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Karate and Like-minded Souls

It has been quite a week already in the very short life of the Enso Shotokan Karate Club, since opening its doors for the first time on Sunday, 7th. We enjoyed some full-on training on Tuesday and I have been really pleased at the number of messages that I have received from Karateka across the UK and indeed beyond these shores, who have been kind enough to send messages of goodwill and support. What has also struck me has been the number of like-minded souls who have advocated the benefits of good, old-fashioned, traditional Shotokan Karate.

It has been both enlightening and enriching to realise that there is a strong core of people who enjoy training in a good old traditional style, with full respect paid to traditional discipline and etiquette. Also, what has been interesting, is that it is not just middle-aged blokes like me who have been subscribing to this process; it has been striking a chord with people of all sorts of ages and grades across the spectrum.

Maybe I was a bit too concerned with thinking that new martial arts had reduced the volume of clubs and dojos where old-school Karate was seen as an old hat and maybe was not as popular as it once was. Maybe this exercise has made me realise that there certainly is a place at the table for what we do and what we share.

What will also be interesting will be to see just what impact Karate being introduced at the next Olympics will have, again there are mixed views. Some suggest that it may breed a super-athlete type of person who will become skilled in the art of scoring points only, and not embrace kata or kihon. Interesting question. For my myself, I am hoping that it will inspire a new generation who will understand the bigger picture and get the real benefits of hard core Karate training where sweat and effort are the order of the day to help unravel the real treasures that sustained training can give the practitioner.

My other hope is this: in an age where young people are literally tech-savvy by the age of three, that parents will realise the benefits of good exercise, good etiquette and respect taught in a dojo environment in a world that for young people seems to be getting far more sedentary, with easy fast food and sweet drink options available at the touch of a button and the hand-held device is all domineering. I would advocate a very different hand-held device to install a better, fitter, lifestyle. My hand-held device is called an "empty hand" or, to give it a more formal name, Karate.


Sensei Birks

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