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Time and Attainment

An interesting point to ponder – Shorin Ryu Sensei, R. Dauphin, writes on time and attainment…

How Do You Spend Your Time?

With the right amount of time all things are attainable. Initially most karateka feel clumsy, awkward and self-conscious. What can change this predicament is properly invested time. With twenty years of dedicated well-balanced time, the beginner can transform themselves into a karate master. The hardest part of karate mastery is investing the right amount of time in the proper place. The greatest danger lies in spending time foolishly because eventually time runs out.

Most beginner karateka have a hard time even lining up straight let alone executing a proper technique. Five years of properly invested time will change this. In five years, the beginner can go from being awkward and clumsy to being able to perform hundreds of intricate techniques. Eventually, these techniques are not only executed physically, but a certain amount of mind and spirit become present. The initial investment of five years will give most karateka ten basics, sixteen kata, a fairly advanced level of sparring and a rudimentary understanding of history and philosophy.

If the aforementioned can be achieved in five years, then what would happen if the karateka doubled the time they invested? With ten years of balanced time, the karateka should know the above on a much deeper level. A knowledge of Bunkai, history, and philosophy should be strongly rooted. Techniques should no longer be mindful repetitions but should slowly become part of the karateka. Investing ten years time should forge a strong spirit which reveals itself in everything the karateka does.

Let’s double the invested time again. Twenty years of properly invested time can produce a student who has a broad knowledge of the entire Shorin Ryu system. With twenty years of invested time, a karateka should be able to perform their karate with a very advanced level of body, mind and spirit. A person who trains for twenty years can call karate theirs because with that amount of time karate should become part of them. In executing techniques, thought should no longer be necessary. Twenty years of training should fuse the body, mind and spirit into one entity which shows itself in the sensei tries to teach you to spend time in these endeavours not only physically but mentally and spiritually. How many times during class does the sensei call for more spirit and how many times have push ups been done to remind the karateka to spend their time properly?

The karateka must balance their time correctly. To properly progress, all areas of karate must be trained. For example, if a karateka spends all of their time training their physical side how can they make any significant mental or spiritual gains? All areas of the being must be trained and progress together or the balance of body, mind and spirit will be thrown into disarray.

The key to spending time wisely and making balanced progress is honesty. Every karateka has problem areas, the solution to this is to spend more time in training the areas you do not excel in. Training your problem areas will bring them into balance with the rest of your karate. How often does the karateka who is weak in kata but strong in kumite spend time training kata? Their kata is probably trained very little because they want to train what they are good at. The danger here is that the more progress a karateka makes in just one area, the more out of balance and weaker their karate becomes. Eventually, the karateka who trains on only one level will find themselves inferior to the karateka who has achieved a balance of body, mind and spirit. Honesty is the solution to this problem, identify problem areas and then spend the time necessary (sometimes years) to bring them into balance.

The error in not managing time properly, is that time will run out. If a person is lucky, they will spend ninety to one hundred years on this planet. It is tragic to waste any amount of this time, wasting your time is like throwing your life away. As Sensei Legacy always says, “Lost time can never be regained.” This does not mean a karateka can never relax or have fun, it just means that time should be managed according to the goals they have. If a person works hard and commits to everything they do then when they die they will have lived a full life.

With five, ten or twenty years of training, a great deal can be accomplished. Balanced training in all areas of karate will very likely produce a karateka with a deep understanding of not only the body but the mind and spirit as well. Time, honesty, dedication and intestinal fortitude are a must to achieve these goals. Without the aforementioned qualities, in twenty years nothing can be achieved except the wasting of a large amount of time. In karate, there are no one week wonders; if you hear someone say, “I could never be as good in karate as the sensei,” tell them to make the same statement after they have trained for twenty years.

The next time you fail a grading or do not perform as you feel you should, ask yourself;
How am I investing my time?

By R. Dauphin, Nidan

Categories: Drop in the Bucket
  1. thr33n0r
    November 21, 2008 at 11:38 pm

    A most excellent post, and one that applies to any pursuit. Thank you.

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