The Quantum Karateka

…step outside the dojo.


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Note to self #2

You have a choice James.

What are you going to do?

You can write down those ideas all day. Fine tweaking them, mulling over them, erasing, deleting, adding….whatever. You can do that all day.

But those ideas aren’t any good unless you act on them.

Think about it for a second….

You have a choice and you have one life.

That’s it. ONE life. The only time you will exist in physical form on this planet.

WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO WITH THAT TIME?

When you wake up in the morning, what work do you want to be going to? What work do you want to be involved with? What is it that you want to be doing?!

Yes, some things take time to develop. You may not be able, physically, mentally, emotionally, psychologically, etc to do the thing or things you want to be doing at this moment. Of course.

But we’re not concerned about that now.

We’re talking about the life you were given and the time you have left to contribute towards it.

You have a choice and you have one life.

To be an artist or an automaton.

To do what you believe in or to do what others tell you.

You will NEVER have this chance again.

– QK

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Karate and Religion

For those wondering, I do not equate karate with being a religion. Although, for those that do, I think “cult” is the more appropriate word.

Just wanted to pass on a piece of wisdom here that, much like this previous quote, says much about the direction of karate and martial arts generally in the 21st century:

“Honor the tradition but expand the understanding. That’s what religions must do right now if they hope to be helpful to humans in the years ahead.”
Neale Donald Walsch

Honor the tradition

but expand the understanding.

That’s what karate must do right now

if it hopes to be helpful to humans in the years ahead.

Oh yeah.

– QK

 


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Teachers are everywhere

This is something that’s been on my mind for a while now. Even more so now in Oakland as I’ve searched around for martial arts teachers and schools.

You know that phrase “Those who can’t do teach”…?

Bullshit.

haha. Yeah, I mean seriously though. Who came up with that phrase anyway? I believe knowing how to teach is as equally as important as the doing. There are plenty of “doers” out there who can’t teach worth shit. And there are plenty of “teachers” out there who also can’t teach worth shit.

Why do I sound so harsh?

It’s because teachers are freakin’ important man! Any “doer” first had a teacher. And teaching to me is not simply a brain dump where knowledge is regurgitated into the willing student. Teaching to me is probably one of the most delicate processes a person can experience. To teach another human being something, a skill, a theory, an activity, etc. requires patience and focused attention. In addition, the teacher must also be attentive to the particular needs of the student, their inherent strengths, their mental weak spots. Teaching is a transmission, a sharing of knowledge, of ideas. It is an intimate relationship between teacher and learner. Without a teacher, whether they be human or in nature, there is no gateway, no opportunity for the student to potentially expand their horizons.

If you’ve ever read “Tales of Okinawa’s Great Masters” (which is a great book by the way; and ridiculously priced on Amazon for some reason), or if you think about famous martial artists like Bruce Lee, what is common to all of them is that they started with a teacher. Someone had to initiate them into the learning process. Even self-starters, self-learners like Okinawan karate legend Choki Motobu for example, eventually had a relationship with a teacher. And both Lee and Motobu eventually became teachers themselves.

Another phrase comes to mind: “When you’re ready to learn, a teacher appears.” To me that articulates the importance of first knowing in your heart what it is that you seek to understand. So, the learner too is equally as important in this process, because without their enthusiasm for learning, the teacher has no “job”. And perhaps, the right teachers appear for the right student…? I don’t know. I’m struggling with that one. I’ve come across some lousy teachers, who while extremely knowledgeable, seem to lack interpersonal skills. So I keep wondering to myself, “maybe this martial arts stuff just ain’t for me? Maybe I’m doing something that is inauthentic to who I am which results in finding teachers who seem to dislike me?”. I guess I’m thinking this because I am of the belief that if one follows their heart, their bliss, they come to find like-minded souls on the journey. Not to say there won’t be assholes, but that they radiate an enthusiasm for learning that catches the eye of the right teacher.

Oof. Maybe I don’t really know what I’m talking about. What I really just wanted to articulate in this post is that teachers are extremely important. Their necessity and their ubiquity is probably why public school teachers for example, are so undervalued. Teachers become babysitters for busy working parents to drop their kids off with. It’s like we’re thinking of schools as some little factory where you put your child on a production line and hope that they come out successful. We never think, “Hmmm. I wonder what goes on in that classroom? What is it that they’re learning? What is the relationship between my child and the teacher?” Okay, maybe some parents definitely think that, but I mean for the most part it seems to be that teachers are entrusted with a task that so few parents (and perhaps even the teachers themselves!) really understand.

Teaching is the greatest vocation in life, though now it is the most despised; it is the highest, the noblest of callings. But the teacher must be utterly dedicated, he must give himself to it completely, he must teach with his heart and mind, with his whole being; and out of that dedication things are made possible.

Krishnamurti

– QK