Perspectives by Elaine Johnston
You have got to understand what you do when your training. Understanding is an acknowledgement of resolution. What I mean by this is, if you are just going through the motions because everyone else is’ you’re not fully immersing yourself into the learning aspect and the personalisation of your art. Acknowledgement resolves your need for understanding so when you have accomplished this you can practise techniques with more purpose and intensity. When you have understood why you do what you do with conviction, you can inject enough intention into it to make it feel more realistic, giving it more self expression. The more confident you become with your techniques the more likely you are to be expressive. To me this is like making big bold movements with character, drama, controlled aggression and intention. Doing things like this has improved my level of proficiency.
I believe that the more proficient you become the more able you are to apply it. I have no doubt in my mind that I would be capable of applying my art in a real physical conflict situation which is what I started Karate for in the first place all those years ago. It has taken me many years of trial and error to get where I am today and my fascination with the spiritual aspect of the art has given me some extraordinary insights that have added fascination to my life. I used to get very nervous when asked to stand in front of the class and perform Kata because I worried what the other students would think of me. This was until my Instructor Sensei John Johnston said to me “I don’t know why you worry, all the other students are stood worrying about themselves getting up and doing it and looking foolish, they’re not thinking what you think they’re thinking”. After that I realised that what he said was very true.
I can now get up in front of the class and do Kata without feeling foolish or worrying that I may forget something as I know we are all in the same boat. I don’t mind if the other students see me make a mistake because I believe that it’s OK to make mistakes as long as you’re trying your best to get it right. With this new mindset I was able to learn without self restrictions. This is very important if you want real progress. Your Karate can only feel real to you if you make it real by allowing yourself unrestricted access to it and it unrestricted access to you. Anyone going along to a class and going through the motions without really understanding what it is they’re doing are only going through the motions. It’s not real, and if they go along to the class because they want to be able to defend themselves, they will never feel able to do this if they are just going through the motions. So don’t be afraid to ask yourself the question “why am I really doing this” and ask it in everything you do.