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.

Never give up, Never give in

Success in the martial arts as in life requires perseverance. Long term training can go through peaks and depressions on the journey to Shodan or beyond. Attitude is everything in the martial arts, never giving up, never giving in is vital. Your opponent will never hit as hard as life. Life will knock you down and keep you down if you let it. As the japanese sayings says, get knocked down 7 times, stand up 8.

In all things be Indomitable in spirit. Rise up, train hard, chase your dreams, study deeply, never settle, never give up, and never give in.

Dojo Kun/Rules

Lesson 3: Be of use

I learned this one from my own Sensei and incorporated into our Dojo rules. In a world of selfishness, following this life lesson changes your outlook on a day to day basis. It moves us away frow selfishness towards compassion and empathy. If you can finish the day, knowing you where of use to somebody that day, it was a good day.

It could be a small gesture, such as helping a mother with her buggy down some steps, to significant life changing acts such as staying up all night talking to a friend who is hurting emotionally. How can your existance today improve someones life today? Can you find the time and will to make a difference in the world around you? Can you be of use to a loved one, a friend, a stranger today, tomorrow, everyday?

Thoughts Are Not Facts

You are walking down the road. When you see your friend on the other side. Unable to cross the road, you wave and call their name. Your friend continues to walk on. How do you react? Many people have different reactions when told this story. Some accept that their friend simple did not see them and thus continue their day. And if they remember they may mention to their friend that they saw them, the next time they speak. Other people feel slighted and ignored. Wondering what they did to their friend to deserve being ignored.

Convinced their friend is not talking to them. They race off upset, determined to phone their friend and find out what they did. Thoughts are not facts. That you think something does not make it true or real. Put emotions, feeling, rationale, and assigning motivations to people without the full facts, makes you react to situations that are not happening. Recognize that thoughts are not facts and learn to respond rather than react for a calmer heathier life

Elite mental training program

Lesson 13 – Mindfulness

Mindfulness means we become present in the moment, aware of one’s actions and environment. Becoming mindful we begin to see the world as it is, not as we expect it to be or what we fear it might become. There is a close link to Zanshin (awareness) and it is contained in Mushin (no mind) . ….

As students we aim to be mindful in our training at all times and to extend that mindfulness to all areas of our everyday lives. It takes continued practice to make this become second nature. Proper correct training leads to increased mindfulness, ideal for daily living and being aware of threats around us.

This week we start our Dojo Kun(rules) Program.
3-5 mins mat chat in each class dealing with one of our 25 Dojo Rules. Most club’s rules involve no eating, no spitting, no shouting etc.

Elite Karate Academy’s Program teaches our students that through hard work and self belief they can make any dream come true. It also covers mental health aspects of basic Zen training and teaches our students to be caring, compassionate and strong willed individuals.

Lesson one teaches the first rule of all karate: KARATE NI SENTE NASHI, there is no 1st attack in Karate, either mentally, physically or spiritually. Karate is for self defence only, to be used to protect yourself or others but in daily life as an aid to improve ourselves and the world around us.

Students of karate grow to become better balanced and higher functioning versions of themselves. The goal to become the most authentic versions of themselves, free from delusions like fear, ego, doubt, greed etc. By becoming better, we do better, and we can influence the world around us by modelling better social interactions and inspiring others.