Wednesday, November 21, 2012

The People Make the Art - Karate for Life

When we do karate demonstrations for the public, we are careful to show things that attract people to watching what is happening, but not so spectacular that they can not imagine that what they are seeing is possible for them.

For example, when we do breaking, 80% of it is to highlight focus and technique, rather than raw power.  When someone breaks multiple cement bricks, there was plenty of other people breaking stacked wood, flying wood and held wood, to emphasize that it is NOT magic, but the result of effort and skill.

When we teach karate, we show the end result, to increase the desire of the student to do it, but when we begin teaching it, we make sure to emphasize the physics behind the actions, and use words like leverage, speed, power and balance, all of which can be measured.

Why?  Because many people look at martial arts as magic.  They think that it is beyond normal humans, and outside of their abilities or desires.  This feeling has been fostered by 70 years of western stories piled on top of centuries of oriental stories about vanishing masters, death touches, un-bendable arms and floating bodies.  Each of these stories is rooted in the real world, but left the surface or reality and people have bought into the mystery as if it were magic.

Then, people who had insufficient training, lacked humility or had something to prove, passed the stories on as fact, creating the feeling in the public or mystical ability.

The fact is, these amazing deeds are done by ordinary people.  For certain, these people are doing extraordinary things, but that is a direct result of their effort, passion and belief in themselves and those with whom they train.

There is always mystery when people do things that others can not do or explain.  In our case, a little mystery is good, because these things do not come naturally, but only through hard work and repeated failure. If everyone was doing them, without training, injury would be everywhere.

However, we must make sure our students know that it is NOT the art that makes them extraordinary, but rather they who mark the art extraordinary.

It is Not Magic.  They are.

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