Contributors offers insight into the non-physical side of the Martial Arts, often ignored when discussing self-defense.

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Postby stephen mcnally » Wed Feb 02, 2005 10:57 pm

Hi all.

I was talking to some fellow students earlier this week and we were discussing adding 'spirit' to kata, as discreet from strength.

I personally found it difficult to articulate the concept and just wondered if anybody would venture their description of 'spirit'.

The beauty is, it's one of those questions to which there is no wrong answer :D


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Its one of those things

Postby gmattson » Thu Feb 03, 2005 12:46 am

that most will recognize when they see it.
"Do or do not. there is no try!"
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Postby Stryke » Thu Feb 03, 2005 1:53 am

I think spirit is the combination of all elements that make a strong performance combined with art and exspression .

the essense of self expression in the from of beauty .

art as in creativity and beauty , making the performance greater than the performer , as in a painter creating a beauty that is more than the artist could ever express directly .

this is the art of MA , its the exspression of inspiration

and true evidence of Bhuddahood :wink: 8)

Postby stephen mcnally » Thu Feb 03, 2005 9:13 am

Its one of those things that most will recognize when they see it.

I agree entirely. But.... how would you describe it ? :?

making the performance greater than the performer

I think that's a very good description.

Any more ?

I personally described, in relation to adding spirit to a given kata, that it demonstrated the desire and belief that the technique would achive it's goal as well as an element of intent and intensity.

As you can see, I felt that there must be a better way to articulate it than that.
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Postby jorvik » Thu Feb 03, 2005 11:48 pm

Well you said Kata, so that's different from technique :D
I hate the old clips of posturing Japs..screaming their heads off and breaking pieces of wood ( baked and along the grain :oops: )....or launching themselves from 30feet away :cry:( :lol: :lol: )......I think spirit is when you truly know the spirit of the kata, all the techniques,bunkai,permutations...and you are able to relax, take the kata at your own pace and with confidence as an expression of what you do, and not as a representation of some philosophy that somebody else has , but true values that you have..........hard to explain I guess :roll: ..........but I've seen old Iado masters or old Chinese TC masters.even old Okinawan Masters doing their art ....and it was "them" moving, but at the same time representing something higher.......although to them, they were just moving 8)

Postby stephen mcnally » Fri Feb 04, 2005 9:02 am

jorvik wrote:hard to explain I guess :roll: ..........

Exactly :lol:
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Postby jorvik » Fri Feb 04, 2005 8:04 pm

Most folks, or a lot anyway, think that anger or aggressiveness is Spirit, I don't think that it is. The Chinese have a term "Yi" which means intent.so you have stuff like Hsing-i and I-Chuan, ( "I" can be "Yi".I think) anyway the idea of intention is very important to an Internal stylist because it is where he will concentrate his mind or focus.as an example if somebody grabs your wrist, the usual thing is that you focus on your wrist and try to pull it away :roll: , now in CIMA ( Chinese Internal Martial Arts) this is a big NoNo...your YI should be in your elbow, because if you move that, you can escape the hold but in your wrist and you have lost, that is just a very basic example, and I am certainly no expert in this just an enthusiastic learner :lol: ..............which is great in one way, because I am getting older I will probably never exhaust my study of IMCA, but frustrating because at times it is very difficult to grasp.....then again there is the tale of the peasant who insults a Samurai ( by stepping on his shadow or some other sch*t) and the samurai challenges him to a duel, the guy panics and goes to visit the old samurai who is the head of his village....this old guy tells him to go put his affairs in order, and say his goodbyes to his wife and family, think about his life and accept that he will die, and to come back tomorrow....................not the type of stuff that you want to hear, he goes back the next day and the old swordmaster tells him that although he will surely die there is the possibility that he can take his enemy with him, what he must do is this ...........the old man takes three stones and places them about three feet apart, he must raise his sword above his head and rush forward, at the first stone he must began his kiai, and the second it will howl like a ghost, at the third as he brings his sword down he must shout so loud that he can wake the hordes of hell......and sadly this will be the end of his life :cry: :cry: .because all though he may take his enemy with him he will die also ...............that last movement must have all the importance of the last moment of the universe.........................I have heard various endings to this tale :D ....but I will say this, we all must die, we don't know when or where......and maybe we will get the chance to test our spirit then as we face a life ending disease, or like those poor folks on the planes at 9/11.........would that be anger/acceptance/sacrifice :? ..really don't know....very difficult question.........can you put that into a kata if it was your last moment on earth :wink:

Postby Rick Wilson » Sat Feb 05, 2005 4:16 am

jorvik: Excellent!!!! Just ... wow.
Rick Wilson

Postby jorvik » Sat Feb 05, 2005 6:40 am

Thanks Rick :)

Postby maxwell ainley » Tue Feb 08, 2005 12:30 am

We are all in very good company ,to me you are all full of spirit .
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Postby KerryM » Fri Mar 25, 2005 5:37 pm

Ready for something a little more un-orthodox? :) :) :)

Why do we have the pictures of the Uechi's in our dojo?
Why do we clap to them at the end of class?

Because their SPIRIT might be hanging around- (:) )

There is spirit as in passion that is a very human carbon body thing-

but I equate that kind of spirit with the mind- because the mind determines the amount of "passion" or "emotion" (again mind thing) to add or take away- when taken in that context.

So spirit in my personal opinion- in regards to "adding" it to kata- you can't because it is already there- whether or not people practice in thinking that way is the question :) to me anyway-

mind 33.3 % body 33.3% then the "spirit" another 33.3 %

this makes up the "whole" of the SELF. right? So in my opinion- to add spirit to kata- is to intend that your "soul" get involed as well- or some of it anyway :)

Your mind can tell you to passionately strike- your mind can tell you to "put more effort" into it-

still doesn't bring your spirit into it-

So to me in my opinion- to bring spirit into the practice of karate is to consciously "decide" that your soul will particpate in a way that will help to create a better union between the carbon mind and body- (implication of three conflicts there)

this will become enhanced as you advance in your practice and develope an excellent "sanchin" where the electrical currents will run as they should through said carbon body- thus creating a more "zen" like state of mind-

during kata practice- with a "zen" like state of mind- (however/and where ever you find your personal zan is all good) your "spirit" can participate as well-

increasing the over all health of your body and practice etc. etc.

Did I get that out all ok? :)

So it isn't religious/ or a religion type thing I mean but a practice in being spiritual-

that to me completes the package.... personal ideas there- :)

Nice to see the topic :)

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Postby KerryM » Fri Mar 25, 2005 5:44 pm

Re-read my post and the question- and this : [quote]as discreet from strength.

implies that you were asking about spirit as in "effort"-

so in that context to add spirit to kata is to perfect the form and then do it quickly- to the best of your ability at the time- then- add in how you react to mistakes- within said kata-

reaction to mistakes- (how they are handled)

attitude toward kata-

how it's opened-

how it's closed-

and the developement of the isometric muscle pressure thing- (devlopment as is awareness of and "doing" it)

I'm so not a technical medical stuff person so please forgive the crudeness there- lol-

But that would be the strength context avenue that I would offer-

in my opinion and thus far in my study- :)

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Postby maxwell ainley » Sat Mar 26, 2005 11:29 am

Great stuff Kerry.

Sanchin eventually can become three things moving to gether as one ,but the problem is becoming as one .........as mentioned we are full of spirit ,but there is a technical problem attached to this it can be dormant in degree's of wakefullness ,a real idea how to awaken ;is via movement ,forinstance if we take a idea in ,it either moves towards this whatever degree of dormant we happen to live in and jolts it ,in this case we have movement ,yet in another case we may encounter no movement .

A observational point or exercise ;means we can start to close watch ;if this idea is on the move ,or as we develop a series of ideas are on the move to jolt the spirit into action .
The reason I say this ,is before we can create a triad of energies mind /body/spirit moving as one .the mind as to be set into motion ,the body is in motion ,so we are full of spirit but its not on the move ,by the way I don't mean no ones spirit is not on the move ,I have just used it as a sort of bottam line statement .

My mind wants to train ,do movement ,but my body is too tired ,I just can't drag myself out of the comfort of the chair ,observational point : at this point in my training there is a massive inbalance ,the body as used more energy than the mind ,the mind as not been moving hardly in my training ,yet later in training curves my mind is very tired ,but my body wants movement ,but my mind can't focus it lacks energy ;Observational point a struggle must now balance these two misuses of energy ,so that they can unite to further jolt spirit ,in this manner there is movment towards a triad of energies mind body spirit moving as one .
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Postby maxwell ainley » Mon Mar 28, 2005 10:51 am

In this struggle to balance out the mind body lopsided tendancies swinging first one way then the other ,or very heavy one way ,there is no easy way to do this .But the main point is now I am fully aware of my problem .

To believe is sometimes easier than to observe.

So this is were the real struggle starts ;to observe ,but if we are doing little or no movement as our habit we will have little or no observational material ,yet paradoxically I always start someone on little movement ,there is movement though ,and its going to be repeated ,so because its minimal yet its given maximum attention the spirit is made to come to attention .

Whats really happening here is the basis of what I term exelerated learning ,you can gradually over years learn mass material ,yet never come close to this exelerated starting post ,this starting post only appears when this lopsided swing either way is seen and is now going to be addressed .
To move now from this starting point with what I call real commitment involves a massive struggle ,but special prior knowledge already know by me gave impetus to first of all move myself in its direction ,then later provide further detailed knowledge to teach ,this teaching must come from the heart of my being .
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Postby KerryM » Tue Apr 26, 2005 9:42 pm


I've missed your posts Max- :)

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