Karate ‘Tight Lines’

May be a bit of a stretch, but karate can be a bit like fishing: hesitation or unaware time can cost you.

It took me a while to get the knack of setting the hook on a trout that hit my bait, especial


At 82, my father understands how being alert catches fish!

ly when trolling the big lakes and pond for bigger fish. You have to be alert, always in the zone – ready to react. With a relatively long line out behind the boat there can be no hesitation before or after the nibble or strike. Hesitate after the fish hits the line and you miss it, hesitate or give him slack line after you hook it and it’s gone: it’s all about being aware and being alert.

Karate is no different. The first one is obvious, hesitate in combat and you miss your opportunity to defend or to attack. As the Samurai understood, hesitation is death.

Similar to hesitating, or giving a fish slack line after you hook it, if there is any sort of indecision or even a micro-pause after a technique, you are creating an opening for your opponent.

Through video scrutiny with Sensei Power, my slack line sometimes comes in the form of a slight outward front foot turn when moving forward, or a very slight foot drag after moving. Either way, there is a break in the flow of the technique, detracting from its effectiveness and its strength.

To take the analogy further, awareness in karate is like your line when fishing, slightly taut but not tight, with no interruption in you physical or mental attentiveness.

As my father reminds me when I get a salmon on my line: “Easy and Steady…Soft hands, now…”

You have to find your own zone, I believe…