"Maybe we are the Problem?"
I received many emails from last month's article
The Internal Struggle.
Click HERE to review or read the article.
Most agreed with the premise that many instructors struggle finding the line between maintaining the traditions of the old ways and the need to adapt for modern times.
And as I read through them, there seem to be a common thread with many of them; a sense of disappointed, sadness, and anger with the state of traditional karate and society as a whole. Many thought their arts were in decline, moving away from the founder's original vision and many were concerned about the state of today's practitioners. A feeling that today's practitioners are soft, both physically and mentally, requiring entertainment to motivate them.
The argument of whether we should strictly adhere to the traditions of the old ways or not will continue for many decades to come. But what I found interesting is the feeling that maybe today's practitioners, and possibly society, may be to blame for the decline, or perceived decline, of our traditional arts.
Every generation, whether we're talking about martial arts or society, for as long as there has been a written language has complained about the younger generation. They have complained that discipline, morals and values have eroded and expressed a need to get back to the good old days. Each generation has generally embellished their experiences and hardships while disparaging youth. Could this be the situation today?
Could it also be we are simply struggling to find the voice modern practitioners can hear? This problem has existed forever, trying to communicate to one generation in another generation's voice. And when each generation has struggled to find the right voice, they have blamed the recipient.
I ask myself, "What would the old masters say about this?" These great men did not think like others of their time. They thought outside the box and where able to communicate and motivate the people. Would they say "learn the voice of the people of your time and think outside the box?"
We face different issues from what the great masters faced. Maybe we traditionalists need to look at ourselves rather than blame our students and the times we live in. Maybe we simply haven't figured out the puzzle of passing on the concepts of the great masters to our modern students. Maybe we are not communicating in a voice they can hear?
Maybe we traditional instructors are the problem?
Something to think about....
Welcome to the world of karate history, philosophy, other martial art information
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Wado Books & Information
Editor's note: There are many Wado practitioners in the world that do not have access to Wado books and literature for one reason or another. In this section we will publish key parts of Wado books and direct the reader to where they can be purchased. We will publish the author's introductions and philosophies but not the technical components of the book.
We are continuing with another writing from Master Otsuka's book Wado Ryu Karate, published by Masters Publication. This book can be purchased at Amazon.com.
"Sei Ken" (Righteousness of the Fist)
by Master Ohtsuka (1892-19820
If one's heart is not righteous, neither is his sword. The sword is said to be the soul of a swordsman; hence, to properly study the way of the sword, one must have a righteous heart to do so as well. The essence of karate, the fist, is no different. If one's heart is not righteous, he risks the dangers of misuse and any resulting evil. "To have a righteous heart" sounds easy, however, humans are often tempted by evil in every aspect of life - thus, in fact, it is very difficult to possess a "righteous heart."
By correctly training in a martial art, one is able to correctly train his heart as well. Hence, the martial art being trained for must be correct in every conceivable aspect. The martial art cannot be said to be "correct" unless it is in harmony with the logic and reason of both heaven and earth. The "righteous" fist is that of "peace" and a "righteous" heart is that of "peace."
The righteous path of the fist, therefore, is a path of peace.
Shorin and Shorei
The history of karate is a mess - a real "dog's breakfast", as they say. Sorting it out is like trying to identify the ingredients in hobo soup by sips. The more I study the more messy it gets. I was happier 50 years ago simply studying Shotokan and believing I knew all there was to know. After studying four styles over a half century, I am finally...hopelessly lost.
Karate is a fusion of secret societies, monasteries, midnight graveyard schools, priests, revolutionaries, palace guards, nobles, commoners and a plethora of iconic warriors fighting Chinese dynasties, Japanese overlords, bandits, girlfriends, each other and the unrelenting march of time (which, by the way, I also find myself battling, in case you hadn't noticed.)
A few young men fled Okinawa for China to avoid the Japanese draft, (something with which I can relate, growing up, as I did, in the sixties and living within a desperate dash of the Canadian border.) Some of those Okinawan draft-dodgers later returned home hailed as newly minted karate masters. For some reason I always thought they were visionary seekers of martial enlightenment at the center of the world. Turns out they may have just been staying alive and happened to stumble on a fun hobby.
Okinawa is a small island and everybody in the super secret menagerie of karate seems to have known everyone else. Turns out it may not have been so secret. When Bushi Matsumura showed up at the bull ring to fight the bull, half the island turned out to see him. Some secret. What were they expecting, a Matador?
To read the rest of this article click
Sensei Hunt holds Dan ranks in Wado Ryu, Shito Ryu and Shotokan.
Robert Hunt is the author of the book "The Art and the Way". Click the title to get information about this book. To order the book click HERE.
You can contact Sensei Hunt at email@example.com
MARTIAL ARTS HUMOR
Finding a Piece of the Truth
One day Mara, the Evil One, was traveling through the villages of India with his attendants. He saw a man doing walking meditation whose face was lit up on wonder. The man had just discovered something on the ground in front of him.
Mara's attendant asked what that was and Mara replied, "A piece of truth."
"Doesn't this bother you when someone finds a piece of truth, O Evil One?" his attendant asked. "No," Mara replied. "Right after this, they usually make a belief out of it."
We all need a little Zen in our Lives. If you have a story, please send it in.
December 6 - 7, 2013
WIKF Wado Karate Seminars
Sensei Jon Wicks
WIKF World Chief Instructor
Other Seminars and Events
"Nothing is so strong as gentleness. Nothing is so gentle as real strength."
Frances de Sales