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6) Karate Training with Akamine Sensei - Okinawa 2019

Week 3
Sensei told me about a monk that came to Okinawa to pray for the restoration of its pristine waters and landscape. He was around the island for 6-8 years and Sensei would see him around the same place all the time. Finally he approached him and asked "what's the purpose of meditation (mokusō)? What do you think about?" His answer: the only point of meditation is to relax by thinking about nothing. We all have complex lives and go through our days with our minds filled with thoughts, the only common approach to stress relief available to anyone is to relax and let those thoughts go. So for him, the meditation is a time for the kids to seicho suru (grow up/make progress), through finding moments of quietude. The Wado classes also had a brief meditation at the end as we bow out. Some degree of meditation is present in almost all martial arts, and even back home, my Sensei Gary Matsumoto has incorporated lengthy meditation sessions into our warm-ups. In the pursuit of a healthy life, it’s equally important to balance physical and mental development. And that’s what karate’s real purpose is, he confides in me, encouraged by my report of how I’ve been paying attention to my posture. “Karate is to support a long, healthy life. It’s no good for it to be separate from your life, your training must make its way into everyday life in order to be of benefit.” Saturate your life with training.

赤嶺先生はお坊さんの話を思い出した。元々綺麗な島と純粋なお水のために沖縄に祈りに来て、8年間ぐらい同じ場所で祈っていた。ある日、先生が好奇心でお坊さんと話をした。黙想の目的はなんですかと聞かれると、「何も考えない。皆さんが毎日大変複雑な生活だから、頭も複雑な考えでいっぱいになる。ストレスを発散するために色んなアプローチがあるけど、ほとんどできるだけリラックスしてその考えを放すのだ。」先生にとって、瞑想は弟子達が静かに座って精神的に成長ができる機会だ。瞑想は武道と繋がっているようだ。名古屋の和道流のクラスも黙想で終わる。サクラメントでも、マツモト先生のクラスもワームアップの時に数分瞑想する。健康で長生きするために体だけじゃなくて、頭も精神的にも鍛えないと強い人間になれない。それは空手の本当の目的だって、健康な長生きをサポートするから、稽古は生活と別物じゃない。生活になるものだ。そうすると利点を感じる。稽古で人生を浸す。

Just like how the training is designed to match our abilities, he teaches us what we need to learn. For me, it's kihon and stances, but as I improve he opens up and gives me more. I feel like he's being generous with our training, he would be within his rights to give me Pinan or even kihon and keep me there until the next time I come back... Now we're going up to Passai Dai, and he's letting me swing around a staff a bit. If I’m lucky we’ll get to Naihanchi kata before I go.

子供の稽古のように学ぶ必要のあることを教えてくれる。僕は基本と立ち方からだけど、少しずつドアを開けてくれる。実は基本とピンアンだけやってもビックリしないと思った。なのに、パッサイ大まで教えてくれたり、棒もふらせてくれたりしているからすごい感謝を感じます。幸運だとナイハンチまで行くかもしれない。



Note: This article was originally published to the Matsumura Seito Hozonkai Homepage
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“...it’s equally important to balance physical and mental development. And that’s what karate‘s real purpose is.”

Indeed, too often it seems the mental aspect of martial arts is overlooked in favor of its physical benefits. You look very much balanced: a veritable zen monk-warrior.
 

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nice gaijin
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