The famed chessmaster Capablanca was once asked how many moves ahead he saw when playing a game of chess. His answer? "I see only one move ahead, but it is ALWAYS the right move."
Life has always been complex and challenging. The challenges today are just different than what they were in the past. Nowadays instead of hunting and scavaging for food and living in the elements we’re bombarded with suggestions and demands from our highly sophisticated societies. How is it possible to find harmony amidst what are often contradictory messages?!
Competition and cooperation are two modes of interaction that engage us throughout our lives. West LA Seido Karate recognizes the need for being skillful at both. We channel the cooperative instinct in the dojo in a variety of ways, ritual courtesy being the most visible. We also give our competitive nature its due. In weekly sparring classes and periodic tournaments throughout the year, the West LA Seido program provides the eligible student with sufficient opportunities to “test” her or him...
The point of any workout is to stress your body and initiate an adaptive training response. Period. What are appropriate levels of stress necessary to achieve the adaptive response? In terms of the cardiovascular system, studies have shown that it usually takes about two minutes to get the heart rate into the training zone. Once there, the heart shows an adaptive response after five more minutes of training in the zone. Total minutes needed to get an adaptive response from your heart? Seven.
What's your training about? Would any of it matter if your life depended upon it? If not, what is your training providing you with?
The Fog of Will Suki = a chink in the armor, a psychological weakness. Doubt.
Beauty and The Beast
Kurt Harris, MD, writes about paleolithic nutrition at his highly recommended blog, www.paleonu.com.
West LA Seido Karate-do embeds its personal protection program into its on-going classes. Private instruction in this aspect of Seido can also be arranged with Kyoshi on an individual basis.
A Way Out of the Overload How do we simplify? There's a welter of information, advice, techniques, schools and every imaginable video tape available on the market to answer that question for you. In making a selection from this movable feast you'd want to take into account the background and credentials of the person offering you a way out of the overload. That's assuming you didn't just throw up your hands in exasperation and walk away from the task entirely.
Take It On
Kizeme This Japanese word, kizeme, means "spirit of attack." It is said of Miyamoto Musashi, the famed Japanese swordsman, that as he grew older he relied more on kizeme to defeat adversaries and, as a result, emerged victorious from challenges without taking the life of his opponent.
On a Wednesday evening when friends are going to a movie or out to dinner, you’re at the dojo training.
We are embarking upon a new year. As usual, some of us will make "resolutions." There isn't anything wrong with setting goals for the year. It's actually a good idea. It may help focus the energy we bring to life.
This expression, mitakuye oyasin, comes from the language of the Lakota Sioux, a tribe among the Native Americans. It means "We are all related." It's uttered upon crossing the threshold into the Sweat Lodge, the small, low structure used by the Sioux for their sacred purification ritual, the Sweat. In Seido Karate we have a saying we utter upon entering the dojo and upon greeting others: Osu! Osu is an abbreviation of the expression Oshi shinobu osu, which means "maintain patience."
How do we really come to the decisions that we make? Is it just flip a coin and hope for the best or is there some underlying procedure that we go through, consciously or unconsciously, that guides our course of action?
"Life is difficult." That's how Scott Peck's best-selling book, "The Road Less Travelled", begins. That life is difficult is not news. Over two-thousand years ago the Buddha said it too: Life is suffering. The sanskrit word the Buddha used for suffering is dukkha. Dukkha doesn't refer to physical pain, necessarily. It refers to something more akin to our English word 'dissatisfaction'. Adages abound in our language which attest to the universality of dissatisfaction in our daily lives. "The g...
"Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication." -Leonardo da VinciLearning a kata requires that you go through several stages. First you have to learn the basic pattern and the techniques. Then you have to perfect what you've learned. Then you have to deconstruct what you've learned and perfected in order to truly understand what the kata is teaching you vis a vis close quarter engagement.
In the dojo, what ISN’T said is often as important as what IS said. To most of us who’ve been raised in the USA, the reticence we encounter in the dojo can be off-putting. American society is very “content” oriented. Our legal contracts, for instance, run for pages and pages. Everything needs to be spelled out. In “context-oriented” societies there is far less reliance on such a literal approach. Much more importance is placed on the relationship between the two parties entering into an agree...
This Japanese expression has two basic meanings. The literal meaning is to break one’s bone(s), as when falling from a height. The figurative meaning is “to try harder.” That is, to try so hard that one’s bones break.
When I trained at Honbu I used to keep one of the towels reserved for cleaning the floor at the end of class close by me so that I could sop up the sweat that gathered in puddles on the floor beneath me during wazapractice. During one such class, I took advantage of a momentary break in the training to clean my space with the towel. When I was finished I lightly tossed it toward a support pillar on the main floor of the dojo for later use. “Don’t throw!” Kaicho yelled. “Place down on floor.” ...
Not long ago in Rome during a Master’s Tennis Tournament something remarkable happened. In a tightly contested game, American Andy Roddick challenged a linesman’s call on a ball hit by his opponent. The remarkable thing about this incident was that Roddick argued against his own interest. He insisted that the opponent’s ball had landed inside the line and that he, Roddick, should NOT be awarded the point. Spectators applauded as if they’d witnessed a miracle. Imagine! Sportsmanship in a profe...
“On this day he had lived with that feeling, with death breathing right in his face like the hot wind from a grenade across the street, for moment after moment after moment, for three hours or more. The only thing he could compare it to was the feeling he found sometimes when he surfed, when he was inside the tube of a big wave and everything around him was energy and motion and he was being carried along by some terrific force and all he could do was focus intently on holding his balance, ri...
Chi gyo ichi nyo is a familiar expression in the dojo. The word chi means knowledge. Gyo means doing, or action. Ichi nyo means inseparable. Action and knowledge are one! Acting without adequate knowledge or understanding is a constant source of frustration and problems. In our lives we are often busy and active without really understanding the basis of our actions and their full impact. Some people practice karate without really knowing why they are training. In class they do the techniques ...
At the beginning of every class, or almost every class, we do a series of exercises. The Japanese word for this sort of calisthenic exercise isundo. These exercises derive from the Goju style of karate created by Miyagi Sensei in Okinawa in the early part of the 20th Century. In devising these exercises Miyagi no doubt borrowed liberally from the Chinese, whose influence on the southernmost island of the Japanese archipelago was immense.
Nana korobi ya oki (resilience, unflagging effort) is the core belief of Seido Karate. It assumes that life is challenging and that we sometimes fall, unable to meet the challenge. Still we get up, undaunted, embracing our own spirit, our own capacity to prevail. The alternative, to stagnate or dwindle in spirit and action, is simply unacceptable.
In 2000, the U.S. Joint Command Forces, a sort of think tank within the military, began planning a war game named Millennium Challenge. The scenario of the game was as follows: a rogue military commander had broken away from his government somewhere in the Persian Gulf and was threatening to engulf the entire region in war. He had a considerable power base from strong religious and ethnic loyalties, and he was harboring and sponsoring four different terrorist organizations. He was virulently ...
Kyoshi Ted Pastrick gives the student their new belt.