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Karate "Thoughts" -- Floating Symbols

Well, since we have compared Karate to language, we might as well go a step further.

When learning Karate, we think in terms of words and phrases. Over the years and decades, we learn the language of Karate and become fluent in it (hopefully).

Then, we no longer think in terms of words strung together in a linear fashion. Complex concepts (movement, application, and response patterns) become symbols to us -- three dimensional, animated, colored and/or textured objects that appear and disappear, as needed, in our minds.

It might take quite a while to say 100 words, 500 words, or 10,000 words, but a symbol embodying the totality of their meaning can be thought/seen/perceived in an instant.

It is like the way some autistic savants can quickly perform complex mathematical computations in their minds. They don't always see the literal numbers. The equations and solutions are sometimes expressed/visualized in novel ways (shapes, colors, sounds, heat, even smells).

I wanted to mention this because the language analogy, while correct to a point, is also a bit limited. We have to "think" in terms of language in a broad sense, which includes symbols containing/representing huge packets of information (movement principles, techniques, applications, etc.). A Karate expert thinks, but probably not in the way you might think he thinks.

Also, when you think this way, the kata fit together in very novel ways. The symbols of each kata (however you visualize them) sort of float and bump/touch/overlap into each other, revealing the connections of movements and sequences in ways that most people might not readily see. And the answers just appear -- without words (in English, or any other language for that matter).

Do you see?


Charles C. Goodin