I have had many a conversation with Senaha Sensei regarding his training of old on Okinawa. What he often mentions is that back then you didn’t ask the Sensei questions, a lot of the older teachers didn’t even like questions. Karate was taught through following along, being corrected, and working things out for yourself through regular hard training. 

Strangely enough my own Father would also often say to me “Glyn go away and work things out for yourself.”  Similarly, there are still many Okinawan and Japanese Karate Sensei who are well known for making students figure things out for themselves and will not spoon feed them everything. What this does is not only propagate maturity, but it also brings out a natural feeling for what feels correct or not when it comes to Karate. Discoveries made through one’s own mind and seen with your own eyes are always way more valuable than through those of another. As serious Karate Ka we need to research and discover through both quality guidance combined with regular training, but most of all this needs to be done by yourself.

When you are crossing a busy road would you just walk out without looking or concentrating? Of course not! So next time you practice Kata keep your head up and look just before you move to see what may be there first, even be it imaginary. In Kumite always stay focused on your opponent until things are completed, just as you would do during confrontation. You should always remain focused. This is gaining a Karate understanding…

When using your stances or Dachi, remember that if your posturing is poorly aligned or practiced too long in depth, then over a period of time you are going to do damage to ligaments, tendons or joints. Moving around should be seen as a natural healthy bodily function through transition, things should never be unnatural. Good Karate that has been understood will have a balanced compromise between stability and mobility when it comes to stances. Again you need to feel and find this out for yourself.

When someone throws a punch at your head or body during a confrontation, are you just going to let it land on your jaw or ribs? Well then, just as good Karate Kihon or Kumite teaches you, you either put something in the way, or you get out of the way. You cover, you move, you smoother or you strike. Or a variety of these going on in unison, as this is how a Karate Ka will come to understand the true meaning of how to receive or Uke. Being hit a few times would make you figure this one out for yourself for sure.

A Sensei with wisdom will show us the way, but as students and Karate Ka we need to learn, discover and experience Karate for ourselves.