what does karate teach us?

Posted on: Sat, 12/09/2006 - 21:43 By: Tom Swiss

Posted to the CyberDojo:

"Daisy Heskett" (address elided) writes:

> Does karate "really" teach us not to fight? Is it more
> of a thing where a karate person knows the limitations
> of what they can do whereas a street fighter wants to know
> his? So the street fighter will be more willing to fight not
> knowing he can kick his butt kicked.

Hopefully a karate student has given a lot of thought about what's
worth fighting over, and has come to the conclusion that not many of
things that people fight about are worth it.

> What does karate change in us and by what means does it do that?

What gets changed depends on what the student and the teacher want
to change.

As for how it does it, I believe that budo is an effective means of
personal transformation because it taps the primal energy of survival.
This is what distinguishes it from sports, arts, ritual, and other means
of transformation: budo brings you right up close and personal with

I hope this isn't too politically incorrect, but consider that
there are various systems of personal transformation that use sexual
energy - tantric yoga, Taoist sexual magic, religious celibacy (as
opposed to the involuntary "can't get a date" sort :-) ), and so on. If
we can harness sexual energy for spiritual transformation (that it,
transforming our relationships with ourselves and with the universe),
why not survival energy?

-- Tom Swiss / tms(at)infamous.net / www.infamous.net / www.unreasonable.org
"What's so funny about peace, love, and understanding?" - Nick Lowe
"Power to the Peaceful" - Michael Franti