Elite Karate Academy celebrated their 6th Annual Elite Karate Expo on the 9th of April 2017 in The Green Isle Hotel, Clondalkin. Started by Sensei Gareth FitzGerald, who says, “the aim of the Expo is to allow students demonstrate their skills and abilities to their family and friends, whilst educating parents about the aims and ethos of Elite Karate Academy, in a relaxed fun environment.”

With a huge turnout of 250 family and friends the day started with the presentation of black belt hall of fame picture to Eric Keenan who successfully graded for black belt. After 6 years of training Eric became one of the 1st generation of Black belts in Elite Karate Academy. Escorted into the Expo through an honour guard of all students from the club, she was presented with his framed picture by Sensei Gareth FitzGerald 6th Dan. Continue reading 6th Annual Karate Expo

Elite Karate Academy will once again run their highly Successful summer camps in July 2017. The summer camps will run from 10th of July to the 21st of July 2017. They will run each weekday from 9.30am to 1pm. Open to members and non members. Contact Elite Karate Academy on 086 822 4902 for further details.

“In The Beginner’s Mind There Are Many Possibilities, In The Experts There Are Few”

The goal of training is always to keep beginners mind. An empty mind is a ready mind, it is always ready for anything and is open to everything. Think of Yoi or ready stance, from this position all things are possible, advancing, retreating, forward, backwards, sidewards, ducking, jumping. Responding not reacting, the mind should mirror the body, relaxed, calm, centered and ready for all possibilities.

It is easier for an expert to defeat someone with a few years training then a novice beginner. The beginner is untrained or unconditioned to a particular style of movement that the expert expects within their style so is unpredictable.

A judoka and a kendoka agreed to fight in each others art.  The judo lost in the judo fight and the kendoka lost in the kendo fight.  The reason is cause both forgot Shoshin.  Both expected the other to play within the rules of the game they knew.  The other not knowing the rules of engagement rushed in and either threw their opponent or hit him with the sword thus winning.

In feudal japan, in Tokyo, a sword fencing school where having their students killed and could not understand why even high ranking students where being killed with a simple sword thrust to the chest.  When the killer was found he explained that the school trained a technique repeatedly when the sword was drawn from the scabbard and raised above he head before delivering a downward cut.  Because it wa a basic technique it had been trained 1000s of times.  And students where conditioned to block the downward strike.  The Killer aimplw awitched his aword in his hands, raising the scabbard high in the air, forcing the students conditioning to kick in.  The student blocked the downward scabbard strike, while the killer stabbed them in the heart from below.  A complete lack of Shoshin.  Shoshin definitely contains Zanshin.

In training your opponent learns to move with you sometimes facilitating the move, lock, th row, strike etc.  Train to flow and respond with a different technique in the case the chosen one doesn’t work on the street.

Nothing outside yourself can cause you any trouble unless you let it. You yourself make the waves in your mind. If you leave your mind as it is, it will become calm.  This is zazen/meditation or the correct mindset while training.  Always keep your mind open to new possibilities.  Experts believe they know best cos they are trained and conditioned but in life listen to the opinions of everybody sometimes the simpliest solutions come from the mouths of babes or beginners.  In Shoshin let every being be your teacher.  Learn, adapted, respond, grow.

Shoshaku Jushaku. Mistake upon mistake. Or life as one continuous mistake. Progress in the martial arts as in life, is based on making mistakes, recognize them, fix them and make new mistakes. Nobody is perfect, life is not perfect, but as karate ka we aim for perfection. But this attitude should be maintained with a gentle touch. Don’t be too hard on yourself, berate yourself too harshly or criticize yourself too much. Recognize your mistake or failings, correct them and make new mistakes. Recognizing mistakes is not a sign of weakness but takes a honest strength of character. On or off the mats, seek to be the best most authentic version of yourself.

Karate is about improving the character. By improving ourselves, we model a better example for those around us, which in turn improves the society around us. A good karateka should never be cruel, favouring compassion, caring and courtesy. Never a bully, never mean spirited, careful in knowing the words they speak can cause longer lasting damage then their fists and feet. Karateka should never be cowardly, be brave enough to walk away from a fight, when you know you could damage the opponent. Be brave enough to defend the weak, seek the truth, be brave enough to be honest in all areas of life. Brave enough to admit their weaknesses and face up to changes that need to be made.

You drop something into a hole in the ground. Too deep for your arm to reach it. It remains just out of reach. You ask people passing by for help. Those that try all claim the hole is too deep. This story teaches us to come back to ourselves. Ask 100 people and a majority of people will say the hole is too deep. Very few, if any, will acknowledge that their arm is too short. As human beings it is easier to blame outside forces for the failings in our life, rather then admit our own hand in it. (pun intended).

Zen/Karate teaches us to come back to ourselves, to expand from the centre and return to the centre. To acknowledge our short comings. We are the centre of our universe, we must take responsibility on and off the mats for the life around us. We teach people how to treat us, our own subconscious beliefs determine our worth, our levels of determination and perseverance determine whether we settle or make our dreams come true. So breath, return to center, accept responsibility and if your not happy with some aspect of your life, CHANGE IT… Placing the blame outside ourselves, is a victims mentality, and we choose not to be victims.