Shotokan Tiger

113583797A solid, low stance, even in linear movement. Muscles tense, torqued and ready to spring the body forward as a unit in attack or parry. Outward appearance sharp and aware but not anxious or tense. Internal strength churning like the escalating energy of a revving engine..

I like how this description can fit Shotokan or the tiger: hard and soft, aesthetic and strong all in one.

The tiger symbolizes the keen alertness of the wakeful tiger and the serenity of the peaceful mind which Master Funakoshi experienced while listening to the pine waves (i.e. shoto in Japanese) on Tiger’s Tail Mountain.

Hassel, R. G., Shotokan Karate, It’s History and Evolution

tigerWhen Funakoshi wrote the Tora No Maki (official document of a style) of Shotokan Karate, his friend and famous artist of the time, Hoan Kosugi created the now famous Shotokan Tiger for the cover. The tiger symbolizes the constant awareness of Karate and the peaceful mind which Funakoshi expressed as imperative to the mindset of the Karateka in everyday life.

There are plenty of training session where I don’t resemble anything close to a tiger in the Dojo, but I love that fact that I don’t have to look far to see those that do. In some Karateka, the strength, fluidity, agility and power are impressive. In this sense, seeing is indeed believing.

Keep your mind clear, your Karate heart on fire.