I learned something, or at least formed a new opinion today about Karate". My husband has a karate school in Northfeild NH, and I myself have been studying with him for over three years. One thing that always stood out from the tournements we attended, and other style demonstrations; is how "mean" and "angry" and "loud" everyone is. Even other Uechi-ryu people I have seen, have this kind of "approach with aggression look" shall we say.
That being said- I had to go teach the classes for my husband since he got ill... I'm studying for my black belt, and jumped at the chance to teach. Durring "our" teenager class one of the students had a friend observing the class. Now I ran class a little diffrently than I've seen other "real" Sensei's- I let their own flow of light-hearted energy, guide the class- it was an outlet to connect with them- without being so nervous myself. I found that the more "easy-going" and lighted hearted I became, the more intuned their focus was- when I had it- then if I badgered and threatened pushups and or silent respect. One of my more timid students eyes brightened knowing that I wasn't their to kill him, I was there to help him, help himself. Confidence.
After this class the young man's friend laughed at his friend's (the students') light-hearted-ness commenting, "You should just be lucky you're not in a real dojo".. Now he was within reaching distance and before I knew I had a hold of his arm, laughing with him for a momment and saying" did you just say that out loud right in front of me" He stammered a moment and said that- "I meant that if he'd (indicating his student friend) be like that in like my old dojo he would've gotten knuckle push-ups or something- my Sensei never would have put up with that." My reply was, "do I have to be mean or intimidating to teach self defense? Does that make sense?" I let him go- laughing agian. But it really got me thinking.. In our daily lives, for most of us anyway- we do not hear other people's "spirit's" screaming bloody-murder about what they should be doing. Take for example Sameri movies- even most American movies- when there's a bd guy and a good guy getting ready to duke it out- persay... one guy is always swing'in his weapon around making all kinds of noise- and the other guy is just standing there waiting for the other one to do something. You know who's gonna win- the guy in "control" shall we say "of" his spirit. Say you are in class- and your Sensei demands respect using "force" in an emotional sense. Do we want to be teaching the techniques of "self-defense" with exactly what we could use those same techniques to "save" ourselves from?. I guess the "opinion" I formed or lesson I learned, would be that I don't think that our "spirit -in-karate" always needs to be shown by looking/acting fierce about it. There is a place for that fiercness, and it should be taught; but I don't think it goes as far in being a technique in "the teaching of" karate.
That is where I'd find confidense, by being in control "of" my anger, or "of" my fear, knowing I could handle it, or most of it. Having a threatening or intimidationg Sensei wouldn't do that. Respecting my Sensei, and even myself for that matter, comes from being respect-"ed".
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