April 22nd 2012
Sal Scaglione, Roku-Dan
Warrior Spirit: Being Calm
I often look to popular sports figures to draw analogies from to create parallels to Karate training. Along with this thought, Hanshi Scaglione has described the golf swing of Tiger Woods as means to relate speed to creating power or Michael Jordans clutch ability to hit a shot others might not take by using the you miss every shot you dont take mentality.
My thought this week relates to remaining calm, eliminating exited and uncontrolled behavior, and relaxing as opposed to overreacting. I recently heard two basketball commentators discussing the virtues of Steve Nash. They commented on his ability to slow down the action and to see the court in full and his knack of making the right play without hesitation. Weve seen this in many great athletes, as the most successful in their respective sports such as Wayne Gretzky in hockey, Marcus Allen and Tom Brady in football, and Kobe Bryant in basketball. The common element among these athletes and many other greats is the ability to perform under pressure. Its something that we as Karate students strive to achieve through consistent repetition of Kata training and Yokusoku Kumite. Via these training tools we learn how to react with a steady beat and calmness allowing us to execute without recklessness.
through the green book, Building Warrior Spirit,
in an attempt to map this concept of calm to a specific
precept or element of warrior spirit. What I quickly discovered
was that the ability to execute under pressure, when others
would falter or freak-out and panic, was the
culmination of each of the four basic precepts of our Karate
training, Gan, Soku, Tanden, and Riki. The blending of these
elements can be the difference between success and failure
in many aspects of our life, not the least of which might
be a street attack.
As I reflected on this thought it occurred to me that as a young adult I saw this same ability first hand, not only on the deck, but in everyday life. I didnt need to go to the sports page for my real world examples as I had two shining models from which to learn calmness from. Master Ueshiro and Hanshi Scaglione both have provided me with real life moments of clarity and controlled maneuvering in all aspects of life. As a young child and throughout my adult life Hanshi has displayed an uncanny ability to deliver under pressure both as a police officer and as a fathernever hesitating to execute no matter the situation. I also learned many lessons from Master Ueshiro, not only on the deck but as he trained me to drive for his company making deliveries in Manhattan. My lasting memory of those times was Master Ueshiro always saying no problem regardless of the situation. For him, nothing was ever a problem, no matter how bad the traffic was, how limited the parking was, how heavy the boxes were, or how pressed for time we were to make the airport shipping deadline.
I believe the ability to slow things down and react with confidence and decisiveness as displayed countless times by both Master Ueshiro and Hanshi Scaglione were a result of their Bushi warrior spirit and Karate training. For each of us, these examples of calmness and execution are lessons and a reminder to stay on the deck, work hard and train, in a continuing effort to develop this most vital element of being a Warrior.