Regardless of our differing approaches, experiences and viewpoints on Karate, the art has so many valuable lessons to offer us all. But… Only if we have the humility to take them on board.
I have had a few people of late asking me my thoughts on different teachers, schools and their training methods. Why this is I am little unsure as in truth I prefer to just concentrate on my own Karate, maybe they presume that I am going to be critical of a Karate that is different to my own or whose basis isn’t traditional or modelled on that of Okinawa or Japan. Whereby in reality nothing could be further from the truth. Yes, I am a firm believer in that “Good Karate is Good Karate”, regardless of school or style.
“If you live a good life and be a nice person, you will also attract and become surrounded by nice people also”. Meitoku Yagi
Karate as an art has many elements to it, some of which have travelled well, others not so, other parts have been modified to suit and beyond recognition. Now if we put the type of Karate training that goes on inside a particular Dojo-Gym-Kwon-Hall to one side, then what do we see and have? Well… What I have always liked about Karate generically be it traditional, sport based or whatever, is that in most cases it will not only improve peoples wellbeing it will also surround you with nice decent people. A Karate that gets people motivated and life disciplined whilst improving ones mental and physical state as in happiness and fitness has got to be a good thing. A doctors heaven as far as good wellbeing and preventative medicine goes.
I will always remember these words spoken by Cyril Cummins Sensei many years go “I always make sure that when students leave my Dojo, that they feel good about themselves because they have worked hard”. At the time I never really got it, but now I see it clearly.
Some of you may feel that all of this is irrelevant and that effectiveness or a more correct Karate and such teachings are more relevant. However, if one is totally honest about what one is teaching, or training in anyway, then in some ways thus can be more relevant!? If you’re teaching Karate as a sport or a family pass time then that is what you are doing, as long as you are up front and honest here. Surrounding ourselves with nice decent positive people in our lives is of major importance to us all, and in most cases being a part of what a Karate Dojo or club gives us.
Now to add to my case, no one is going to convince me that drug dealers, thugs, bullies, thieves, or local violent trouble causers are nice decent people! No, because they are not! And no one is going to convince me otherwise, and those that think so or glorify things wouldn’t say so if say it was their daughter that such people got hooked on crack cocaine or it was their frail old grandad who went shopping and got robbed and his face smashed in. Because such people are not nice and decent as all they do is destroy and ruin peoples lives.
There will always be the exception to the rule and we all probably know of the odd Karate Ka who fits in to the above category too. Generally though people like this don’t like doing positive things or being surrounded by good, because it’s not big or cool and it’s too much like hard work. This is why in most cases Karate and the Martial Arts is a place where by positive, motivated and happy people can usually be found, be they adults and children alike. So training differences aside it’s always 100% for effort as on the whole I’ve met some really nice decent people over the years through training in the Martial Arts, and long may that continue, where by this engraining and surrounding of the good in life, is a way more important lesson than any fighting technique that can ever be taught to us.