Within the myriad of martial arts in the world there are many that expound being the Ultimate, Supreme of all. Conversely there are people who call themselves Grandmaster, Professor etc. Such magnificent claims and titles can be very misleading. Many of these things are a result of wanting to stand out or to show superiority over all others. Someone who is a teacher might not be satisfied with just being a teacher and appoint themselves to Master, then eventually get bored and upgrade to Grandmaster. Am I saying that there are no Masters or Grandmasters in the arts? Not at all. I believe that there are, however I think there are very few. The reason is this, back when martial arts were a must for war and survival from day to day the warriors lived, breathed, and died by their ideals and martial practices. Those that exceeded all others and ‘Mastered” truly Mastered their chosen art and gave their entire being to its teaching, practice and its perpetuation. These individuals were the teachers of the warriors and their methods were proven on the battleground. They constantly expanded their knowledge and refined everything, these people were Masters. Yet, they did not consider themselves as such. They were simply happy being a student, teacher and practitioner of the Arts. A Master isn’t worried about what color belt he/she is wearing. There were no colored belts originally, everyone wore white and the karateka that had the dirtiest belt was the one to watch out for. Those that make the claims of being a Master, Grandmaster and are not, are disrespecting those that truly are. So who decides who is a Master and who isn’t? No on really has the ability to decide or to set criteria upon which can be met. Everyone most likely has there own concept of what a Master is. Now, I have given you my personal belief of what a master is. So what about Mastery or the Mastery level. This is a very important principle indeed. And can be misinterpreted very easily by many. The term “Master” suggests a rank or something to be grasped or attained. “Mastery” however, suggests progression, or continuation of learning and refinement. Thus the Mastery level is an indefinite progression of ones character, teaching ability, learning, techniques and everything else in Life. The reason I say indefinite is that learning, teaching and all the other things that encompass life are always changing and progressing or should be in one way or another. It is never ending, so it is appropriate to say that the Mastery level is never ending as well.
What is Karate?
Is it the art of the empty hand? It can be when it needs to be, but this is a simple definition.
Is it a way of life? To many it is.
Karate is the art of life, the guiding principles of dealing with and understanding yourself and others. As well as discovering and walking your true path. Some of these principles include:
· love · honor · loyalty · humility · compassion · nurturing · camaraderie · morality · creative expression · control · confidence · determination · will power · achievement · dealing with loss, anger, fear etc.
This list could go on and on.
GoJu is alive and vibrant with meaning, expression, and history. I wouldn’t be who I am without GoJu, Sensei or all of my sempai and kohi in the Dojo.