Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Finding Ourselves through Karate

The other day the father of a student mentioned to me that he was impressed that students’ “real character” become apparent during Seichou Karate® class. I couldn’t agree with him more.

People come to Seichou Karate® for many different reasons. Some want to lose weight; some want to learn defend themselves; others are new to town and want to get into a group activity. These are all valid reasons and, in fact, Seichou Karate® welcomes any student who enrolls with a wholesome motivation.

However, by far the most interesting aspect and one of the most exciting facets of my life as a Seichou Karate® instructor is observing students refine themselves or discover a side of themselves that they never knew existed.

Free-fighting is one area in which students learn a lot about themselves because we punch and kick our partner and our partner punches and kicks us. Striking and being struck is unnatural and connects us with a primal need for survival. In this dynamic, newcomers confront new feelings and identify strengths that they never knew they possessed. The result is personal growth.

There are other opportunities for personal growth in Seichou Karate®. For example, every so often we get a new student who is an unusually fast learner. However, sooner or later, he bumps into a technique or movement pattern that is particularly challenging and – perhaps – frustrating. At that moment, he must let go of his inclination to race through the syllabus and, instead, take the instructor’s advice to slow down. By slowing the process down, he will master the troublesome technique and learn a valuable new skill that benefits him other areas of life. Again, the result is personal growth.

Here’s what fashion designer Yohji Yamamoto is getting from his karate training. We’d like to know what you’re getting out of your martial arts training. So, blog it out below. OSU!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Higher Side of Human Nature

Any sport in which the height of expression is characterized by the term “ground and pound” cannot be said to appeal to the higher side of human nature. So, why is it that so many people whom I like and respect (including some family members) love to watch ultimate fighting on TV?

It could be that they enjoy seeing two highly trained athletes pitted against each other in a contest that almost always ends with a convincing victory for one or the other. Or, perhaps, it’s cathartic to watch two human beings beating each senseless. Whatever their motivation, fans flock to MMA events in about 34 states where the professional events are sanctioned.

However, New York, one of the most important sports jurisdictions in the country, is NOT among them. This opposition dates to 1997 during the Pataki administration. At that time, UFC President Dana White applied for a license to promote MMA events in the Empire State, but Governor Pataki successfully blocked the application because he believed that MMA was “barbaric.”

Not one to take “no” for an answer, Dana White is back in New York this month to lobby the legislature to support his MMA application. This time, he’s got a powerful ally in current NY Governor Paterson who is desperate to close the state’s huge budget gap. The question in New York is whether budgetary concerns will outweigh the underlying moral dilemma that MMA presents. Namely, is it right to promote Roman gladiator-style pugilism.

The Marist Organization reports that New Yorkers do not support sanctioning MMA in their state. Read more here.

What do you think? Weigh in here at KarateMind, an official Seichou Karate blog for adults. OSU!