Wednesday, May 17, 2017

My Problems with Karate Teachers

My Problems with Karate Teachers

I've had to figure out and learn this all by myself. All the information is out there in one way or another. I'm not stating anything new or original. I'm merely connecting theciots so you don't have to. I'm showing you a way to understanding /This is because of two things that really bug the crap out of me about karate teachers. The bad teach you crap, and the good teach you nothing. In fairness the bad all teach in varying degrees of crap, and they don't really know any better. It's the good teachers that annoy me, because they intuitively understand everything I will mention or talk about in this book, but will never explicitly tie any of it together in any sort of meaningful way. They usually speak in vague truisms like a Zen monk reciting a koan instead of any type of logical. demonstratable or useful manner. I'm not sure if this is because they do not have a vocabulary for transmitting the knowledge or believe that figuring all oftzhis out on your own is part of the process. They may figure that we are all too young and inexperienced to understand such abstract concepts, but this argument goes to pot when you consider that we start teaching our children language at birth and they are competent by six and we start teaching them to read and write in kindergarten and they are proficient enough to express themselves, ideas, write essays, stories, poems and any other thing that pops into their head by the fifth grade. Language is very abstract, complicated and it's the key to unlocking kata.

Host of these sayings or comparisons are useless unless you ’already fundamentally know what they're talking about. I can say all day that kata is sorely movement and knowing how to move in a fight is more important than memorizing technique, but because movement is abstract and we have no concrete link between that movement and everything that we've ever read or seen regarding the martial arts the information is meaningless. we need connection in a meaningful and useful

manner. fhis is what this book: is for.

I have learned more about my own karate by reading books on violence, physics, and anatomy and physiology than I ever

have reading books on karate. Karate books are usually backward looking rationalizations to justify ones own practices and theories based on history shrouded in myth. Phey can have insights and provide platforms for reflection and study, but

in my opinion are of limited value in applying karate and exploring it in any sort of creative or personal way. Sometimes we want history to have a reason, out we must except a fact

that karate may have developed because of randomness, fluctuating evolution and blind luck. It may all just be hapenstance, but

the past does not change or should not change our making the

best use of karate how it stands now instead of blindly following in the footsteps of those who we can not be sure of their motives.


For the first sequence of movenents in seisan, just the movements between one step to the next I know how to apply it when

facing a person to the front, the sides and behind. I can apply it a: as a series of strikes, block/ strikes, linb manipulation, body manipulation, two easy locks, gouges,

a takedown and combinations of all. I can strike, lock, gouge and takedown within taking one step in the kata. Dhis is

well over ten variations for a single movement set. If I

were to settle on the ten most likely variations for each

of the 13 movements of Seisan and then construct a flow drill exploring each Variation and how it might relate to the others there would be over 100 billion different flow drills to practice. If each repetition of the kata took only a minute

it would take tan over 100 billion minutes or in other words it would take over 190,256 years of continuous none stop practice for me to complete one repetition of each flow drill, or Just to think of it in each variation. The chances of me being able or running into a situation where it would Hatch one of the flow drills would be 1 in over 100 billion. I would have a better chance of winning the lottery about

a hundred times. This is not practical.


Calculate the odds from the total not just from the winners. You must also take the losers into account.

Everything must have a "because" and we cling onto the most reasonable thing that we come upon first no matter whether it is right or wrong.

The birth of kata and karate may be reason less, random and unknowable. it is like looking at a puddle of x water and trying to reverse engineer it back into the ice cube that made it. there are an infinity of ice cube shapes if it was ice at all.

Continual Application

fhe concepts in this book must be continuously applied to

your practice and study. dork and improvement on one aspect can send ripples through each layer for good or bad. Kata effects our study and study effects our kata. Being a karateka means thinking like a karateka and this isn't achieved by following the style manual. Your karate will be different

than mine, your study will be different, but the mental

must be perfected as much as the physical. In fact without

the mental there is no physical.

You will change and grow as you learn. Your thinking, and ideas may change with experience and this is to be expected. One must make sure that they are still practicing in a way that benefits their own self interests and not the self interests of another. Grow, adapt, get better.

The Larger Impact of Side Benefits

Health and fitness are the two biggest benefits of karate practice if one chooses to practice safely and not destroy their body through unnessecary "toughening? Obesity puts you at risk for

so many health problems you might as well just say that you should stay active and avoid it. If you're going to stay active anyway you might as well do something fun, which may help you

in other aspects of your life. Kata is simple, requires little space and is fun if you let it be fun. fhlximplxx

kaxrixa how some people feel karate will impact your health and well being far more than

The goal of karate is never to have to use karate, because of this it will have a bigger impact on our lives if we use it for recreation, fitness and a means of creative expression.

fhe value in using one kata as a primer is that you are not shackled by ritualistic interpretations of others. You can practice kata and still make it what you want it to be without reducing it or limiting it to caligraphy. Caligraphy may have meaning to some, but some of us prefer a little more flexibility when it comes to our creative endevors. Art is not copying what another does, art is expressing yourself through a sodium. Karate is a medium of movement and it is expressed through practice and play. A kata can become your template for a individual fighting style tailored to your strengths if you let it. Iou just have to see beyond the confines of limited thinking.

Zen and the Single Kata

Zen I believe at not: its heart is about seeing the world as it is. not as we wish: it to be. when we see theworld as it is everything comes into focus. we know what we have to do.

All that's really left is whether we have the will and the stomach for the doing. I think all too often people view enlightenment as a means of escape despite sayings like

“Before enlightenment I shopped wood and carried water, and after enlightenment I chop wood and carry water." some times clarity doesn't change anything. whether you accept the world as it is, or Just accept it how you wish it was doesn't effect the larger universe. I‘he stars will shine and then go out, the world will turn until it doesn't and we will all die. What becomes important is being mindful of the moment, because there is only now. i‘he past is gme, the future is yet to come.

For Zen, the main vehicle for this is seated meditation. You sit and you focus on your breathing and your posture and let everything go. Sooner or later you pay attention to your breathing

and posture through habit and reflex and then you Just let go. ‘ihe kata is the same way.

When we practice kata, we also pay attention to our breathing and our posture. we focus on our structure and feeling the directional energy that our moving body creates and focus on all the parts of our body moving in concert to achieve that

end. we do not need to think of technique, tactics, strategy

or the opponent, variations of any of these things. He! ocus

on breathing, posture and movement. l'he kata stays the same, but changes from moment to moment. It is nothing and everything. It is our body and it is not our body.

I think this comes naturally to us no matter what the activity we pursue. Some experience zen through washing the dishes, or cleaning their house. Any mundane task that 's repetitive, but requires some small amount 01' attention. i‘he moment. I think this can be achieved and has been achieved by those who practice many kata, but it seems to take them much longer to gs): arrive at. It seems a shame to cloud the issue with too many things

to be mindful of. Too many kata. It seems a shame to wait so long for something that you can experience by washing the dishes.