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Guest Post: An Obvious Insight

This Guest Post is by my friend, Mark Tankosich, who has dan rankings in both Sho-ha Shorin-ryu karate and Zen Nihon Kendo Renmei jodo. Along with the martial arts, his passions include the Japanese language. He currently lives and teaches in Hiroshima, Japan.

Mark is the author of Karate Ni Sente Nashi: What the Masters Had to Say and Japanese Ego Negation and the Achievement of Self, which are hosted at the Hawaii Karate Seinenkai website. He recently translated Practice Karate Correctly by Kenwa Mabuni (Classical Fighting Arts, Vol. 2, No. 11, Issue #34).

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A while ago, I happened to be looking at myself in the mirror, and I noticed something. I won’t go into the details here, but I realized that, in a certain way, I had begun to physically resemble my teacher, John Hamilton Sensei. “Hmmm,” I thought, “must be one of the effects of karate training.”

Immediately following this thought, it “hit” me that karate training has – or at least should have – a certain kind of effect on not only the karate-ka’s body, but also on his or her mind / spirit / personality / character.

Anytime that I’m lucky enough to have this kind of personal insight, I try to jot something down that, in the future, will help me to remember what I’d learned. Here is what I wrote this time:
“Think about it. A primary reason for walking a Way is that, over the years, it molds you into a certain kind of person. As you progress down the path, who you are should be gradually changing in ways that are consistent with the ideals of your Way.”
Through your karate training, are you changing in ways other than those that are physical? I’d like to believe that I am, but occasionally rereading the short passage above helps me to insure that I don’t stray too far from the right path.

Mark Tankosich