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What’s important in karate training beyond punching and kicking?

Relate your understanding of our karate teaching to the following article.

Creating Your Character Is Like

an Artist Creating a Sculpture

by Jim Rohn

Could creating your character be likened to an artist creating a sculpture?  I believe that character is not something that just happens by itself, any more than a chisel can create a work of art without the hand of an artist guiding it. In both instances, a conscious decision for a specific outcome has been made. A conscious process is at work. Character is the result of hundreds and hundreds of choices you make that gradually turn who you are, at any given moment, into who you want to be. If that decision-making process is not present, you will still be somebody. You will still be alive, but may have a personality rather than a character.

Character is not something you were born with and can’t change, like your fingerprints. In fact, because you weren’t born with it, it is something that you must take responsibility for creating. I don’t believe that adversity by itself builds character and I certainly don’t think that success erodes it. Character is built by how you respond to what happens in your life. Whether it’s winning every game or losing every game. Getting rich or dealing with hard times. You build character out of certain qualities that you must create and diligently nurture within yourself. Just like you would plant and water a seed or gather wood and build a campfire. You’ve got to look for those things in your heart and in your gut. You’ve got to chisel away in order to find them. Just like chiseling away the rock in order to create the sculpture that has previously existed only in your imagination.

But do you want to know the really amazing thing about character? If you are sincerely committed to making yourself into the person you want to be, you’ll not only create those qualities, but you’ll continually strengthen them. And you will recreate them in abundance even as you are drawing on them every day of your life. Just like the burning bush in the biblical book of Exodus, the bush burned but the flames did not consume it. Character sustains itself and nurtures itself even as it is being put to work, tested, and challenged. And once character is formed, it will serve as a solid, lasting foundation upon which to build the life you desire.


My goal is to instruct each student in the traditional art of Isshin-ryu Karate, keeping the spirit of True – Authentic – training alive, striving to be an example for the martial arts’ community.  I aspire to motivate each student to work to improve each day, by developing A BEGINNER’S MIND

As the student is guided through the levels of understanding, he or she will develop the strength physically and mentally to accept the challenges of karate and life, developing and demonstrating positive influences upon others by the character that will become a part of one’s daily life.  Spiritual growth will become possible as the student develops the mental and physical tools to resist the adverse challenges of the world.  

As we move forward in the 21st Century, I will strive to instill in each student the desire to keep the dreams of Master Tatsuo Shimabuku and Master William H. Duessel alive — that karate will again become the “One Heart Way”, working to make each student ONE with his or her body, mind, family, society and spirit.

The following article I received from karate site designed to advance understanding about Okinawa and Karate.

 Reality of Karate in Okinawa And Its Problems

     Although there are more than 50 million people who love and practice Karate, those who belong to an Okinawa based Dojo or Ryu-ha is limited, estimated 10%. Of course the date will be changed depends on what ryu-ha you call Okinawa based.  For instance, Gichin Funakoshi was a great Karate master of Syorin-ryu and founder of Syotokan-ryu.  He was one of the best contributors who introduced Okinawa Karate to main land Japan and throughout the world.  However, his ryu-ha, Syotokan-ryu is not included as an Okinawa based ryu-ha.  If you include syotokan-ryu members as an Okinawa based Karate practice population, the number will be changed dramatically.
     It is said that one of the reasons why Karate’s popularity is quiet high is because young generations and Westerners love so called “Sport Karate”.  It is true that traditional Okinawa Karate lacks flamboyancy.  Yet, traditional Okinawa Karate has its almost 1,000 years of history and the true indefatigability, both for offense and defense, built up through the times.  Though the traditional Karate is too simple and perhaps dull for those who prefer Sport Karate, once you find the distillate of the traditional Okinawa Karate, you will experience the truth by heart.
     As a birthplace of Karate, there are more than 500 Dojos in Okinawa by Karateka who inherited the tradition.  I believe those Karate masters duty to assume the real Okinawa Karate to younger generations. 

The Proof That Okinawa Is The Birthplace of Karate

     There are many theories about when Karate occurred in Okinawa and there is no solid proof such as papers or historiography.  Experts have been researched on this issue for decades and their current and main agreement is that Karate was occurred around before and in the Age of The Civil War of Ryukyu Islands called Time Aji or Time Gusuku.
     Time Aji or Time Gusuku, between seven and twelve centuries was before the Ryukyu Kingdom and there were many worriors who fight against each other aiming to take control on the island.  In those days, it was normal to have weapons and practice martial arts, and since Ryukyu Island was isolated from other continent and the sailing skills wasn’t enough to import or export goods from other countries, moreover, they didn’t produce any minerals such as copper or iron, so they had to develop what they had which was martial arts.  (In ancient times, iron was used for a little part of knives and pikes in Okinawa.  This is shown that minerals weren’t use frequently in that time.)
     Although there were some weapons such as stick, nunchaku, and oar which were used in their daily lives, it is not hard to imagine that those equipments were just secondary and mainly, people use their own body in the martial arts.
     Before 1392 when Chinese experts called (JKume Sanjyu-roku Sei, 36 Chinese experts of Kume area, came and settle in Kume area in Ryukyu Kingdon, (now the area is in Naha city).  It is said that one of the Kumes was a Chinese Kenpo master.  He combined both Okinawa and Chinese based martial arts into one, and one of his descendants create new ryu-ha called, Kojo-ryu. The Kojo-ryu Dojo was in Naha some 15 years ago.  This story is better than other theories for now that explaining there was an Okinawa based martial arts before foreigners came to the Island.
     In those days in Ryukyu Kingdom, the island’s culture was great affected by China and the art was called Chinese hand. After the Kumes arrival and exchange their culture, the traditional martial art changed its style little by little and made the today’s form.  This is one of the proofs that Karate was occurred in Okinawa.
There are some similarities between Okinawa Karate and Chinese Kenpo, but in Karate, we much focus on our spiritual side, which is based on the idea, Karatedo.  The martial art that has both physical and spiritual sides can be seen only in Okinawa.
    Today, we have approximately 500 Karate Dojo in Okinawa.  This infrequency situation shows that Karate plays an important role in Okinawan society and has huge impact on the culture.

 BBTV is a free site – check it out?  http://www.okinawabbtv.com/culture/karate/

Posted in Dojo Newsletter.