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Positional Coincidence

By Michael Mackay, Chief Instructor
Midtown Karate Dojo, NY, NY

"Kata begins at one point and ends at the same point so that symmetry of position, as well as movement, is upheld..." So Grand Master Shoshin Nagamine describes a universal principle handed down by the great composers of our kata. Balance achieved through cyclical movement is one of the key precepts of nature, unifying the sciencesand religions of the world.

Returning to our starting point - coming full circle - not only preserves symmetry: it forces us to question, "What has changed?"  During each technique we "move forward" yet look where the kata
leaves us: right where we started. Progress, if any, had to occur within, the result of our fleeting experiences with adversity - both imaginary and real - our exposure to moments of struggle, triumph, delusion, clarity. Are we left exhausted and humiliated or inspired and renewed?  New Year's, like all holidays and anniversaries, provides a similar opportunity for reflection. Did we live each day with full commitment, or were we distracted by irrelevant events and concerns? Are we ending the year with a sense of accomplishment, of harmony restored, or do we feel beaten down by time and the forces of indifference?  By practicing kata we subject ourselves, like the early astronomers, to a humbling realization: we are not the center of the universe. But Shorin-Ryu, under the direction of Grand Master Ansei Ueshiro, can help us locate and navigate by our own polar star. The end of our last kata leaves us poised for the next, at the edge of a personal millennium.

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