Part One: Questions
Which is the most difficult journey someone can manage? Is it a physical trip or a spiritual and of mental weaving?
It certainly is hard for someone to answer these questions. Maybe, the real answer is not what we may have expected. Maybe, in the end the journey to be by itself the vessel that carries us to the world of self-consciousness.
Part Two: Phantoms of the Mind
Things of course, are not so simple as may have considered since everywhere in the depths of our mind enemies exist. Enemies that bear the mask of difficulty and logic. Demons who whisper softly in our ear…‛you can’t…it’s not you…’, and from time to time they seem to be our best friends.
I remember asking my Teacher, who are why fighting in the end, when we are trying to surpass the limits that we have set to ourselves. The answer startled me and a sparkle lit in my soul while hearing it. “You know”…, he said,…“in fact there are no enemies or demons. Only one person is hiding behind all those frightening faces and it’s no other than our own self”.
Part Three: Land & Water
A student is like an uncultivated field and has no notion of what can bloom from inside. Only the Teacher can perceive that in the same way a farmer knows when and how to cultivate the plants that he desires. Karate is just the water that runs through the ditches of the field and waters the soil, offers the nutritive ingredients and suddenly….all kinds of beautiful and useful things grow in this field. But it is more than that.
You see, except of all the useful things in the ground, weeds grow as well. Unwanted behaviors or erroneous perceptions. And how would you describe a farmer who takes care of his field to be clear, so good things grow and develop? You would say he is a good farmer, a wise farmer.
Part Four: The art
There is no doubt that as human beings we are deeply defective. Although, through our art, we touch the Divine. We are filtered flawless genius, even for a few moments.
Moments in which the mind is being tested more intensely than the body. Because the diseases of the mind and the beasts that hide in it, are the most hard to tame. Is anyone of us perfect? Of course not. But if I have been taught only one thing from my Teacher all these years, is never…to quit. I have no such right or is something that I would like to be characterized for. I continue no matter the pain and the exhaustion. I continue in life, no matter the flowing tears. Because that’s the way it must be∙ because that’s how I become a better human.
Part Five: Virtues
Years and patience can lead you to places that you have never believed in reaching. From the dark mists of your mind to the root of the tree of tradition in Far East. It’s a trip of spiritual quest.
The distance is great and the habits foreign. But, something deeply human is awakened in your soul and rings like a bell that wakes you up early in the morning and thrills you inside. It’s a matter of a deep human need of self-realization which comes through lethargy and twilight and looks intensely through your eyes, directly into your soul.
I will never forget the gaze of the Japanese Teacher. It penetrated you like a clear ray of light that comes through a cloudy sky. Cherry blossom that falls on a frozen lake surface in a winter landscape. And nothing from all those would have been feasible if the Teacher and the Dojo did not exist. Our Dojo, our everyday prayer book. There fighting our demons.
I don’t know if someone has ever been in a Dojo. A real Dojo. In a place of the heart. Clear, tranquil and free of the problems that deplore people. The place where passions take a physical form and with the help of the Teacher you are called to destroy them. To crash them in a way so never to rise again. You are the needle and the thread and the Teacher is the hand that drives you through the weaver. You might not always know why you do something, but as the needle passes at seemingly random points, so you too ignorant of the kind of art which you implement with your effort. These tangible and true results you can see in your everyday life. Sometime though, you see those results when you recall what you have learnt.
Part Seven: Perspiration
On the examination, you take a peek to what is hiding in the reflexes and in your soul-you always discover something that you were not expecting. Like a child that takes a peek over the stairs, in the attic of the house full of awe and mystery without knowing for certain if what will be discovered is a hidden treasure or hidden monsters. However, this by itself is a journey to self-awareness. And you are not alone. Because you have your Teacher and the extended family of Dojo with you. You have what they say ″Nakama″- companions and fellow-travelers in a common course.
What is Karate? A way of life? An art? Current water or falling petals? It’s all that and more. What is this ″more″?... This is something for everyone to discover for oneself.