Further to my recent post on Karate modesty and humility I received rather a number of e mails. The responses interestingly enough were varied going from one extreme to the other. Even though I do wonder why this is, I must point out that I only write on here to give genuine Karate Ka food for thought. Over the years I have received many wise words and much good advice along the way whilst studying Karate, so my sharing of a few of these experiences may be both of interest to other serious Karate Ka, plus it gives a little something back. The thing that must be understood though is that Karate is a personal journey and the challenges to be faced are our very own.

Two bits of advice that I have received along the way that fit well here are. Firstly, by my Father who always used to say to me “Shut up and train”! Or if in everyday life he would say, “Stop talking about it and do it”!  Secondly, from Rick Jackson of the Shotokan Way who once said, “Karate is about destroying ego, not building it up”. Fine words spoken as I am sure most will agree!? However, one thing that I have learned over the years whilst studying Budo is that only the very few will take good advice… 

Personally, I always try and talk my Karate down to others as I see no benefit whatsoever in trying to talk it up. Have you practiced Karate for long Glyn? Just a few years… Are you a black belt? Something like that… Have you ever used your Karate in a fight? I try not to… I do this for many reasons, mainly because as I say Karate is my very own personal journey that needs much work in many areas for sure. So, I try to just share things with my Sensei, my seniors, my students, and those who have a common interest. Besides, if I got too carried away it would only take a few minutes of hard serious training alongside the likes of Tamaki Sensei, Sachio San or James East Sensei at the Honbu Dojo in Okinawa to bring me swiftly back down to earth. 

Even during the past week I have seen countless examples of Western Karate Ka talking their Karate up to impress others. There is the Karate Ka who has trained for a short spell in Okinawa, but is now pushing themselves as a leading authority on the Okinawan ways, when they are not. Thus, showing a clear lack of both ability and understanding. I find this sad on many fronts but mainly because those who dilute can distract and divert lots of serious Karate Ka away from receiving quality guidance and many of the true teachings that this wonderful art has to offer. 

Many years ago, I would read with enthusiasm and be in awe of the likes of Steve Arneil Sensei when he completed the 100-man Kumite challenge in Japan that was set by his teacher Mas Oyama. Both the training and test was arduous and severe to say the least, one that only a handful of Karate Ka would ever be capable of achieving. I was then keen to find out more, finding it hard to believe in fact, when I saw a posting that a seventy-year-old English Karate Ka had recently completed this very same challenge, with praise coming his way from far and wide. A few minutes later it was clear to see that this was not the true picture, but nothing more than a Karate Ka talking up their Karate. The impressions of one completing a formidable feat for all to look up to, was in fact no more than a case of Tip Tap Teacher Timmy. Yes! Talking their Karate up.

The Kyokushin way of practicing Karate is not for me, however I have full respect and admiration for those that practice this way, it’s tough for sure. So, I will leave you with some real footage of the above 100-man Kumite challenge faced by the New Zealand Karateka Judd Reid who admirably faced the challenge head on truly and honestly. One who has no need to talk their Karate up to impress…