The myth of Karate / Prof. Bernard Mathieu , Godan
If you never practiced karate, and even if you have, perhaps you believe that by doing so you will become invulnerable, some kind of superperson who will later grow very wise as so often shown in karate films.However, this is a myth, for karate is an art and not magic, and like any other art it has a technical side and a creative side. Of course, as in the case of other arts there are different approaches, different schools, and you may have heard such names as : Shotokan, Wado-Ryu, Shotokaï, Shito Ryu, Goju-Ryu, etc… These are merely historical avatars in an activity which basically should remain one.In any case you must be aware of the fact that you will not become invulnerable for each encounter contains an element of risk that may entail losing. You will improve through practice, and only through practice, but still with imperfections and weaknesses, for we are all humans.
Choosing a club ?
Before choosing a club there are some points which you must consider :If you dream of competitions, medals and rewards, and you are entirely free to do so, then do not join our group for this is not our goal ! We are not against the concept of competition as such, for it exists in all fields of human activities, but in the case of karate, and under the form it now takes, competition has killed any possibility of technical improvement as it is completely disconnected from reality.On another hand, if you are really interested in studying all aspects of karate, then we may have something to offer you.Our approach implies a study of the biomechanics and muscular chains involved, as well as an analysis of the real meaning of such notions as concentration, communication and timing.If you are ready to spend years studying these different points, then in this case we will be happy to welcome you.
What can Master Harada's approach bring you ?
He belongs to the line of masters who refused to confine themselves in rigid conventions but preferred a more dynamic and pragmatic attitude.It is not by simply mimicking attitudes from another culture that one can hope to achieve anything. Japanese people can at times be excessive in their hierarchical behavior and attitudes towards their seniors, and this is often not conducive to the development of an activity and to the process of research by questioning.An instructor is not some kind of death camp officer who pretends to know everything and hides his ignorance behind foreign words which he mixes with cheap esoteric philosophy.Black belts are not gods to be feared, but rather partners who are trying to work on the same themes, and who, even if they have progressed a little further than mere beginners, must admit that their faults and failures, if they are a little less obvious, are none the less there.The instructor must keep well away from stereotyped behavior, ceremonial or military rigidity, to encourage an atmosphere of true research and personal involvement, rather than forcing people to copy artificially meaningless attitudes and gestures.He must be able to show, demonstrate the points he is trying to teach, as well as link them to logical explanations rather than obscure philosophical declarations.Practical demonstrations have nothing to do with brutality against beginners which again is often only a way to hide the instructor's own misunderstanding and fears.A real master does not have to use unnecessary violence against his pupils, but he must show them that he himself is ready to take whatever risks are involved.A real master can go beyond technique and express his personality through creation.
Technical training must be introduced progressively, helping the student to understand the way his body and mind function, and certainly not by repeating endlessly, like machines, and with ferocious shouts, gestures one likes to call 'techniques' and which are presented as magical solutions to any problem.It takes patience and a certain amount of self-analysis, for in combat it is necessary to be able to analyze your opponent or partner with the same clear-mindedness as you must study your own self. You can then eventually adapt to your partner's actions and harmonize with his slightest movements.It is an endless search but it is a fascinating one. What is certain is that it remains far removed from the caricatural attitudes and primitive screaming which are so widespread today and that people often try to sell as being true karate.