Monday, August 18, 2014

The peace of Karate 
Not the kind of a documentary that seems appealing at first but as I watched on, it grew on me. I had a short stint with Karate and have a soft corner for this hard sport. I therefore sat through the initial phase of the documentary that I did not find that great. This documentary by Nicholas Pettas, a 20 year veteran of competitive karate takes us on a journey to Okinawa, the birthplace of karate and to discover it's simple tenets of peace. There they practice the most lethal forms and moves alongside gaining the utmost control to avoid conflict. Even to apologize and never to attack till the last minute, till you're in no doubt that your life is in danger.

"The strength to not use strength may be the greatest strength of all" --

It's about the endurance of self-control of the mind and spirit and they train to with the will that they will in all probability, never use their physical strength. This was exemplified by one Master, Choshin Chibana, who is said to have been attacked by gang of 4 men, because of his popularity as a karate expert, but refused to retaliate despite getting severely beaten as he was convinced that he was sure that his life was not in danger. The men ultimately relented and apologized.

The Okinawan style embodies a tenet that you should have the courage to apologize and give way to your opponent and never to hurt or kill. This is so contrary to the martial arts that we're shown or the image that we have of it in our minds. Sure Karate is about hardening your bones on stones, about being able to kill with a single punch or kick but the Okinawan aspect of it shed light on it's aspect of utter humility, going to the extent of bearing resemblance to the Apologists.

This is so diametrically opposed to the valour of ancient savagery from both the East and West. To different from the hubris of being adept at martial skills, the examples of which are replete in comic books as well as  several religious text.

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