The Karate-do Mindset

‘Karate is like boiling water, if you do not heat it constantly, it will cool.’  –Funakoshi Gichin, The 20 Precepts

The study of bujutsu (martial arts) is no temporary effort. Though some benefits of practice manifest quickly, true mastery is a lifelong quest.

Early in our practice, we’re taught that the body, mind and spirit must to be in-sync to drive progress, however at a more mature stage we discover that the mind is both our greatest ally and most formidable opponent.

While we experienced inestimable value and benefit through martial arts training, even with a receptive mind and resolute heart, the demands of modern life and shifting social, educational or economical needs might lure loyal budoka away from the dojo.

‘If your mind is strong, all obstacles will appear minuscule.’ – Mencius

Five essential components of the Karate-do Mindset can help us better neutralize momentary or even periodic lapses in our practice:

1. Confidence
2. Courage
3. Commitment
4. Control
5. Purpose

    1. Confidence can be described as a belief in oneself and chosen endeavour, and the ability to achieve goals.  Confidence is bolstered by small gains. For example attending two classes per week may seem simple, even easy, but establishing and adhering to a schedule puts us on the path toward our objectives. Success builds upon itself and gradually affords a route toward permanent change.  Confidence should not be confused with conceit.  Whether we’re novice or advanced budoka, humility is an essential ingredient in continued growth.
    2. Courage is the capacity to view obstacles as opportunities, and embrace each challenge as a potential catalyst for change versus a life-altering catastrophe.  A change in finances, career or marital status, relocating, celebrating births, or grappling with illness, injury or the passing of a loved one, all are seismic shifts that can result in mental roadblocks to training.Courage isn’t limited to the battlefield or revealed exclusively through heroic action.   When confronted with difficult or threatening situations, courage may be demonstrated in daily life.

* Don’t run
* Don’t panic
* Face the situation
* Believe you can do it
* Fix it as soon as possible
* Find the win-win in all situations
* Most importantly, don’t sacrifice your dreams

    1. Commitment in its purest form emanates from a single-minded passion for what we do, coupled with an unwavering desire for excellence in how we regard and practice martial arts. Commitment galvanized by a community of likeminded, positive individuals is powerful.   When supported by people who share a passionate commitment around a common purpose, anything is possible.’Even if you reach the top, keep climbing.’ – Zen proverb
    2. Control is certainty that we are able to shape our destiny rather than passively accepting events as they arise. Assuming the helm of our life with realistic expectation about day-to-day challenges is something learned on the dojo floor. Martial mental training can empower us and lead to richer, happier and healthier lives.
    3. Purpose may be defined as dedication that aligns with our deepest values. Despite purpose that is rooted in our core, we may encounter bumps in the road (do or michi). Rather than stopping, stalling or sailing off a cliff and abandoning or ‘cooling’ our practice, it is at times like these that we must heat the temperature of the water as we recommitment to our dreams, values and goals with renewed purpose and passion.

‘Success isn’t a result of spontaneous combustion. You must set yourself on fire.’

-Siddhārtha Gautama, the Buddha