by David Nishimoto
The study of Kempo Karate requires a lifetime of diligent thought. Many hours of isolated study and concentrated thought and practice are necessary to build the inner strength found in Karate. Meditation builds the focus within the mind. The mind, focused, builds confidence and well being for the body. It is during these quiet hours of movement and reflection some of the most profound understanding and enlightenment occur, for the Karate man.
In an era of music, expensive cars, endless ranges of entertainment, and recreation; our society has acquired excessive levels of wealth; this wealth is producing children who seek pleasure above work. In my day pleasure could be acquired by reading a book or learning; by experiment how something works. Today, children expect information to arrive completely digested, microwave heated, and entertaining. Work is replaced by knowledge and this knowledge is controlled by the media. The question remains: what kind of karate men are we creating?
Karate equalizes the imbalance created by information rich societies. There is no respecter of person within the art of karate. A kick is a kick, a punch is a punch, and a man is a man. Karate seeks to return man back to an appreciation of quietness, peace, and harmony. In contrast, information and knowledge of itself is not in harmony and represents: contradiction, conflict, and disrespect for nature. The study and observation of force and motion is blindly ignored. The study of the animals’ forms by the ancients brought an awareness to the karate man of his environment. Understanding and moving in accordance to the forces of nature were manifest through animals, such as the snake, crane, leopard, bear, tiger, and ram. Year after year the teacher shares knowledge of this animal like movement, but only after much thought does the student realize the importance his relationship to obstruction and seeks to harmonize the with the force and neutralize it. Warmth, an excitement for personal development, and wisdom were imparted by the teacher.
Karate is not about fighting, even though the principles of fighting are taught. Karate is more about the development of man. Some theorists believe karate was used to measure the physical and mental condition of the practitioner. Only by building a strong mind, spirit, and body could the true forces of karate be manifest. The true force exhibited crushing power at a touch; intense paralyzing pain to a joint, nerve, or muscle group; and projection through the invisible energy of Chi. Experience was respected because it was expected that the practitioners’ chi increased through constant application of karate over time. Quality was produced by constant repetition over time. Those who possess chi measured the capability of the opponent by the level of chi they perceived. It was expected most would not fight; if they believe the other person possessed greater chi.
Karate is not combat. It’s the study of force and motion. What about groundwork and grappling? Both are still the study of force. All possibilities are not explored within ones life; only a general guideline of harmony. One should seek to gain a passive opposition to violence. It is immoral to inflict cruelty, pain, and injury upon another human being. In all cases, if the possibility of survival against high injury cannot be avoided violence must be inflicted. The injury should be done with a focused and clear mind, so that the degree of injury is proportional to the threat.
In all cases, the defender mind should be open to the Holy Spirit. So, at the very moment the impressions from heaven can be drawn to ones defense. Karate makes no claims to possess all the endless techniques or philosophies of man only that the need for personal revelation is required in a conflict.
Suppose a woman or child is suddenly attacked, it is possible the power of God would replace their fear with strength. Rather than seeing a monster they see a contest of force. The loser possesses less understanding of the way of motion and force. The attacker could be repulse by such power and thought. Further more, the very intent of the attack can be perceived and a path of escape found. Silently the forms teach to find the path of escape. So the quiet meditative practices put the practitioner in touch with energy in his environment, the thoughts and intents of man, and the power of God. Karate should never seek to put man at the center of the universe. Rather Karate should open the windows of heaven to the infinite possibilities of motion.