Why is a tree the symbol of this course?
Trees have some attributes, that appeared to me as beautiful metaphors for the topic of this course. A tree has invisible, deep roots, that allow it to stand upright in the midst of a storm. These invisible roots are your preparedness, the hard work, you put into your training, your mindset, your skill level and experience.
The flexible, but solid physique of a tree equals your own physique and psyche. In a storm, which could be a verbal or physical attack, the tree gets into movement, but doesn´t leave it´s upright stance. I want you to become a strong and solid tree: when the storm of aggression hits you in every possible way. Stay calm, stay solid, stay upright, don´t become broken or disrooted.
The way of karate is a way of peace. We train all kinds of defences, attacks, dangerous and often deadly techniques. At the same time there is no first attack. This course covers several aspects of karate-do, that often don´t find a place in normal training in the dojo. While the training in the dojo focuses on a correct technique, skills, endurance, speed etc., I want to give you also a guidance for your internal work. With proper internal and external development, the karate-path guides you to a very peaceful life, that can´t be attacked so easy by external factors.
The pure training of technique is a way of the empty mind (mushin). You see and copy the movement patterns at first, later, through countless repetitions, these movement patterns become a kind of second nature, you perform them with an empty mind – no thoughts or distractions, just yourself being one with the kata, technique or even with your sparring partner. When there is too much ´thinking´ in a fight and you want to apply one certain technique, you will likely fail. So considering this, karate is already an internal and external practice. Some people only manage to focus on the external part and struggle all the time with “doing it right”. Neglecting your inner dimension can become a self sabotage over time, especially when they get into a real fight. Applicable karate training must be integral.
We train three states of mind in karate-do: zanshin (alertness, awareness), mushin (empty/clear mind) and fudoshin (emotional balance).
When karate grows from being a leisure activity to a true way of life, more aspects of yourself are to be integrated in your training. You will have to deal with former experiences of violence, mobbing, humilation etc. and your own tendency to be driven by (destructive) emotions. Some wounds will heal, some will need care.
Moving on with karate-do requires an integration of all your aspects instead of neglecting or suppressing them. There won´t be a karate here and your life there, it becomes one.
Through the full path of karate, you gain a life of freedom and peace. Situational awareness, mindfulness, being fully present and getting your fears managed – doesn´t that sound like the way to a fullfilled life?