Don’t Cause Any Trouble, Ok?

 
 
While I was living in Japan, I was flipping through the TV one day when I stumbled upon a news program. The reporter was interviewing parents at an elementary school entrance ceremony and asked one father about what he wanted for his child’s future. His reply was interesting and contrasted sharply with what a North American parent might say.

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Kengaku

Kengaku, Vancouver, Karate, Kobudo, Kitsilano, Goju-ryu, Shotokan, Martial Arts, Kengaku
Yoshimura sensei checkign a student’s sanchin kata

Injuries, illness, burn-out and boredom happen to all Karate students and teachers from time to time during training. This doesn’t include the additional daily stresses we have in our lives with work and family which exacerbate things even more. It’s a miracle that some students can even come to practice at all! Yet in Japan and Okinawa you’re expected (within reason) to come to practice and watch even if you aren’t physically able to join in.

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Tradition in the Dojo

Tradition in the dojo

Japanese etiquette and terminology are part of the tradition in the dojo. But these traditions can be problematic when they are transplanted outside of Okinawa and Japan For myself, before I moved to Japan I was very much what you would describe as a “traditionalist” – kneeling bows, heavy Japanese terminology, kamidana, etc. But after living there for an extended period, learning the language, culture and customs, I came to have almost a different view on the value of tradition. (more…)

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