Throwback… How far we got

A brief statement I wrote two years ago. We have come a long way, but finally succeded. We do not belong to any governing body, association, or federation. Our loyality lies with our honbu dojo in Okayama, Japan. We don’t need federations to interfere with our training by forcing politics and backscratching on us. Celebrate with me and comment, if you agree.

After fixing the dojo problem I will soon tend to a conceptional re-launch of the German Shushukan website.

For some time now, my teaching has changed from solely keeping up the traditions I was instructed in during my time in Japan to using the methods within these traditions to liberate oneself from the rigidity I faced when I started Karate training in Germany.

The still persisting structure of non-profit clubs in Germany – regulated by associations of the same legal format – led to a high penetration of Karate dojos throughout the country. Yet, it is this structure cementing the way Karate is taught, putting the wrong people to positions where they do as they please.

The tournament format of Karate – established in the 60ies and 70ies – is still (re)produced as state-of-the-art by those people. Thus producing images on Karate that are not only historically delicate. It gets even worse when certain body images are transported into a martial art, naturalizing aesthetic concepts of athletic bodies (and therefore beauty) as „healthy“, „functional“ or „better for fighting“. The medical and (sports) scientific facts behind this body perception is nothing but completely obsolete. But blocking body-orientated concepts – which are an important part in Japanese martial arts – just because they don’t fit into the old German tournament Karate, is the symptom and the reason for the general cuelessness in most formations of present day Karate.

This all is of course not a specific trait of German Karate people. It is a general German problem to reject change, be it innovations or re-conception, questioning and implementing improvement. Due to the political tradition of councils. Institutions and memberships in such political institutions have more agency than facts or skill, since skill is something determined by those councils. I had to experience this myself and by witnessing the things happening to my students while they went to seminars conducted by those people. But even on a communal scale new ideas tend to be no good idea, when established sports clubs mingle with the local authorities to exclude new clubs and offers.

Since returning form Japan I have fought against that: the councils‘ perception of Karate, the mindets, their destructive approach to the body, the political stupidity… First by using the present structures to implement change. But with the beginning of this year I have dropped these structures. It is time for a new course: That is establishing the fine art of Karate in fields that have not been wasted on political structures and ego-pushing dinosaurs.

Karate is a bodily art with the capacity of enrichening your life; with mind and body as one, forging them in the fire of practise. Not to go conform with a temporary standard of beauty but freeing yourselves from those standards blocking your way to excellence.

„Everything we do must come from our experience, our heart and our imagination.“

(Kazumasa Yokoyama)

The statement was orignally posted on Facebook on June 1, 2016.