“A change is good as a rest.”
Perhaps this stands true in a number of facets of life, but it doesn’t really fit traditional Shotokan. In our Martial Art we have the fundamentals, the steadfast building blocks of a solid, complete fighting system that has been passed down since the days before Karate came to Okinawa and then on to mainland Japan. Karate became an eclectic mix of the best components of all the fighting styles that came to the shores of Okinawa.
Karateka in those days trained six or seven days a week. They trained oftentimes one-on-one with a Master, or in a small group. Perfection was a moving target and their pursuit of it was relentless. Karate was honed, hardened where necessary and softened where they saw fit, to become something that worked. In its origin it was drenched in the Budo spirit and was used to defend against adept, armed warriors.
Since those days techniques have been polished perhaps, but never fundamentally changed. My Kata is essentially the same as Matsumura Sensei’s was in the early 1800s. With a karate lineage forged in the steel of the relentless pursuit of excellence, the only thing I’m thinking about changing is me.
My hope is to evolve into someone that resembles the Karateka before me… nothing more.