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The Principles of Karate #11

(Adapted from Gichin Funakoshi’s Book, The Guiding Principles of Karate)

11.) Karate Is Like Boiling Water: Without Heat, It Returns To Its Tepid State.

There is a Japanese proverb that says, “Learning through practice is like pushing a cart up a hill; if you slack off, it will slip backwards.”

When it comes to mastering the art of Karate, persistent and consistent effort is key. Actually to master any skill requires one to consistently practice that skill, always focused on getting to the next level until the goal is reached.

For the Karateka, that goal is to reach the rank of Black Belt. And of course, even at the level of a first degree Black Belt, there are still more skills to learn…more goals to achieve...and greater heights to climb.

But to get to Black Belt to begin with takes dedication and unrelenting effort. I have known a number of students over the years who say they want to earn their Black Belt, and they train hard for a season, but sooner or later their effort fizzles as they take some time off and of course, with the time off, skills get rusty and knowledge becomes faint.

Sometime later they may renew their effort and get back to the routine of training regularly but often the same pattern emerges as they decide to slack off once again.

Before you know it, several years have passed and they are only a fraction of the way to accomplishing their goal.

Now of course, life happens and things can get in the way of our life goals. Family emergencies, lengthy illnesses, loss of a job or other financial stresses can certainly affect our training. To take a break is understandable, but often the excuses are much less serious.

In the study of Karate, continuous concentration and diligence are the hallmark of success. To tell yourself that you want to master Karate, but then be random in your effort, will not suffice.

Always focus on the goal. Don’t let your progress become tepid…keep up the heat. And realize that you can reach your goal of Black Belt.

And of course it is a wonderful thing to finally reach that goal, knowing that you have successfully traveled the path of excellence and become a master of mind and body.

As Master Funakoshi says, “Only through continual training will you be able to obtain in mind and body, the fruits of the Way!”

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