Tuesday, March 14, 2006

do karate vs karate-do

In a recent conversation with a colleague, I found myself considering the question of "doing" karate vs "karate-do." it is a subject that warrants some degree of attention in my life because I encounter many fine individuals who practice the martial arts on a regular basis and I am also blessed to know people who seem to live the ideas of the martial arts. How can I judge which of these best describes me? Which do I want to be?
practice what you preach
though it certainly seems obvious at first glance; you must practice the martial arts to develop your martial spirit. This does not mean that you must practice karate-jitsu or ju-jitsu or any of the hundreds of arts that proceed from India, China or Japan. You can practice any martial art to develop your "martial" spirit.
--if you sit and meditate on flower arrangement you may achieve some degree of enlightenment and become a better person, but that is not a part of your martial development. Your warrior spirit is tapped, can grow, is involved in things related to war and fighting. Since the human existence is fraught with struggle, preparation allows us to best respond to trials in both physical and mental ways. I would like to touch on that again at a later date.
doing karate vs living karate
a very fine low budget film was produced recently where the protagonist was often heard saying he was "doing science." this is perfect because the character only did a few "scientific" things and went the rest of the movie as a lumberjack or cook would have.
I feel the same way about those who go to karate classes once or twice a week and become very involved in the practice for an hour or two and then go right back into their very ordinary lives where they are a lumberjack or a cook. Someone observing this individual may not be able to tell that there is anything different about that person during the rest of the week, but on "karate night" they would notice a "dedicated" student of the arts.
we must never allow this to be us. We must be like the rock that tumbling down the river is beaten upon and cleaned so as to become smooth. We must let our experiences in the dojo extend into all aspects of our lives, especially in the way we treat others, but also in the way we do everything else. do math as a karate-ka would! Incorporating your martial practice into your daily life may seem awkward at first, but with practice it will become second nature and with time it will become a part of who you are.