KARATE AS A WAY OF TEACHING
Karate-dō means “the way of karate.” In our dojo, we practice karate as a way of teaching.
There’s the obvious sense that we teach the elements of Seibukan karate—its stances, punches, blocks, kicks, kata, applications. But more importantly, we take teaching as our ethos
We see karate as fundamentally different than the popular psychology of affirmations, which urges you to love yourself exactly as you are right now. In that perspective, the only change you need is to believe you don’t need to change at all.
The difficult gift of karate is that it forces you to face, over and over, and in the most tangible ways, your limitations and weaknesses. Karate proves we need to become stronger, faster, more supple, more graceful. Karate proves we have so much more to learn.
Karate is a constant reminder that you’re not good enough. You need to change.
This may seem harsh, but for us, it’s no different than being a student at anything. If you already know enough about biology or literature, if you have already mastered the requisite skills, why go to school at all? The result of being sure you know enough already is obvious everyday on social media, where the manifestly undereducated presume mastery of infectious diseases, the physics of masks, international relations, and a host of other subjects.
In contrast, the basis of genuine learning is acknowledging you need to be better.
We think that acknowledgment, which is a form of humility, is better than the positivity of affirmations. It says you can become a better person. It says if you practice and learn seriously enough, you will.
But the process never ends. When Chibana Chōshin was asked what constituted the right attitude towards training, he replied, “Always thinking, ‘not yet, not yet’.”
Oota Hirokata was teaching kendō when 102 years-old. Despite having practiced for many decades, he said, “It’s important to carry on forever and be persistent. I still have a long way to go with kendō.”
Karate is a way of teaching for us because our ambition is to be training when we’re 102 and saying, “I still have a long way to go with karate.”