Brawl-in Zazen

Karate is a violent art. A dojo contains the violence in form through kata. It gives it direction, consequence.

How people react to this fact determines their experience in a dojo and colors their karate practice.
There was a story about Kimo I could never confirm with the man. It had to do with his time as a Special Forces Instructor in the Armed Forces. It is said that before the assembled recruits in an open field, Kimo would lightly touch on all the privations which they would have to endure while he gently caressed a chicken. Should I finish this lurid anecdote or leave it swaying in the breeze of the unsaid? Let it swing, you must infer and surmise.

There is a lot you must infer and surmise in martial arts, as in any art. The canon is meant to be learned and then forgotten, broken even, but only when it has cured your every pore, can you caress the chicken, pull its neck and drink its blood.

Karate is an art to be grasped after time. How do you train an art if not by doing. "Train hard, and train often," Kimo would say. But what do you train, and how? Dojo practice is a simulation, a glance from afar at the umpredictability of violence. How could it be otherwise?

Do you train karate to win? Win where? Brawlers hated Kimo's dojo. Yoga airheads too. We were something in between. Because results are always late in coming, the impatient realists would seek elsewhere.

The time it takes for a bead of sweat to drop from your brow to the floor. Karate is a path defined by how you walk it.

The wringed neck of a chicken, the faint at heart.

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