There is a word “YAIKI” in Japanese Archery. It mean the moment of arrows.
Even an arrow hits the target,we can see the way of hitting is bad or not.
You might think that if the arrow hits the target, the way of hitting is not so important.
However, if the arrow has bad “YAIKI”,the arrow can hit the target, but cannot go through an armour or board.
This can be applied to the techniques of KARATE. First class Karate Player’s techniques make people shudder by their speed, power, and control. Immature players can play with speed, but lack something.
Though they might get points, not to improve their techniques with thorough going practices. This is same as bad YAIKI, which lacks something essential in martial arts.
In sports, getting points tends to be considered important. Actually, many Karate instructors teach players how to “win” the match. However, although Karate has an aspect of Sports, It is yet based on the concept of BUDO, martial arts.
Karate is not about winning, the way of winning and the process of challenging a match is most important. In this process, players learn many things, not only technique but also mental toughness.
Doping issues and illegal acts by judges and players in Olympic games are a warped aspect of the doctrine of winning.
Now, let me talk about mentality. What makes YAIKI bad or good is the people’s minds.
if the person is in the state of spiritual darkness, YAIKI will be bad. In Karate, there is “test
splitting,” which is splitting a plank or stone in two by a hand. If you have anxiety or hesitation in your mind, you cannot split it because it acts brake on splitting a plank.
This is also same in KUMITE and KATA. Hesitation changes dynamics of WAZA (techniques). I myself, when I was young,
I always had to fight with the anxiety and hesitation my mind. As the strong desire to win makes my body inflexible, I could not display its ability and lost a lot. Even when I won a match, I could not win in an ideal way.
I played until the age of 40.I was released from the spiritual darkness at the age of 33.
Before the final match of World Championships, when I was planning strategies, suddenly I felt that I would leave the rest to providence as I did my best until today (actually I practiced about 10 hour/day for 2 month before the match).
Then I felt relived, and won in an ideal way in which my body worked involuntarily with disinterest in winning.
After that I continue to play until the age of 40 because I pursued this ideal spiritual moment. My main interest to play Karate is to play in this ideal way, not to win games.
in Karate, there are Kata (forms). Most of them are established in China, then introduced to Okinawa (Southern islands in Japan).
From old time, Karate players improved their techniques by practising these forms. Technique of Karate can be acquired by practising KATA. Recently, people tend to practice by KUMITE (fighting) to win game, and not to practice KATA. KATA is essence of Karate. In KUMITE, you can play only with combative instinct and quick relaxes without learning the forms and techniques. If someone practices only by KUMITE, he/she will not be able to play Karate over the age of 40.
By KATA, you can learn ideal balance, speed and breathing. Today, the era of games, Karate players tend to care how to show their playing style and forms beautifully using KATA,
in which real powerful punch and kick cannot be seen. On the other hand, it does not mean that can get beautiful KATA by getting only speed and power.
My purpose of practising KATA places great importance on the mental aspect. I can calm down myself before starting KATA, I try not to strain and relax myself (Zenshin) when I do forwarding KATA, maintaining dynamic status while performing static movement, and maintaining static status while conducting violent attack, to play KATA with senses of fulfilment and fight (Tsuushin) and to end with no idle thoughts, which is very difficult to achieve. (Zanshin)
I experienced this feeling only twice when I was competitor in games in the past.
I did not notice anyone even audience and judges, and my breathing was perfect in spite of the hard movements. I attained a spiritual state of perfect selflessness and it was great feeling. I practice Karate over 40 years almost every day and every time to achieve this feeling.
From my experience, I found that controlling myself is much more difficult that controlling opponents in the fight.
What I want to say is your mind moves and controls your body.
Finally, I would like to talk about REI (respect).
In martial arts, REI is considered very important. REI means respecting people. The significance of leaning Karate is this, especially for youth and children.
Off course, Karate is ideal sport which works to make youth and children’s body gain well-balance physique. However the most
important thing is that Karate gives children a sense of respect and confidence by possessing techniques.
Another important point is modesty. For Japanese, this modesty is very important.
Although this point might be difficult to understand for others in different cultures, this is the most important point in learning martial arts.
If you are too confident, you cannot see important things. If you consider you are immature, you can ask others for advice.
This is because Karate players bow before entering DOJO (training hall). In other word, they have to leave their pride and career outside of DOJO to learn everything modestly.
In Japan person who shows off his ability is regarded as uneducated and uncultured person. However, in some countries, displaying one’s ability is considered important.
This is a matter of cultural difference. I don’t know which is better.
Finally, the quintessence of sport combative is that when you face an opponent, you bow properly with respect, show combative instinct like animals with the voice of the judge HAJIME, fight with omniscience and omnipotence, come back to human being with the voice of judge announcing the end YAME, and then bow with modesty and respect regardless of defeat or victory.
This action is beauty of a martial arts.
World Shotokan Karate Federation