Sunday, August 28, 2005

Good Driving, Good Karate-by Andrea

The other day, James and I were driving in the car. Just after someone cut us off or did some other rude or reckless thing, James turns to me and asks; "what do you think makes a good driver?" An interesting question to pose to someone who isn't a very good driver herself.

After a few moments of thought I narrowed it down to a few basic qualities. Those qualities are awareness, respect, and technical skill. After a few moments he asked, "now what do you think makes a good karate-ka?" after mulling that one over we arrived at the same three qualities, only with different applications. Where a good driver must be aware of traffic, pedestrians, and signs, a karate-ka must be aware of his opponents, the terrain, and his own body. A good driver must respect the other drivers on the road and the law. A good karate student must respect his opponent's life, his teacher's experience and knowledge, his fellow students, the wisdom of those generations who have been perfecting the arts for centuries, the elements, his own body... i think you can tell respect is one of the most heavily weighed qualities of a good karate-ka. And lastly, technical skill plays a part. The part it plays in the two roles if far different though. A driver must be good in order to avoid numerous problems- they must pass a test to get a license. The requirement is of a different nature for a karate-ka, however. A good karate-ka is always learning, always progressing, and always willing to admit his shortcomings. A driver can only progress so far and maybe its only worth the energy to get so far. But I've heard it said about the martial arts that it is like a circle. There are no shortcuts because there is no end. A karate student who has never thrown a punch can be just as good a student as a black belt as long as they both have the awareness and respect that separates them from those who will never truly progress.

I have been watching your class for some time and I want you to know that I consider you all very good karate-kas. I am impressed with your devotion and progression in the art and I'm grateful that James has such exceptional students. -Andrea


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