell Hole

Since I stopped writing in this blog, I've been writing a book, which is temporarily on hold since the birth of my daughter. Hint: practicing let alone writing about karate is really hard when you have a one month old.

One of the biggest challenges about writing a book about karate is the giant pit of relativism, which is right at the center of it's practice. This is mostly because karate is both Art and Tool, and many if not all don't have a very clear distinction between the two. Art is relative and subject to taste. Tools for the most part are not. Screw drivers suck as hammers. The modern calligraphy type practice of kata performance is Art and therefore relative. Because of this it's very easy to get sucked to one side or the other or give concession to the artistic aspects and diluting the practical.

I'm caught between deconstructing modern paradigms and just giving people good robust tools, so they can practice karate on their own. The latter is easier and probably much more beneficial. I believe most dojo goers are so wrapped up in the status building of the dojo that they will automatically dismiss anything I write out of hand.

All of karate is ultimately relative just because it is an idea like all martial arts. There is personal style, personal preference, personal tactics and strategy and all of it can spring from kata, because kata is really just mechanics. One can practice in their underwear at three in the morning without any thought of practical application and have lots of fun doing it. Nothing wrong with that. This type of thinking however is a bottomless pit of roads taken and not taken. It is basically an absence of thought. If everything is relative than nothing is concrete, so we might as well say screw karate and go drinking.

This is the pit.

Karate as a practical and robust defensive system cannot be subjective. It has a real goal, breaking people. People break more easily some ways than others and it's not that complicated. Physics applies to everyone. It's easy to forget though, because so much of karate is built on myths. The myths have become karate instead of just interesting sidebars.

Hopefully once my daughter gets a little older work can commence and it won't involve me tearing out the rest of my hair. I know what to write, I'm just finding the right words.