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Why Does it Matter?

Some of the words and expressions used in our training get repeated so often we begin to lose sight of their true meaning.

"Step First" - These two words make up the very basis of our karate discipline. "Step first" describes the mechanics, but more importantly, it exemplifies the philosophy. One must be positioned, aligned and rooted before delivering any technique. This is as true in the martial arts as it is in our own lives, personal and professional. "Step First" is more than just a rote movement. If you meditate on its meaning, it transcends the physical movement and becomes the foundation of the energy we need to do what we do.

"Karate is a life-time marathon" - The path to achieve perfection is never over. We never stop learning; we never stop experiencing; we never stop making modifications and adjustments. It is only when we cease to be open to these experiences that we fail - that we lose the race. Throughout our training we will have down times - when work, family or health keeps us out of the dojo. But the spirit of the karate stays with us. The marathon continues even during these times. People will ask me, "How long did it take to achieve black-belt status? My stock answer: "Why does it matter?" 


"Warrior Spirit" - Many people assume this expression means having a "killer instinct." In my research, I found the following kanji expression: 

The kanji is translated as, "Following the spirit and wisdom of the warrior." The operative word is wisdom. Anyone can hurt - it takes the wisdom of the true warrior to heal.

"Moving Forward" - The heart and soul of our karate lives in this expression. We often hear this used to describe the "direction" of our movements, as in kata. But in truth, "moving forward" refers to the essence of our karate-do, through which we face challenges in our training, and adversity in our lives.


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