Kyoshi's Technique of the Week

Technique of the Week (August 13th, 2006)

Sensei Matt Kaplan,Shihan
Ueshiro Okinawan Karate Family Club
State College, PA


"To have Passai in the Back Pocket"

In our dojo, we warm up before training hard. However, we need to remain ready to go full speed and power with little or no notice. I would like to share a recent experience to make this point.

Last week, I was in Kuwana, Japan (located about 30 minutes from Nagoya) observing an intergenerational Olympics-type activity held at a large adult day care program. There were about 70 older adults, mostly in wheelchairs, and 20 children. After a series of sporting events, which included tug of war and blindfold smashing the watermelon, the center director who knew I trained karate asked me to do a demonstration. With little hesitation, I emptied my pockets, took off my shoes and did a demonstration of Passai. I made sure to keep my heels down and to kiai with spirit. Surprisingly, each kiai was followed by audience applause. I ended with a deep bow and this was followed with warm greetings and handshakes with some members of the audience.

I could have said no, but I'm sure I would have had profound regrets. By stepping up to the spot, I was able to step forward in my quest to learn and share more with these wonderful people. I felt I lived fully that day.

So here's my point: Whether it is to bridge world cultures and human experience, or to survive in a street encounter, we are better off when our training and mindset allows us to feel as though we have "Passai in our back pocket." This is what being ready means to me.

Domo arigato gozaimasu,
Matt Kaplan, Shihan
Ueshiro Okinawan Karate Family Club
State College, PA