Begin with respect

 Do not forget that karate-do begins and ends with rei.

-first guiding principle of karate, Gichin Funakoshi

In my kata practice, as well as turns, kicks, strikes I practice my karate face. My aim is that of St Michael.  I thought of twisting up my face when, say, unscrewing a tight jar- why on earth should I do that? Perhaps because I am harnessing my emotional being to increase my effort. But in opening the jar, I make a single muscular effort and sustain it until the task is complete. In sparring or fighting, I want fast fluid responses in the moment, to the actual strike not a single fear-based response to The Situation, which might slow me down.

We begin with rei, the bow, which is respect for my surroundings- the possible “million enemies”, and for myself in it, me in my place, where I fit. Sometimes I find that the bow itself changes my thought and perception. The sixth guiding principle is,

The mind must be set free

which is explained as searching for the lost mind, that new and old way of simply responding in the moment, and then letting the mind go free wherever it will, neither becoming attached to nor restrained by things. First find that way of perceiving, then permit it.

Possibly that was what Jesus was thinking of

Blessed are the meek, 

for they shall inherit the Earth

Meekness is not servility. I seek to take my part, my place, here, now, without distracting thoughts of my rôle. I seek to respond to the world as it is, with Respect. Sustaining this in the face of the opponent is my challenge.

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