Onegaishimasu Parents and Students,
“Karate is not about fighting and it never has been. Karate is about three things in this order:
1.) Refinement of character.
2.) Living your life without fear. 3.) Standing up for and protecting yourself and others.
Refinement of the Human Character: This is the ultimate goal of the martial arts. Early masters discovered the hard, demanding training developed much more than their student’s fighting skills and strength. It also developed their minds, hearts and spirit. It quickly became obvious to the teacher the later three were far more powerful and effective in developing a student who could protect themselves and others. Their fighting spirit and character was their ultimate, invincible weapon. In the end, they discovered karate was so powerful it would be a shame not to share this special gift with all the rest of mankind. So how does karate develop character? To put it simply, you can only learn by doing!
Character development isn’t a single act, rather it is the way in which you live your life based on your actions, identity and principles expanded into daily habits and disciplines.
Living your life without fear: The next two elements take the karate practitioner to even higher levels of existence and purpose. There are only two things that hold all of us back in life, and only two things that keep each of us from reaching our full potential.
Those two things are your Fears and your Limiting Beliefs. The thing to understand is it’s not about the big fears like fire, heights, or Corona virus, although this is something especially prevalent in this challenging time with people of all ages, and for good reason. What we are talking about is more about the small everyday fears we don’t even notice anymore.
Think about kids debilitated by shyness or anxiety or worry. The best way to identify your small fears is to notice every time you hesitate, second guess yourself, over think something, hold back from doing something, become concerned over what other’s think, or convince yourself you are not good enough. These are all fears but are much more insidious and destructive because they are the small fears you have learned to cower to all the time.
“Every time you back off from a fear your FEARS get bigger, but every time you power through a fear YOU get bigger!”
So how does karate help you live your life with less fear? By developing courage. The only way you can develop courage is in the presence of fear. Courage cannot be learned without fear. Is karate scary? YES! But in karate you are placed under the good stress of fear in a very safe manner with teachers, mentors and fellow in your Keiko family supporting you and being your safety net.
I will end with this saying…. “A brave man dies one death, a coward dies a hundred deaths!” Which takes us to the final piece....
Standing up for, and protecting yourself and others: Fighting is really a last resort. All great masters of the martial arts will tell you, if you have to physically fight you have done it all wrong.
The ultimate victory is to win without fighting. First you have to develop the courage to stand up for yourself. This starts well before a conflict or fight. It begins with the confidence and ability to raise your hand in a classroom, the ability to ask a question when you do not understand, the ability to meet someone new at school, and the ability to speak in front of a group.
Later it develops into the confidence and self empowerment to stand up for what you believe in and act on it, then standing up for others.
So how do you protect yourself without fighting? With your posture, body language, voice and energy.
There is an emotion and energy of strength and courage. An old Japanese fable tells the tale of two Samurai warriors meeting for a dual to the death. They would momentarily lift their face armour and look into each other’s eyes. From just that look into each other’s eyes they would already know who would win!
At the highest levels, just like first responders, front line workers, law enforcement and members of the military, by training in karate we are given the privilege and responsibility to be the protectors or “warriors” of our society. We do not stand back. We always stand up and protect others.
We are Champions for good….That is just what we do!
*You can only learn courage by experiencing fear.
*You can only develop hard work and discipline by emotionally experiencing hard tasks that make you want to quit or give up.
*You only learn honesty and integrity by experiencing a true temptation to lie or cheat.
*You only learn compassion by having to display kindness and empathy when it is very hard to.
*You can only develop strong character by working on it and being tested constantly.
Just like a muscle, your bones, or your mind....Each need to be worked hard with resistance and stress. The harder they are stressed the stronger the get.
I will leave you with a quote from Higaonna Sensei: “Karate is hard. That is why it is so good.”
Have an amazing week
Keiko Karate – “Actually we do make Ninjas and Superheroes here………………we turn kids into Ninjas and we turn their parents into their superheroes!”