Karate has gone through various phases since its inception where some may think that it has been distorted, while others understand a breadth that offers us greater diversity.
It is not a question of judging in this article or showing any preference, Although considering that its origins based this practice for the purpose of self-defense. It is worth thinking about those times when the continuous wars and confrontations gave little value to the lives of others, and the separation between life and death, it was hardly far from a simple attitude, opinion, thought or reflex action.
They were delicate moments where survival prevailed over offensive action; and I say this because the karate practitioner, I had to know how to defend before attacking.
Go has the meaning of defending, while Shin refers to the human body as matter. Suffix Do shows us the way to reach that goal.
By putting all the concepts together, we get the Karate-Goshin-Do, es decir, the path of self-defense empty handed.
Understanding this concept, It is easy to understand that teachers preferred to teach defense techniques before attack techniques, because in this way they safeguard their vital points in a greater percentage, trying to risk in combat as little as possible, since any mistake will be paid with life.
These defenses must be converted into attacks and diminish the opponent's capabilities.. In this way, we can tip the balance in our favor to bide the time and deliver the coup de grace.
We see a certain similarity with the second precept of the master Gichin Funakoshi which reads “Karate ni sente nashi” 1 (in karate there is no first attack), making parable with the sense of defense as the first intention.
Continuing the thread of the article, the martial artist had to professionalize himself to the maximum in all levels of Karate-Goshin-Do, crossing the threshold of the simple learner to enter the multidimensional field.
Technique and physical condition remain in the first dimension, where inexperienced pupils begin to integrate through repetitions, basic techniques while strengthening your body. With time and perseverance, they will be able to enter a later dimension with the mastery of distance (maaï), equilibrio, rhythm and cadence (hyoshi)2, and later with continued practice, reach a last and elevated dimension of the mental state where they can intuit or anticipate the movements of the opponent (yomi), so that the mind works without slowing down the body; that both complement each other and be one. In this special dimension is the sakki (predict in advance the will or intention of killing you by another).
Here fits the quote of the sword master Takano Sazaburo: “You don't win after you've hit; hit after winning ". It argues that after mastering the maaï, hyoshi y yomi, you are in an advantageous situation; you are the potential winner. It's time to hit.
Unlike current times, where an error can be corrected with subsequent strategies and where at the end of the fight, the marker is reset to start from scratch, Those warriors had no place in their vocabulary for the word "error". With one carelessness they could lose their arm, and in case of still achieving victory, the next match they will start with one arm.
Of course there is one last dimension that is the ideal of mastery; the one that achieves victory without fighting. An attitude (physical or mental), a gesture, a few words or the simple look that forces the opponent to dismiss his intention of aggression. Something reserved for a few.
As a curiosity, mention the art of Muto (mu "without", to “espada”), with the purpose that a warrior cannot depend his victory or defeat on his skill with the sword, Well, in case of being snatched, I would be exposed to the cruelest of fatalities. It will be necessary to know how to fight bare-handed against the sword, control the distance that favors the opponent, severely block your grip in a timely manner, and know the disarmament techniques to get hold of the opposite sword. We see here the similarity with Karate that seeks a similar objective; take advantage of an unfavorable situation (in this case with bare or empty hands) instead of sinking psychologically and giving up the meeting. If I had to assign a qualifier, it would certainly be resilience.
Here are some brief brushstrokes of the art of Karate-Goshin-Do that make us understand its learning process as well as how hard the life and training of our warrior ancestors was and how they had to delve into hidden dimensions that border on mysticism in order to survive and defend a cause. A purpose that with practice enriches and strengthens their interior; his spirit.
The meaning of this precept has been generalized as the state of tranquility in the face of a possible aggression, where initially we should not actively participate in an attempt not to encourage the degree of violence, but nevertheless, we must remain attentive to its possible onslaught (zanshin) and when the time comes, react with complete safety, efficiency and guarantee of success.
It is not only possible to improve our maaï o hyoshi, But he must also analyze the opponent's and adapt his own according to the needs at each moment of combat.
Daniel Tchey – 6º Dan RFEK