STRIKING POST – January 2019
Well, Saturday afternoon was the time for our annual Kagami Biraki held at Mukashi Dojo. It was heartwarming to see so many students in attendance. I think it was the largest turnout to date. It is heartwarming because these students have made a statement that they take their karate training seriously. They have made a symbolic gesture that by taking part in the rigorous training, they have made a pledge to train hard in the year to come. Each student has their own personal goals; Gradings, Competition, Kobudo, etc. Whatever goals you may have, congratulations to all of you as you have taken the all important first step towards achieving those goals.
Many dojos around the world observe this ritual of Kagami Biraki. Some refer to it as “spirit training”. It is a way to break down barriers or limitations you may have consciously or sub-consciously placed upon yourselves. One thousand punches may seem unattainable to some, especially after 3 hours of hard training. This is where you must dig deep and push through and not give up. This is what builds character as well as an indomitable spirit. When the physical body is spent and says, ” I can`t “, the will and determination take over and says ” you must”. You must try to make each punch stronger than the last. It is not that easy, partly because you can not see the end. You do not know how many punches you will be asked to do and so you can not prepare yourself mentally. There is no finish line, so to speak. You can only think about each punch, one at a time. It is the sort of training that you can not do on your own. If no one makes you do it, you can not do it. You should all be proud of yourselves for having completed the training. I am also proud of you.
You may have heard the phrase ” you must humble yourself to your training”. This is a fundamental concept that speaks to the necessity for personal training. It is not enough to come to the dojo twice per week and have the instructor make corrections and lead you blindly down the path. From white belt to Sho-Dan this method might be sufficient, however, as you progress through the Dan ranks it becomes more and more important to do your own personal training. It is through this training that you will be able to improve your karate immeasurably. My long-term personal goal is ultimately to teach you how to train yourselves, so that when I am no longer available to teach, the Mukashi dojo and our beloved Chito-ryu, will continue for many years to come.
I am pleased with the work we have done this fall with the kobudo (Bo & Sai ) and I am very much looking forward to beginning some Tonfa training in the next few weeks. Hopefully we can get some put together by then. It is my opinion that the Tonfa is probably the most difficult weapon to learn. Maybe some of you will find it easier I don`t know. I guess, for me, because I have almost no previous experience with it, I think it will be difficult. We shall see. At any rate, I wish you all a healthy, happy, and successful new year complete with many hours of training at Mukashi dojo.