Let us consider the concept of “First Circle”…some of you may be asking yourselves what all this means and others may be thinking that you just don’t get it. That is alright, remember we approach life’s problems with the patience karate has given us (to be covered in a later post). In the first circle we work on Form, Balance and Power or Breathing. We lay the foundation with our Basics and from there create a platform on which to continuously shape and mold our skills.
There are many reasons why people begin the study of Martial Arts. Self-defense, physical exercise, self-esteem; whatever the reason it can be summed up in the Chinese analogy of the Drunken Monkey. As his name suggests the Drunken Monkey is out of control in a particular aspect of his life and he comes to the dojo looking for an external stimulus to create change.
This desire causes him to open and walk through the door to the first circle…the door to the dojo. Here the Drunken Monkey encounters the Tiger and the Tiger’s job is to kill the Drunken Monkey. This is a very important step and the fight between the two takes place within the novice student (actually the fight can be a continuous battle throughout training no matter the rank). The Drunken Monkey knows there is a need for change but is afraid to take the necessary steps.
“The fight between the Drunken Monkey
and the Tiger is fought continuously throughout
training no matter the rank.”
The Tiger takes the fear of the Drunken Monkey and fuels his inner fire to accomplish this goal of change. He pours everything he is into his training to establish a strong physical foundation. Through physical conditioning and regular practice the Tiger creates a mental attitude of discipline leading to a change in the way he perceives his environment. No longer is the Tiger a victim of the circumstances he finds himself in, but now can manipulate those circumstances to suit his purposes. This creates a level of confidence in the student because they are no longer controlled by fear but they control fear to let their circumstances work for rather than against them.
So rather than being just a physical system, Kenpo is an experience in mind and body. As we learn the various forms, postures and techniques we establish a physical foundation that we can build upon and sharpen our mental perceptions. This way we are not just conditioning the body, but the mind as well. If you have been in Kenpo for any length of time you can see that the system is quite sophisticated in its motion. Eventually the techniques and katas become a resource that moves beyond mere rote movement. The motions are intended to be complex so as to condition the body and stimulate the mind. Thus as you journey through the Kenpo system you are embarking on a quest of personal growth and development.
My best advice is this…ENJOY THE RIDE…ASA!!!
Take care and see you in class…