January 27th 2013
Sensei Kevin Reymond
Onegai-shimasu Hanshi, Kyoshi, Sensei, and all Deshi,
Spirit is the difference maker. In many cases the spirit is the difference between winning or losing; living or dying; or moving forward or standing still. I recently reread Chapter III, Tanden / Spirit - Lower Abdomen, of Hanshi Scaglione's book, Building Warrior Spirit ( the "Green Book") wherein Hanshi indicates, " The tanden concept encompasses the spirit, the will to win, the drive to win which is a more important device than power or strength.....Physiologically and mentally speaking, I think of the belly as the source of our spirituality. The spiritual side of the warrior is considered to be his most significant quality. The connection here in reference to tanden / stomach is the ki, that spot two inches below the navel. The energy source, heart and guts all translate to ki and when ki reaches a very high level it transforms to be kiai. A warrior with exceptional kiai is regarded as superhuman and or spirited / spiritual."
Training our spirit requires the same diligence as working a new kata or improving any of the physical aspects of shorin ryu karate. The starting point is our core. On page 70 -72 of the Green Book Hanshi provides a training regimen for our abdomin or core. Leading with our belly, developing mushin and breathing properly are key contributors to spirit development. Spirit is also acquiring proper attitude. It is Hanshi's "Just do it". It is going the extra mile; doing the extra push ups; performing kata at full speed rather than half speed; performing one more kata; being first when the instructor asks for a "volunteer on the spot"; it is showing up for class when you really don't feel like; it is getting low and staying low and enjoying the burning feeling in your legs.
At any time, spirit may be our most important technique.