"The Author, it must be remembered, writes from his own standpoint!"
My personal "Interpretive" Lens!

Do You Have A Question?

If you have a question not covered in this blog feel free to send it to me at my email address, i.e. "snow" dot here "covered" dot here "bamboo" AT symbol here "gmail" dot here "com"

"One thing has always been true: That book ... or ... that person who can give me an idea or a new slant on an old idea is my friend." - Louis L'Amour

"Ideally, your self-defense will never get physical. Avoiding the situation and running or talking you way out - either of these is a higher order of strategy than winning a physical battle." - Wise Words of Rory Miller, Facing Violence: Chapter 7: after, subparagraph 7.1:medical

"Read not to contradict and confute; nor to believe and take for granted; nor to find talk and discourse; but to weigh and consider..." - Francis Bacon

Warning, Caveat and Note: The postings on this blog are my interpretation of readings, studies and experiences therefore errors and omissions are mine and mine alone. The content surrounding the extracts of books, see bibliography on this blog site, are also mine and mine alone therefore errors and omissions are also mine and mine alone and therefore why I highly recommended one read, study, research and fact find the material for clarity. My effort here is self-clarity toward a fuller understanding of the subject matter. See the bibliography for information on the books.

Note: I will endevor to provide a bibliography and italicize any direct quotes from the materials I use for this blog. If there are mistakes, errors, and/or omissions, I take full responsibility for them as they are mine and mine alone. If you find any mistakes, errors, and/or omissions please comment and let me know along with the correct information and/or sources.

Reader's of this Blog

Search This Blog

Is it the aim of karate to achieve perfection of character?

Blog Article/Post Caveat (Read First Please: Click the Link)

The old saying, source is always questionable but … , goes that traditionalist of Okinawan karate believe that “Kata” is the soul of karate.” Guess what, I am going to question these things in this article - surprise! surprise! :-)

First, what is the aim of karate? From my chair it ain’t the perfection of character although that goal is considered a part of the fourth fundamental principle of martial disciplines, the philosophy. Ultimately, the aim of karate is self-defense. Don’t assume the definition in this article is the one I tend to articulate through these articles as a modern form of self-defense. It is the aim of karate to provide humans a means to defending the self, i.e., the body and the mind since both are affected in violence, without weapons.

Consider this, since time began with human existence we humans have always sought out the use of weapons be it a stick or a modern missile launcher to do our battles with but on rare occasions the use of our bodies are needed. In some cultures they mandate individuals learn and apply such empty handed models as a pre-requisite to learning and using weapons. It may explain why karate, a solely empty handed model if you go by the naming convention, that also includes, at least as far as modern thinking, weapons such as the Bo, the Sai and the Kama, etc. as used on Okinawa.

Now, as to the perfection of character, it is NOT the aim of karate - that has been determined and articulated by the terse written word above - but rather a more philosophical addition brought about through the forced peace of Asia after World War II, etc. when the Japanese needed to find some other means to justify the continuance of Budo, a modern term itself, where the practice of a deadly system of combat could be accepted and still practiced to overcome an effort to force Japanese to discard any and all combative forms as perceived by the conquering Americans and the World at large. 

The essence and aim of karate as with any martial art is defense in a combative scenario with a preference for weapons as extensions of the human body. It is about brutal applications of physical techniques as guided by fundamental combat principles resulting in an adversary suffering grave bodily harm and even death to meet the goals of the practitioner and applicator of karate, etc.

The philosophical principles as appended to karate and other combat systems simply provides two things, first is a means to practice something considered deadly for other purposes more acceptable to a modern society averse to conflict and violence of that level while second, as a means of character development so if and when such expertise is applied in defense of self, family and tribe it remains a socially accepted means and level of force necessary to stop the threat and maintain safety, security and socially driven conditions toward group survival dynamics, etc. 

Finally, “Kata is the Soul of Karate,” is one of those maxims or meme’s that sounds really good and gives undefined reasons readily accepted to most in the study and practice of such a violent and dangerous discipline. It allows one to change the aim of karate toward a more recreationally driven sport oriented study and practice where one does not require exposure to conflict and violence except in the controlled safety oriented competitive model that has become sport karate. 

If kata is the soul of karate then it meets the requirement that its practice makes for the very essence or embodiment of a specified quality that is karate. In that narrow and precise view I would agree that kata along with other distinctive practices such as basics, hojo undo and kumite make a triad of disciplinary practices that do embody the very essence that makes karate, karate, regardless of whether for spiritual growth, physical and mental health and well-being or self-defense. 

Bibliography (Click the link)

1 comment:

  1. While not relevant to your article, you ought to research the tomoe mon that you've used as an illustration in your article. Very interesting. What do you see when you look at the mon? The dark 'propeller' or the white bits? When you put four symbols in their, as they do in some cultures, you end up with a stylised swastika