Karate-do in daily life
WSKF India Senior Instructor
Karate-do is a martial art for the improvement of character through hard, rigorous training. As the body is tempered in the fire of relentless training, the mind becomes calm, composed, focused and the spirit awakened and sublime. This is the highest level or ‘kyo-ku’, the zenith of all-round development.
A karate-ka is respected not only for his technical skill but more importantly for his behavior, attitude and character. The 5 cardinal principles of karate do, as enshrined in Funakoshi Sensei’s immortal book ‘Karate-Do Kyohan’ are –
Kameanagi Takeaki Shihan, 9th Dan, WSKF President, during the course of an interview with the author of this article said - ‘ Ability of self control is real karate-do.’ These 5 cardinal principles form the bedrock or foundation on which the behavior and attitude of a karateka in life rests.
A karateka should be an early riser. This time should always be dedicated to training. As the body and mind becomes refreshed after hard training, the karateka is ready for the day’s rigors with a smiling face. When most other people are yawning lazily and limping out of bed, the karateka has already started the day in right earnest, be it academics, household or office work. All of the indomitable Karate greats always underline the value of daily training, especially at dawn.
He then goes out for school or college or office, since discipline is his basic trait and leadership his forte, the karateka fights and shines through the day—queuing up at bus stops, being courteous and polite with colleagues, putting in full focus and commitment in his duties etc. He uses his kime to the maximum extent. He is rarely stressed out or tired of responsibilities and duties, but faces all odds with a smile, always ready for more. This combative attitude, this positive outlook wins him a covetable place in the work place. He is a natural leader, showing the way (Do). He never indulges in office politics, he is impervious to fault finding with others, he is a strong optimist and has an unending reserve of positive energy (ki). The karateka knows and demonstrates an overpowering spirit (Kihaku) and is fully committed in his /her work. This unconquerable spirit acts as a vital force in his daily life.
The day ends, our karateka returns home, back to his family. Now he maintains balance- devotes time to the family- parents, wife, kids. He performs his duties towards the family, here also he emerges as a loved and respected person. As night falls, the karateka finishes off all personal pending work, household duties, studies, etc. He answers to e-mails, studies an inspirational book or a martial art movie for inspiration and strength. Some karatekas may end the day by practicing a favorite kata. He derives internal peace ‘heiho’ and oneness with his surroundings.
A few quiet moments are spent in introspection, self review, a silent prayer and a desire to develop further the next day. The karate-ka observes the saying – Ichi nichi Isshyo , which means ‘ each day a new life’. A fight towards better behavior, attitude, efforts, self-control --- a fight where perfection is the goal, character is the motto, a quest to assume more efforts, responsibilities, duties, compassion and leadership.
The karateka has demonstrated good bunkai (understanding and application) of karate principles and techniques and has sought to subdue his greatest enemy – himself. He has shown spirit, efforts, balance and character in all his actions throughout the day.
The ultimate objective of Karate-do, as with all martial arts, is to develop a better human being. Karate practitioners have to remember and continuously adhere to the dojo kun and demonstrate them in their daily life. This ensures that they contribute value to the society and towards world peace and solidarity. The old masters like Chojun Miyagi sensei or Funakoshi sensei were seen as role models in their times, the legacy continues with modern masters who have carved out a distinct place for themselves among their followers, both inside and outside the dojo.
I remember my own experiences of training and interacting with masters – Senseis Okazaki, Kanazawa, Kasuya, Yahara, Demura, Koyama, Yaguchi, Mikami, Takashina, Omura, Sasaki et al and appreciate deeply their charismatic personality and the positive impact they have made in my life in terms of dedication, determination, discipline and other traits.
Concluding in the words of the legendary Masahiko Tanaka Shihan, 8Th Dan, JKA –
· The greatest fight is the fight with oneself.
· The way to success has no abbreviation.
Let us all adopt these golden words into our daily life and contribute value to society and humankind ensuring a better world in the years to come.
About the author - Sensei Arijit Chakraborty (31 years) holds a 4th Degree Black Belt in Shotokan Karate and has trained under top Masters in Japan and other countries. He is a Chartered Accountant, Certified Internal Auditor, and Information Systems Auditor, holds an MBA in Finance and completed his Advanced Management Program from Harvard Business School. He has authored several articles and books on Karate-do and also on Audit and Risk Management making him one of the youngest authors in the world in this specialized area.