“If you’re going to be involved in a confrontation, be righteous.”
That was Sensei Lee answering a question last night from a white belt about when it is ‘ok to fight.’ In essence, his reply was that it is best to walk away, but when you cannot, then you must commit.
“There are reasons and situations where you cannot walk away: when the safety of a loved one is in danger; where your own safety is in danger; where a stranger is in need of your help; where the liberty of a human being is jeopardized. Those, I believe are righteous causes.”
He went on to clarify that once you have made the decision that you must stand up for yourself or for another person, you commit – your goal is simple: to end it all suddenly, to end it all fast.
Shotokan, he said, is a never-back-up Martial Art that, when mixed with intention and determination, is very difficult to defend against.
He concluded “I will teach you to fight. You have to balance that with a positive attitude and a solid character.”
I stood there thinking that the questions from the junior belts are often the most valuable…
In Issue 102 of Shotokan Magazine Sensei Bob Remington (pictured below) listed these as components of Body Awareness:
Five Attributes of Body Awareness:
- Maintain a vertical centerline
- Move from the center
- Stay relaxed
- Keep the weight toward the center
- Extend intention
As a Black Belt looking forward to my Nidan testing, the one thing that I am working on in perpetuity is body connection, and a technique to develop and test body connection is the gyaku-tsuki (reverse punch).
Last night before class, I was practicing a few reverse punches on-the-spot when Sempai Howse came over. He didn’t say anything at first; he just got into a front stance and went slowly through the mechanics of the technique. He did a couple slowly, and then did one or two full-speed to show how it all comes together.
Between punches, he’d tap his lower belly with the fingers of both his hands to indicate core engagement. Then he would put his hand together like an arrow and push them out from the area just below his belly button (Hara area) to show where the energy was coming from and going (from the center and outward via both power and intention). Then he would ride his draw arm back and forth, tight to his Gi just above his belt, to show that the punch was linear and coming from the body – not the shoulder. The only word he said was ‘under’ as he demonstrated this in order to remind me that a punch comes from your core, under your shoulder, and no from the shoulder. Finally, he would touch his forehead to remind me about posture: head back, weapons out.
In no more than four or five words he covered the list above from Sensei Remington.
Moral: Karate concepts are deep. Telling a Karateka how to do something is useful; showing them is vital.