Tuesday, October 17, 2023

Seven Falls, Eight Rises

Nana korobi yaoki 七転び八起き means perseverance in the face of adversity, and refusing to accept failure.  In other words, it is the grit and resolve to reach a goal, or to die trying.

The "...or to die trying" part is not intended to mean sacrificing oneself.  Instead it is a dedication to reaching for a goal as a mortal being.  None of us knows how much time on earth has been allotted to us, so to stay down and accept failure as inevitable and permanent is to deny that one is alive as a conscious being in the world.

In his book Moving Toward Stillness, Dave Lowry writes about Yasuhiro Yamashita, a well known Judoka who won more than 500 matches in his competition career:

Once, after he captured still another national title, I recall something he said that, to me, seemed to sum up Yamashita's philosophy on competition and said a lot about his successes.  "Just before a tournament," Yamashita told reporters, "I always take a bath, and in the weeks before a competition I try to keep my surroundings neat and well-ordered, so I won't be ashamed even if I die during a match."

The only excuse for not getting back up and trying again is death.


Friday, March 24, 2023

Beginner's Mind, 初心

 "Shoshin" is the Zen Buddhism term for retaining the spirit of openness and lack of preconceptions of a beginner or novice.  To not think of oneself as an expert, but to remain receptive and open to new learning and new experiences even when one achieves an advanced level of practice.  Many consider this to be essential in subduing the ego, a fixed and conditioned state that we subconsciously and reflexively impose upon ourselves.  By keeping the ego in check, and using the ego as a detached observer or advisor, we can achieve a more peaceful mental state and begin to integrate that peacefulness into our relationships with others.

This is an important concept in martial arts.  While we are studying how to fight, and we know from childhood that fighting and violence are wrong, we are learning to become more peaceful within ourselves.  It is very easy for someone to develop an inflated ego as higher rank is achieved.   Keeping a beginner's mind helps to prevent this, and leaves the door open for new learning in addition to new ways of thinking about old ideas.  There is always something new to discover.  

Consider a kata, even a "beginner" kata.  With experience and training, a beginner kata can be performed without really thinking about it very much.  But try to imagine an opponent, what that opponent may or may not be doing against you, and how you react.  Have you thought of everything?  That is difficult.  While some ideas may be more valid or appropriate than others, keeping your mind away from preconceptions helps to give a new perspective to your thinking.

Thursday, November 3, 2022

Test Review Information

 I hope everyone is able to access these documents.  If you are part of our dojo Google group, you should be able to view and download.  As promised...

Orange Belt Test Review 

Yellow Belt Test Review

Orange Belt Written Test (blank)

Instead of typing out a glossary, here is a pretty good one from Black Belt Wiki, which is a pretty good resource for other material about karate and all budo styles.

Glossary from Black Belt Wiki

Thursday, October 27, 2022

Yellow and Orange belt written tests

Below are links to the old written tests given to Honbu Dojo (our national HQ in Covington, KY).  I will post an example of our own tests soon...

Orange written test

Yellow written test

Wednesday, October 26, 2022

Foundation Years PDF

Here is the link for the PDF I have of "Karate - A Brief History" and "Foundation Years" from our yellow belt manual:

Please email me if you are unable to view.  Your address may need to be added to our dojo group.

Wednesday, December 8, 2021

Origin of Kihon Kata and more...

 Every once in a while some new (meaning OLD) Chito Ryu video pops up on YouTube.  This is a Chito Ryu seminar from 1983.  From the comments on this video:

"This video introduces the newly designed Kihon Kata and Chitose Jr explains the body mechanics associated with these kihon. Then Inomoto Sensei introduces the basic 10 postures for bo. The video then moves to an explanation of Hen Shu Ho's finer points and concludes with the awarding of dans. This is a gem of a video for anyone interested in Chito Ryu history as it captures the launch of the Kihon Kata and explains their purpose. Chitose Sr spends a good deal of time discussing the body mechanics of Chito Ryu and works with Kugizaki-sensei explaining Tori-te."