Old Fart Karate

In my previous post I shared my feelings about seeing myself doing kata. It was, as I said, an eye-opener. I wanted to finalize my Violeta Dojo posts with a video of the Kakuha Kata, so emblematic of the Kimo Wall Kodokan school, but found no online videos. Nobody else was game either. So I had to do it myself. Lordy Lord. It was putting myself on the line, warts and all. But just as I had to make a transition from the collective dojo to the one-man dojo that today I inhabit, I also had to bite the bullet and also take a blind leap to the screen. Not as a young man, but as the almost 61 year old fart that I am. Well, there is always a first time.

This kata, Kakuha, was taught to me by Kimo Wall when I practiced in his Kodokan school of Goju. It was created by Toguchi and is solely practiced in his and in Kimo's dojos. No where else in Gojuland. Yet nobody uploads it anywhere. I don't know why. Maybe someone now can tell me. It is a great kata, one of two of a series, that pretty much sums up the Gekisai and Gekiha kata series, plus adds things from Sesan
and Sishoshin. It also captures the flow and transitions typical of the Goju I practice today.

There is only one catch, that's an old man you see there, not the young man that once did it and must content himself with expressing it with the body he inhabits today. But, what the hell.

Anyway, here it is.

In Honor of Kimo...


From slow burn to dying embers

As I was experimenting videotaping myself doing kata, the first impression that leaped at me from the screen was the discrepancy between the internal image of myself doing kata and what is finally there for all to see. It was not a pretty sight. My kata looked ragged, disjointed. My body looked too bowed over in places, loosey-goosey in an old fart sort of way. I looked like a drunken old master trying to recall a forgotten lover, the curve and line of her body lost to memory and time.

The merciless eye of the camera makes no allowances for what I feel inside. It is as if it said: "you wanted it, so there you have it, what you see is what you get."

Not the slow burn ... but the dying embers.

In the mind, the kata is perfect. I feel the old rhythms and heat in my veins as before.

It is the kata of an old man, it is as his skin and bones allows it to be seen.

I must trust that beneath the dying embers a fire still burns, enough to keep me warm.



Many of us who practice the martial arts, in my case Goju Ryu, learned the same in lands distant both geographically and culturally from their origin. Some may have the privilege to at one time visit these lands at some point in their martial arts experience and even practice there for short or extended period of time. Yet there are those of us whose experience in the martial arts transpires in one's country of origin alone.

There are those whose journey also takes them through several styles and schools and a variety of the martial arts. Then there are those who blend these experiences into a coherent whole and those who add facets of other martial arts to complement their core styles. And then there are those who adhere to one style alone to explore its many nuances. And still there are others who sparse their own martial art to to a few basic notions and evolve from there.

There is no pure art because by its very nature it is contaminated by all that went before, by its very practitioners, and all that is around us at any given time. Nothing exists in a vacuum. Art is an ever evolving experience, a human experience, a dialogue, a chorus of voices. It is also a silence, and a word spoken after a long silence.

All journeys speak for themselves and any true art is in the practitioner at a given moment in that journey. Honesty, hard work, and humbleness speak louder and truer than theory.

I practice Goju. This is neither a virtue or vice. It just is. It is the result of very particular circumstances and that is all. I also write and in writing have practiced many styles and come under many influences. It is a mongrel writing with bloodlines from all over creation and through all times of man. My style is what I am writing today.

I practice Goju. I share what I know and learn from many others. No boasts or comparisons. Only respect and acknowledgements.

The proof is in the pudding. The pudding must be cooked every day anew.