Thought for the Week

By William Kolbert
Westport Karate Club

Raising The Level

There is a saying that Karate is 90% mental and 10% physical. I would like to focus on one example of this mental training. What does it mean to raise the level and how do we accomplish this?

Each time one of us steps onto the deck we must strive to be aware of the energy level that surrounds us. If we notice that the other deshi are waiting for class to start by greeting one another or loosely stretching, we should find one of our training partners and start practicing Kata. Once the class has started every deshi should be looking to raise the level of energy on the deck as opposed to allowing us to be pulled up by the rest of the class.

Once you have a class where everyone is trying to raise the classes level we each feed off of each other's energy and "sparks fly." This is a feeling that we all have experienced during our training. While we always have an instructor who is formally leading the class, we also are constantly passing the leadership of the class to one another. We do this in many ways: the way we line up, the way we demonstrate courtesy to one another during a given class, the way each of us count as the count moves from deshi to deshi, as well as through the vocalization of our kiai.

Challenge yourself to lift the level of the class.

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