Words by Shidoshi Nathan Ingram & Shihan Glen Beck
The definition of the (Japanese) word, Karate, in its simplest form means “empty” (Kara), and “hand” (Te): empty hand. However, watching any of the thousands of movies available we know that weapons are also a large part of the use of karate. When it comes to its exact origins the world will debate endlessly that it was created in many different countries and centuries. As much as I’m up for the great debate about this, the truth is that I, like most of you, would be guessing because none of us were born yet and weren’t standing there at its inception. I feel that even scholars, on this, or any subject would argue their views to exhaustion. So, let’s get away from its point of origin(s), and talk about what we think karate is to us; keeping in mind that our thoughts on the matter extend to all of the arts by any name that can be practiced.
The discussions that I’ve had, read about or overheard with my teachers, contemporaries, or others were all far-ranging. In the decades of my life being integrated into the arts, and from every aspect in my younger years while I was a student, instructor, mentor, or warrior, differs some from the wisdom I gained when I got older and began walking a path of enlightenment. That’s just to say that I strive to be a better person each day than I was the day before. When I look in the mirror, I just want to know that I’m a good example for my students.
Some of the first things that come to mind concerning karate are words like discipline, confidence, fitness, and self-defense; all of which I believe to be true. However, as a Karateka what else comes to mind? In my opinion, thinking as altruistically as possible, being an honorable, caring, honest, person with high moral standards that our students can look up to are paramount when obtaining the title of teacher, and doing so without arrogance, or ego…. (Continued in the 5th Edition Magazine.) Use discount code DEADLYART10 to get 10 percent off when you checkout.
Teacher, and always a student
Karate to me is like the gospel, a spiritual walk in a world with many pit falls. I have always said it was a gift from God. When I look back on the few times the skills of karate saved my life, that is very clear to me. Many practitioners want to be respected in a spiritual manner yet, will say the two have nothing to do with each other. If we give this a close look ,you can see most great practitioners in karate are loved and respected for thier advice, spiritual and wisdom alike. My Sensei once told me (John, Understand if you can not justify taking a life to God – you are forbidden to take it). We as practitioners of karate, are here to help people become better Individuals, better mothers and fathers, better brothers and sisters, better friends for humanity. It’s why people all over the world want to join a Dojo.