Thursday, January 10, 2008

Three questions and a demonstration

Charles James Sensei is asking fellow martial artists to answer the following questions. I highly recommend checking it out. Plus he has a wonderful MA blog along with a wealth of MA knowledge.

1. Why do you practice karate?
I originally began karate with the mindset of learning how to defend myself. However, my practice has now developed into learning more about myself and about how I can move my body while performing kata and ippons. Karate training provides a platform for me to stand on while I practice moving and breathing. It has become so important to my everyday life and how I move through that life, both physically and mentally.

2. Which of the three forms of practice do you feel fits your viewpoint (jutsu, do, or supo-tsu)?
Do definitely fits my viewpoint. There are so many levels to karate training and the deepest ones are learned through do, at least for me. I find that by practicing karate-do I am able to access much more inside myself and then translate that energy outwardly in my kata and ippon training. I am much more comfortable with kata than I am with self-defense techniqes, so the fact that my training focuses more on do helps me immensely with that discomfort and allows me to really believe in myself and what I am able to do.

3. Do you practice a combination of the three? If yes, which?
I would say that I practice a combination of jutsu and do. There is a definite feeling of warrior training in my practice and I like how that makes me feel, but the do tempers that energy by making me work slower and with more meaning. I have no desire to practice supo-tsu. That seems a little empty to me, personally speaking. I have no problem with karate as sport, just not for myself.

Today a few members of the dojo went with sensei to an elementary/middle school to put on a karate demonstration. I could not believe how nervous I was to show youngsters of a variety of ages what we do! When I was called to perform a kata by myself my nerves almost got the best of me and my brain became way too involved in what I was doing. Of course I did the kata Siekuran Lin Bloom, which I haven't had all that much practice with (say two months worth of time into this kata). It's amazing what a change of scenery will do to your training - different floor, different lighting, different direction. I've always had a hard time performing in front of lots of people, and karate has tempered that, but today it was as if I had never done it before. Very strange and interesting. I'll have to let that sink in a bit. It was a great demonstration, though. The kids were so excited and laughed and seemed to really enjoy what they were seeing. One of my fellow shodans, Chris, teaches the phys. ed. class there and she had been doing Asian studies for the month. So, she decided that it would be extra wonderful to have them see karate in action! My favorite part was when sensei had all the kids line up to do some simple forms and he asked a girl to switch to her left foot to which she replied, "I have a hard time remembering which is which!" I believe she was around 5-6 years old. It was so cute. There are many times when I have a hard time remembering which is which, too...

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