Over the years I have taken more than my fair share of photos that have centred around both my travels and involvement in Karate, and these are always great to look back over. A true understanding of both life and Budo though, will only come about through deep, honest, meaningful experiences. Not photo opportunities, as there is a difference. These days it certainly seems too easy for anyone to present a vision, impression or photograph that many fail to see through, with the truth being rarely captured. Especially so when it comes to one’s Karate training. As even just a few photographs taken alongside a renowned teacher, may just give the impression that one has received many hours or years of deep inside teachings. Where those many hours and years of serious training envisioned, could more honestly calculate to little relevant time at all. 

The photograph presented above is one that is special to me, not because of how I look in it of course lol. But solely due to all the fellow Karate Ka that I share their company. This a photo of serious Karate Ka coming together for training, be they Okinawan, American, Cuban, Canadian or English. Within there is of course my Sensei, as in Senaha and Tamaki Sensei’s. My Dojo Senpai’s as in Babladelis, Lyons and East Sensei’s. Plus, five of my U.K. Students too. But more importantly than any of this, it is a photo of Karate morality that was take after a really hard training session together. And I can say with honesty, that if I could possibly somehow add up all of the combined hours that I’ve spent with those present, it would no doubt add up into the thousands. The memories, the sweat, the odd drop of blood and laughter shared too, has all been nothing less than invaluable and an honour.

Talking of thousands, there is a well-known saying that goes like this “A picture/photo is worth a thousand words.” Sorry but not anymore I’m afraid, and especially when it comes to Karate or the Martial Arts. With the old World Wide Web, self promoting social media, and now with mind throwing AI, times have changed and all is not always as it seems, so remember this as it will hold you well. And as serious students of Karate we must be honest with others, but more importantly honest with ourselves.

Yes of course photos are great, I love them. Senaha Sensei does too and has hundreds of them in his collection, he says that they are a way of capturing memories forever. We are in times where we now have to be more wise in how we interpret things.

In my next Blog Post, I will talk about just a few of the invaluable lessons that I have learned over the years from my three Senpai mentioned above. Senpai who not only led from the front and by example, but those whose path is about gaining a deeper understanding for other fellow Karate Ka to be guided by. With an undistracted focus that is, and always has been, about genuine and serious training in the Art of Karate.