Higher Realm of Karate

Karate has become very popular as a self-defence sport and conditioning exercise.  Many people see karate in the movies and TV and fall for the flashy moves they see on the screen.  Many also go to tournaments and learn the techniques of the champions.

They believe they can copy these techniques and learn all there is to know about karate.

Unfortunately, they forget these moves only make up a fraction of karate training.  Karate changes according to one’s personal growth and personal endeavours toward the training of the art.  If one learns a technique from someone, they must understand that what they see is that individual’s level of karate and it is not the ultimate.

The ultimate of karate is impossible to do it one’s lifetime and therefore there is no limit to the training itself.  To make our karate perfect in one lifetime is impossible.

As we grow older we sometimes forget that we all lose muscle strength with age and cannot do all the things we could at a younger age.

If we remember this and train with the correct attitude and correct view, then karate will keep changing into a higher form.  This means we must keep an open mind in our karate training.  We must be able to find new ways to adapt and grow according to our age, body and wisdom.

The key point is we are not perfect, so it is all right to make mistakes while training, but do not go in with a closed mind doing the same thing year after year.

If we do so, then one’s growth in karate will stop and only old age will take over.  Keep the mind open and see what will be your next level.

Then work in that direction.  Also, observe one’s own mind to see if you are seeing straight or out of a deluded mind such as fantasies, envy, greed and so forth.

If a beginner expects to d flying jump kicks on their first day, they do not have a clear mind and expectation of what their body and experience are capable of.  However, if one is reasonable, karate will be fun and very rewarding to your life.

We sometimes forget we are universal beings, constantly receiving universal energy (Ki).  This Ki strengthens us and helps us become more receptive.  We receive this Ki through the air, or from energy on the earth or from gravity, food, water, etc.  If one uses these natural elements the results will naturally be greater than if we do not care.

We can strengthen ourselves through breathing exercises, visualisation, eating well, exercising, and generally taking excellent care of our bodies.  For instance, there is a tree on the field and it lives according to the soild on the ground, but if we add fertiliser to the soil, certainly the tree will grow even stronger.

So now, why I am talking about these things that are not about kicking and punching?  Because, we do kicking and punching with this universal being – the body, mind and spirit.  Through correct training we can all do karate for a long time and receive the most out of our training.

With correct instruction we may use our body movements wisely and most efficiently.  To get the most out of our life, our mind, body and spirit must be working in unison at their fullest potential.  At this point the mind will be calm and observant, the body will move most naturally, and the spirit will be noble and strong.  Then our karate naturally grows with class.

As a karateka, become noble with compassion, contrary to the egotistical.  This is how we strengthen our mind and allow it to flow as naturally as possible.  If our mind is full of obstacles such as bad habits and ideas, then the natural flow will be agitated.

Karate training is to endeavour to live one’s life in the most natural way and to prolong life itself.  There is no one technique, such as a punch, that can be perfected nin one’s lifetime.  This philosophy is, “we are all striving to reach the top but there is no top.”  Like time, our training is endless.  Be happy and practice with moderation.  This is karate do.

Shihan Akio Minakami

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