Monthly Archives: December 2017


So, whats in a Karate move? Energy. And according to Sensei Power its ‘mmmPA!!!!’

One thing is the control and flow of energy: where and when to expend it while always keeping it churning. I used to do Kata like every move was a Kiai, exhausting myself after a single Kata during a grading. Inside I  knew it didnt make much sense – not much point in all the good karate in the world if after a few moves you’re exhausted. But the old thinking was that good karate was exemplified by physical strength.

Kata, I now believe is a series of energy flares on a continuum or a timeline. At YOI it is elevated (the ‘mmmmmmm’ gutteral feeling) and then it is maintained throughtout the sequences, with more emphasis of energy on technuiques ( the ‘PA!!!’ explosion).

Energy has to be maintained during transitions and slower waza (energy as in intention eleveated and forward moving). Dropping your energy opens you up.

The continuum I believe is Zanshin – ‘remaining mind’ or continued awareness.

I’m still working my way through all of this and to help I came up with a visual:

Energy Wave

We’re fortunate that we have Sensei who understand this stuff and can pass it on…



The Karate Tree

The “Tree of Life,” a symbol of immortality; a tree grows old, yet it bears seeds that contain its very essence and in this way, the tree becomes immortal. Seeds pass on the genetic makeup of the tree itself. It remains ‘rooted in the earth, reaching for the stars.’

A mature tree grows in such a way as to not waste energy, it grows in humility, although at specific times its colors are brilliant.  Strong against the storm, it is steadfast in simply living.

Enter karate.

Tree of LifeMy daughter, Claire, made me this Tree of Life, and in thinking about it, it raises important questions. What’s in my tree of life? Am I passing on anything of value? Am I still growing?

I feel I am still growing and Karate is a vehicle for that.

Karate is a mind, body and spirit methodology. Physically it keeps us strong, and helps us learn to move with fluidity. It helps us learn to project our very character into our living (good and bad). I’m not certain karate always actually builds character, but it certainly helps one explore it.

It helps us develop a way of maintaining a clear mind and focused concentration. This, I think, is a substantial part of my Tree of Life – part of a fascinating journey.

Karate, like Claire’s tree, reminds us that although we need to stay rooted, we need to keep growing. In the Dojo we need to keep at it until that kata is ‘just right for me,’ or until we get our breath and movement working together like wind and wings.

In life, no matter the age, I believe we need to just keep moving, staying mindful on the journey.