I remain fascinated and blessed with the respect shown by Karate students to each other regardless of rank, age, skill or gender.
I am not an “expert” nor am I a student of high esteem. I am still far off from those qualities mentioned. But what I can say is that there is a marked change in the character of a person who enters a dojo and chooses to remain as a student.
He or she embarks on a lifelong journey of character building, courage, humility, respect and skill. The need felt for unnecessary bravado, anger and violent behavior diminishes considerably. Karate teaches one to be in control of the body, mind, spirit and the emotions.The fundamental thread of values that guide a student are the similar in every style:
- Each person must strive for the completion and perfection of one’s character
- Each person must be faithful and protect the way of truth
- Each person must endeavor (fostering the spirit of effort)
- Each person must respect others and the rules of etiquette
- Each person must refrain from violent behavior (guard against impetuous courage)
- Be humble and polite.
- Train considering your physical strength.
- Practice earnestly with creativity.
- Be calm and swift.
- Take care of your health.
- Live a plain life.
- Do not be too proud or modest.
- Continue your training with patience.
Each point is a lifelong lesson that can be dissected and applied in many, many ways. One lifetime is not enough to fully understand the ancient wisdom expressed through Karate. That is why the martial art is a way of life and not just a sport.It is an art that teaches values of respect that we as a society can draw upon for guidance. By looking at Karate from a philosophical standpoint, each value identifies a deficiency that needs to be corrected – deficiencies that can take a lifetime to correct.
Karate gives one the opportunity to work towards betterment of physical skill, strength and personal achievement. It is an antidote to the school fights, domestic violence, alcoholism, the disrespect of women and poor health.
*Much gratitude to Sensei Rickinson Mekere (Shotakan) and Sensei Luke Goa (Goju-Ryu) for their wisdom and patience.
– Yours truly