Searching out the hidden secrets of Martial Arts by Mireille Clark

The Tenth precept of Sensei Gichin Funakoshi states:

"10. Put your everyday living into karate (put karate into everything you do) and you will find "myo" (the subtle secrets, the ideal state of existence, exquisite beauty)."

How many fervent Martial Artists are seeking for the hidden secret, or technique that will give them the advantage over their opponent?

I believe that have found these secrets thanks to the hint given by Sensei Funakoshi, and the good training provided by my Sensei. It's in consistency of application, and awareness of possibilities that come from every day life.

A beginner in the Arts might see a mid-level punch as just a thrusting out of power into their opponent using their fist, but someone who has done the same movement over and over suddenly sees other possibilities that stem out from their accumulated life experience. The "punch" transforms into various other effective attacks depending on where, when, and how it is sent.

I have learned that the hidden secrets are actually simple to understand once they are revealed, and very easy to do, but demand that body knowledge earned through good solid experience. Without the right muscle and movement development, achieving success with the advanced techniques is rare.

There has to be a real mental/physical commitment into the techniques that are made to start to build up that body experience. This is where you will start to feel the possibilities, and recognize the weight shifts. It also makes each movement extremely tiring, challenging, and demanding. Ten minutes of training may now sap you of all energy because you are pouring forth your body, mind, and spirit into each strike/block.

"You may train for a long time, but if you merely move your hands and feet and jump up and down like a puppet, learning Karate is not very different from learning a dance. You will never have reached the heart of the matter; you will have failed to grasp the quintessence of karate-do."
- Gichin Funakoshi

You have to put your whole self into each technique. Do not allow your mind to go numb because this is the 30th middle punch that you sent.. wake up, and feel the changes of that moment. Now that your body is tired, is it moving differently? Is your arm flying out rather than straight? Are you using your feet, legs, hips, back, and shoulders in that technique? or is it all of your concentration focusing in your fist? Is your breathing coordinating with your effort, or hindering you? Where is your weight going?

Also, you have to look at how do you move during the time that you aren't training? Are you holding good posture as you work, walk, rest to help your body stay fit, and healthy? Those few hours of training help to boost your body, but it is what you do the rest of the time that will dictate how much success you have in keeping that positive effect. Good daily posture can ward off health issues such as headaches, back pain, foot pain, digestive problems, etc.

"Most people do not realize how important posture is. Posture related pain ranges from the most common low back pain, shoulder and neck pain to frequent headaches and TMJ dysfunction. Bad posture is a downward spiral because your body typically compensates for bad posture with worsening posture. Your lower body posture changes too, and when you start walking around with bent knees, you really look prematurely old, and probably feel it as well. You probably wouldn't connect bad posture and anxiety, but they connect through changes in breathing patterns. Bad posture can cause GERD (reflux) symptoms, constipation and other functional problems. " taken from

If you actually need to defend yourself, you would want your body to have good posture so that you can have good balance. It is in the everyday constant training at home, and at work that you teach your body to hold itself, and strengthen those posture controlling muscles to achieve that goal. It's in how you sit, and walk everyday.

Are you conscious of your environment, and aware of what is happening around you, and how to take advantage of each moment? Karate training lives in the "now". We cannot worry about the pain that happened when the person struck us just a moment before, nor fear the pain of what will happen if that kick hits, we have to focus on what is coming at us now, and handle it as best as we can with the skills that we have accumulated. This experience helps us to calm down, and face each moment with confidence, and decision. We know that we will make it through, and that each choice that we make will help us learn how to do it more effectively. If we apply this to our daily choices, we can deflect the negative impacts of our home/work environment. We give each moment it's own attention, and do not allow past negativeness, or future fears to control us.

Martial Arts training is like a doorway to seeing ourselves, and our goals truthfully. The more that we invest ourselves into what we do, the more we reveal the hidden depths contained in that activity.

Related Links

--Traditional Taekwondo Techniques, Patterns, and Applications at the Traditional Taekwondo Blog. [Subscribe using email or RSS feeds] [Tkd Sitemap]. Colin is a martial art instructor with 35 years of experience across three continents. Colin leads a small Traditional Taekwondo group for adults in Perth, Western Australia. Connect with Colin on FaceBook and Traditional Taekwondo Group on FB.


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