The zen of the long-distance karateca

To whom do you bow when there is no foe but yourself?

That very thin slice of time and space where you are between a rock and a hard place is Budo.

Where the jagged beer bottle of life arcs towards your neck and the ground shifts beneath your feet: the precise edge of kata.

Sanchin in a darkened room and the sound of an oscillating fan.


Evolution of a kata

Way back in this blog I made reference to the fact that when I saw Seikichi Toguchi in person do the first basic kata of the Shoreikan syllabus (Tandoku or Fukyu) it seemed like another kata, all together different from the kata that I as a white belt was just learning to do. The ingredients of his kata were the same as mine, recognizable as a stick figure may be to a human form, and yet those same ingredients sieved through his body, mind and spirit tasted different to the eye.

The kata is a static mold, an ideal, a form, a map from here to there. Yet as it moves through one’s body and mind through time it jellies and wobbles, whips and pauses, morphs into the skin of your particular intent. Becomes yours. Becomes you, and you it.

My kata did not become Toguchi’s kata. Impossible.