Monday, February 28, 2011

SHOTO NIJU KUN #14: In conflict you must discern the vulnerable from invulnerable points(Tattakai wa kyo-jitsu no)

(Credit) By: Master Teriyuki Okazaki; Reprinted from the ISKF Spotlight ISKF Newletter

Here Master Funakoshi is saying that you have to recognize that opposites are two sides of the same thing. You cannot have one without the other. In every situation in karate, as well as in life, there are opposite forces around you all at once. The key is to be able to distinguish one from the other. And you can only do that with an open mind.

Kyo is open jitsu is closed. Although these terms connote opposites, one is impossible without the other. And often, one appears to be the other. For example,
shizentai looks like kyo, when in fact it is jitsu. Likewise, aggressiveness looks like jitsu but it can be kyo. You have to know what you're seeing, and be aware as the situation before you changes. The ability to do so comes from experience.

As I have already said many times: the key is balance. First, you have to have
inner balance; then you can have balance in the way you deal with the outside world. In terms of karate, this means that when you go in with an attack, always be ready to
defend. And when you defend, always have a mind to attack. Be ready for any necessity. Again, using kyo and jitsu requires good balance, both physically and mentally.

Master Funakoshi said, "Calm yourself so you can see in all situations. And when you
can see an opportunity take it immediately." If you see a target in an opponent, a
physically "open" place, that is finding kyo. But remember that it is possible that your opponent may not really be vulnerable. He may be giving you an opening. He may be saying, "Come on, attack." To be able to see what his true intentions are, be still, be ready. If you see an opponent's kyo and you cannot move, you're finished. Kyo and jitsu are two sides of the same coin. And if you see kyo, be aware of jitsu. It might be a trap.

That's why Master Funakoshi said you must understand what is kyo and what is jitsu. They are essentially the same thing, just front and back sides. So how do we learn to distinguish between the two? We learn from experience, from training. In training we can take a chance and not be worried about the consequences. Just take a chance. Why not? That way you get experience. Three hundred years ago I would not have said that, because back then, if you lost, you might have lost your life.

But now we can be more open. We have designed our training methods so that the student can have more opportunities to learn how to develop a sixth sense. If you're always worried about Three hundred years ago I would not have said that, because back then, if you lost, you might have lost your life. But now we can be more open. We have designed our training methods so that the student can have more opportunities to learn how to develop a sixth sense. If you're always worried about going in, you will never learn what can happen. You will not know what it is to see an opening, or to see the danger. You cannot tell what will happen. Only experience can help the body learn to react. And that is important, because in a self-defense situation, you probably won't have any time to think. The way to see what is really going on-to see the opposites for what they are you have to have a clear mind. It is through a clear mind that your "sixth sense" is able to discern kyo from jitsu, and to furthermore see the one in, as part of, the other.

In life, we tend to see things as "good" and "bad." We judge life, rather than see it
for what it is. When we do that, we miss opportunities, and we make ourselves vulnerable. Judging is a function of the ego, not pure consciousness. Judgement is like a cloud, concealing reality, because when we judge, we fail to see the other side of things-and there is always another side. Let me share a couple of examples, so you can see what I mean. Sometimes, what you think of as a "bad thing" is in fact an opportunity to learn, to test yourself, to grow as a person. Say you experience some kind of loss. Because of that loss, you will feel some kind of suffering.
But as virtually every religion and mythology reminds us, it is through suffering
that a person is often inspired to make positive changes within, to relieve that suffering.

What I mean by this is that, when you suffer, you are more likely to take steps
to free yourself from your egoistic mind. And in doing so, you make progress toward
experiencing mushin, or "no mind." You learn to accept things as they are, which is
what you need to do to experience inner peace. And there is nothing in life better,
more valuable, than inner peace. So a "bad thing" happens, you suffer-but then you grow! Thus you gain a benefit from what you judged to be a "bad thing."

That "bad thing" was in fact a "good thing" for you. Do you understand? Similarly, something "good" might happen to you. Say you win the lottery. You would consider
that a good thing. But say all that money, over time, made you lazy? What if
you began to desire material things more because now, you had access to them?
More and more your life would be focused on things outside of you, and thus your
inner growth would cease-in which case, I assure you would become unhappy. I use
this particular example because it has been documented that people who have won the
lottery, after getting over the initial euphoria of "not having money problems," in fact are more unhappy with their lives than they were before they won. What you considered a "good thing" turned out to be a very "bad thing."

This is what Master Funakoshi warns us about. Be able to tell opposites from one
another, and be able to see one as being part of the other. You need inner balance to recognize, and deal with, these constantly changing opposites. And you can only seereality for what it is with an open mind.

ISKF Master Camp 2011

The 45th Anniversary ISKF Master Camp and International Goodwill Tournament will be June 10th - June 17th, 2011. Once again this special camp will be held at Camp Green Lane, Green Lane, Pennsylvania USA. Every year is special as it is the only week-long Shotokan training camp taught by the world's most famous Shotokan masters. This
year we will have instruction from Master's Teruyuki Okazaki - ISKF Chief Instructor, Yutaka Yaguchi - ISKF/USA, Hideo Ochi - JKA/Europe, Masaru Miura - SKI-I/Italy and Shunsuke Takahashi - TSKF/Australia. Assisting them will be members of the esteemed high-ranking ISKF Technical Committee.

The ISKF welcomes Shotokan organizations from all countries to join the International Shotokan Karate Federation. Please direct any inquiries for membership to or call us directly at: 215.222.9382.

Congratulations New Black Belts

Austin Shotokan Karate is pleased to congratulate Randy O'Brien, Simon DuMortier, and Valentin Panayatov for passing the examination for Shodan (first degree Black Belt) at this weekend's training seminar in Houston. Shodan means "first," so that passing this exam means that they have taken the first step of a life-long journey. Training continues tomorrow night at the dojo at Austin Recreation Center.

Scott Monroe