Thought For The Week

Thought for the Week (July 20th, 2003)

From Michael Mackay, Go-dan, Midtown Karate Dojo

In light of the many special events this summer, the thought for the week is "ichigo ichie," a concept perfected in the traditional tea ceremony and applied on select occasions to the martial arts. Ichigo ichie is the simple yet elegant philosophy that every single encounter between two individuals never repeats itself in a life time.

As warriors, ichigo ichie describes the finality with which we face our opponent and ensure the "single encounter" never recurs. At demonstrations, students show ichigo ichie by preparing a bunkai or break they will perform only once. In class, ichigo ichie means training with your fellow deshi as if the opportunity may never arise again.

Ichigo ichie is the yin complement to our core concept of repetition. It requires creativity and a deep consideration for our opponent / audience / training partner. It cultivates an appreciation for preparedness and the sacred traditions of our art. It also reminds us that with proper respect and sincerity, we may transform any situation - whether on the street or on the spot - into a unique and momentous occasion.

Domo Arigato Gozaimasu, Hanshi,

Michael Mackay, Go-dan, Midtown Karate Dojo