14 Feb

The within is submitted to all who tread along life’s journey in a continuing search for knowledge and improvement of that amorphous concept known as “self”. Once again, on the surface, the within article would appear to apply simply to the martial arts. I suggest that on a broader level, the within applies to all aforementioned journeymen.

Whenever a new student would enter the Dojo, I would ask the initiate what he or she hopes to achieve by undertaking the study of Karate-Do. The answers I receive from such potential initiates are as varied as the individuals themselves. There are, however, certain general themes that emerge. One such theme is the attainment of self-confidence. I would like to explore the effect of attaining self-confidence in this article.

Initially, I note that I will not address the mechanics of how and why Karate-Do and other martial arts build self-confidence. I submit that it is axiomatic that self-confidence is discovered and nurtured through Karate-Do. The same is true of other art forms such as music, painting, Yoga and Zazen (seated meditation). In fact any endeavor that mandates periods of introspection by the practitioner will foster self-confidence as a consequence of self-discovery. Having said that, there is a crucial turning point in the evolutionary process of self-discovery that leads to the attainment of self-confidence. The turning point is at the event horizon when one’s self is discovered, realized and defined. It is at this event horizon that one’s awareness of oneself breeds a sense of self-confidence. Once self-confidence is attained, the event horizon dictates that one can undertake two possible future paths.

 Path of Multiple Torii at Fushimi Inari Taisha, Kyoto, Japan

The first path is the path that recognizes that the concept of self (and the associated self-confidence) is transitory and subject to continuing definition and evolution. This path is defined by the idea that while one is awakened to and confident in the person that one is, such a psychological state is merely momentary and subject to the continuum of the life experiences to be had. One’s deeds, ideas and actions are viewed as evolving. By this I mean that continued deeds, ideas and actions incubate and give birth to continued knowledge. Continued knowledge gives rise to new theories, concepts and innovations. Thus, one is confident within the boundary of acknowledging that such confidence extends to one’s ability to continue to embark on the unknown journey of life as it unfolds. If one lacked this confidence, the future unknown journey would stagnate one’s personal quest for knowledge and growth out of fear. On this path, the self-confident journeyman continues the quest in anticipation of unknown knowledge for the purpose of perpetually rediscovering oneself.

The second path is the path that views one’s achievement in the chosen field of endeavor as the pinnacle of the discovery process, to wit: one has become the “best” one can be (The slogan, “Be all you can be” comes to mind). This means that one’s self-confidence is finite in place, time and achievement. This path is defined by ego. The path of ego mandates that one sees the continuum of life not as a process of continued discovery, but as a conclusion to be ratified by the remarkable person that one has become. One’s deeds, ideas, and actions are internally viewed (and to be perceived by others) as omnipotent and mighty. This means that one’s deeds are to be glorified in and of themselves. One’s deeds, ideas and actions are to be viewed as a historical event and as supreme and final. Of course, this is a fiction. Such self-confidence has fallen prey to the Siren’s call of ego. The paradox of this psychological path is that it results in a stagnation of personal growth to be attained by future knowledge. The result is similar to the stagnation experienced by an utter lack of self-confidence. In the former case the stagnation is caused by ego and in the latter case it is caused by fear. Thus, the fulfillment of the paradox.

Everyone is susceptible to falling prey to the draw of one’s ego. So as to be able to fend off the attraction of succumbing to the mythical Siren‘s call of ego, one needs to always bear in mind the transitory nature of life. As much as one cannot rest on one’s laurels, one must always understand that accomplishment is but a portal to future achievement. This is not to say that one need be forever humble. One can, and should, enjoy the successful feeling that comes from accomplishment. One need simply remember that accomplishment which breeds self-confidence should be perpetually challenged and redefined within oneself.

Again, there are many introspective endeavors wherein one can obtain a sense of self-definition and self-confidence. For myself, the mechanism is the continuous study of was Karate-Do and specifically, the study of Kata. The principle characteristic of any introspective endeavor is that it will eventually lead the practitioner to the event horizon of choosing the path of either continuing self-discovery through knowledge or to the path of finite ego. Ego is finite and, being self-propagated dissipates with time. History is replete with examples of the dilatory effect of ego as a factor of time. There are many examples contained in mythology, history and literature. One such example is the following poem, Ozymandias, by Percy Bysshe Shelley. It is a favorite of mine. I keep the poem in my psychological database as a reminder that the journey for knowledge never terminates. One’s momentary achievements, should be acknowledged but never glorified.


From: Williams, Oscar, Immortal Poems Of The English Language (An Anthology), (Washington Square Press , NY, 1952) p. 295 

I met a traveler from an ancient land

Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone

Stand in the desert. Near them, on the sand,

Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,

And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,

Tell that its sculptor well those passions read

Which yet survive, stamped on those lifeless things,

The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed;

And on the pedestal these words appear:

“my name is Ozymandias, king of kings:

Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!”

Nothing beside them remains. Round the decay

Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare

The lone and level sands stretch far and away. 

 Colossus Of Rhodes, a 16th Century engraving by Martin Heenskerck, part of the series The Seven Wonders Of The World . While it does not depict Ozymandias, the  picture  perhaps conveys the concept of Ozymandias and is another example of the dilatory effects of Ego.

The remarkable journey to obtain knowledge has presently brought me to the new contextual paradigm of Kata within my methodology and ideology of Jiriki Kata-Do (The Way Of (attaining) Inner Salvation Through Kata). Jiriki Kata-Do is a new exploration into the hidden secrets of Kata heretofore believed to be the sole province of the martial artist now extended to all followers of my methodology and ideology. I remain, as I hope you do, a journeyman, willing to share the journey with my initiates. To borrow from Shelley, it is my sincere hope that all remain eager to continue to tread upon the lone and level sands (of knowledge) that stretch far and away”.

The reader may wish to consider the evolutionary process of self-discovery as set forth in my article entitled Dante’s Issho Dojo which is filed in the category Martial ideology Applied To Daily Life. For more nformation on my ideology and methodology of Jiriki Kata-Do, please review the articles herein filed in the category Kata as enlightened meditation.

For more on either Sanchin Kata as meditation or my new book on Sanchin Kata, please feel free the Sanchin Book page of this Blogsite or visit my website WWW.Dynamic-Meditation.Com.

The poem Ozymandias was from Williams, Oscar, Immortal Poems Of The English Language (An Anthology), (Washington Square Press, NY, NY 1952) p. 295.

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