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Guest Post: The Mirror

This Guest Post is by my friend and senior, Sensei Pat Nakata. Nakata Sensei is the head of the Okinawa Shorin-Ryu Karate Association in Hawaii. He was a student of Chosin (Choshin) Chibana in Shorin-Ryu, and also studied Ryukyu Kobudo under Sensei Fumio Nagaishi. When he was a young man, he studied Wado-Ryu Karate under Sensei Walter Nishioka.

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Too many times, we look outward and fail to look inward. When we look outward, it may appear like, "the grass looks greener on the other side" and we lose our focus. When we look deep into ourselves, we start to develop focus and we start to know our path. Looking inward is also looking at our system, our methodology. Our teachings are based on science, as are other schools, but their approaches, in most cases, are different. Our practice is from Chibana Chosin Sensei and his "ippon kowashi no waza (to destroy with one technique)". To develop this "ippon kowashi no waza", we must have correct posture, precise timing (kime), and correct movements (osae/press).

Chibana Sensei's teachings are based on the application of power. Chibana Sensei's teachings are found in his Kata. We initially learn by watching, and initially a mirror may help. As we advance, we should discard the use of a mirror, because it will distract our focus. Using a mirror is looking outward, we must develop our "inner mirror", which is our "kimochi (feeling)". "Kimochi" cannot be taught or demonstrated and can be developed only by diligent training by keeping our focus.

Now the riddle: We refine our Kata with "kimochi", but as we start to reach the higher stages of refinement our "kimochi" starts to become imperceptible. Although the "kimochi" becomes imperceptible, it is still there. It is our "mind's eye" that keeps our focus. Again, we can only reach this stage through constant training. If we loose the spirit of repetition, we loose our focus and we loose our way.

So, go look into that "mirror".

Pat Nakata