Well, around August 2003, my sensei asked me to write a “3 page essay on what Isshin Ryu Karate means” to me. Its in the requirements, actually – before you can become a Sensei, you have to write an essay. To be honest, it took me four or five tries, and even then I didn’t get it done to the extent that I wanted it done.Religion is a very sticky issue with a lot of people. Everyone seems to believe that their path is the only right one. It’s the same thing with karate, really. But, if you go to a karate tournament, and watch people fight…some are better, some are worse, but they’re all different.
Karate has been a huge help when I’ve applied it to my faith. I just have to think of karate, and images start popping into my head. What does it do? Stress relief and exercise. Confidence. Reliance. Humility. Obedience. Leadership. Spirit. Strength. Endurance.
Wicca, my path, is one that for the most part, is walked alone. We don’t attend church every Sunday, we are not instructed by another on how to contact our Gods and what to say when we do. Not to say that we aren’t instructed – but in the end, we are left to make our own decisions. We become the priest/ess. Though we are taught respect, we are also taught to walk proudly.
The one thing that karate has given me is probably the best thing that I can gain out of my school. Sensei has numerous times sat us down and asked, “What is the difference between a karate shout and a kiai?”
A karate shout is a sign of respect. A kiai is a loud cry, an explosion of force and spirit that causes you to gain strength and energy. A kiai is applying yourself. Its determination and its your spirit. It is said that some karate masters can kiai and without touching you, move you back several feet. The lesson that we’re taught, the best lesson one can learn from karate is this: Try.
Walk everyday as if it were your last. Why would you do anything and not put your best effort into it? If you apply yourself, you can take on the world and change it. You can make a difference, and you can live your life honorably and fully. Take chances, make mistakes, you won’t know if you can if you never try.
And all that from hitting people 😉
Image credit: http://www.wnykarate.com/images/isshinryu.jpg
PS – due to some difficulties with appearance, I accidently screwed up the original version of this article. John so graciously commented on that version: here is his comment.
Sometimes, making mistakes can be the best teacher. This is certainly true in the martial arts.
There are some similarities between karate and certain religions. But no matter what style of karate (or religion for that matter) one takes, the destination is the same. All paths lead to the same summit.
Aug 24, 12:41 AM