Urgency in True Karate Dō

    From my book True Karate Dō: 

The time to decide what your life is worth is now. If you wait it will be too late. The world is changing. Everyone knows it. We try to stay on familiar ground. We try to orient like we always have. We hope the world we knew will come back. It wasn’t perfect. But there was good in it. … 

True Karate Dō is about what we can do to keep our lives our own, to get strong and skillful, to have a good effect on the people around us. This is an urgent matter.

Karate may seem an unlikely way to do that. What I show in this book is an unusual way to approach it. Some aspects of this material are completely new. Some are timeless. Because of both it works, it is revolutionary, and it is needed. 

True Karate Dō contains new insights in technique, showing dimensions of karate which have been missed. It shows a new approach to deep transformation through practicewhich has been a staple of the mystique of east Asian martial arts but which was unable to deliver on its promise. I believe I can show why, and what to do to fix that. 

True Karate Dō is written mainly for the people who practice Yamabayashi Ryu, the Mountain Forest stream of karate. You may want to use it now, or refer to it when you are ready to take some of the steps I am describing. Others who practice Shorin Ryu can apply this material directly. 

People who are devoted to any demanding pursuit will find this material relevant in its unique examination of what happens when we seek out and accept challenges which deepen our insight, broaden our experience, and increase our ability, for as long as we live. 

The title True Karate Dō does not mean that I teach true karate and other people don’t.  It points to the aim of the book, which is to define what true karate dō might be. You may already be doing it. Excellent. This book will help clarify and deepen what you do. 

The title True Karate Dō was given to a short piece that I wrote years ago. It was an outline of my vision of karate. The title was given to my essay by Zen Master Sogen Sakiyama, Roshi, of Shuri, Okinawa, Japan. Because he felt so strongly about its message Sakiyama Roshi translated what I wrote into Japanese, and circulated it in the karate community on Okinawa and to his students and followers abroad. 

Sakiyama Sogen, as Karateka and Roshi 

I did not use the title True Karate Dō for that piece. I would not have presumed to do it. But in light of Sakiyamaʼs life of accomplishment, his global stature, and his influence as the leading proponent of Zen-budo on Okinawa, I accepted his imprimatur with gratitude.  

That brief essay was written years ago, as I imagined how deep and practical karate could be. I pursued that path. This book outlines the results, and the prescription for action which come from those results.  

This prescription for effective practice is urgently needed at this time when the forces of disorder are rising. Good people need a way to stay strong and do right. True Karate Dō is a way.

***Post by Jeff Brooks, author of True Karate Dō, instructor, Yamabayashi Ryu, Mountain Karate, Saluda, NC

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