Kyoshi's Technique of the Week

Technique of the Week (May 30th 2011)

From Sensei Daniel Gobillot, Shihan- Northampton Ueshiro Pine Forest Karate
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MOKUSO

Before every class begins and and at the end of each formal class we kneel
down sitting in the seiza position.
To do this you would lower yourself first to the left knee and then to the
right. The knees should be separated by roughly the width of two fists.
At this point you will find yourself propped up on your toes with your
buttock on your heels. Turn your feet over sitting again on your heels
with the tops of your feet flat on the deck.
Place your hands palm down with the fingers facing in on your thighs. Sit
tall with a straight back and your chin slightly down. Posture is of
great importance.
This is called "chakuza"
Many dojo use this command "MOKUSO" or "OTHER WORDS" delivered forcefully
to signal the transition of, before class warm ups to formal practice.
At this time place the left hand on top of the right hand in front of your
"hara" center in a cupped fashion. Bring the thumbs together but not
touching.
Feel the energy flowing from one to the other, your will still be able to
slip a piece of rice paper between them. The thumbs will not create a
peak or a valley.
You could hold an egg safely in your right palm. Close your eyes but not
tightly. Leave a slit of light between your lids but do not focus on it.
Be aware of the light and how you can still see all through your closed
lids. See without seeing.
Part your lips and vent your body breathing naturally. Calm yourself from
the before practice exertion. Place the tip of your tongue at the roof of
your mouth behind your front upper teeth.

We use these moments to ready ourselves mentally and physically for our
practice.
"Moku" means to silence and "so" means thoughts. Attempt to empty your
mind of the inevitable and continuous stream of mental babble. This is
difficult to achieve.
I am often asked by my deshi "How do I stop my thoughts?, How do I empty
my mind?".
I can not remember when, in my training, that I learned this but I do
remember when I could not do it.
I began practicing meditation before I found karate so I decided to use
techniques similar to my meditation to control my out of control thoughts.
Rather than use a "mantra" I would count silently to myself. At that time
it worked for me until I found that I could empty my mind naturally
without effort.
This part of my training I've always loved and enjoyed because it means
that I am back in the dojo again training.
With vigorous training you may find your mind empty at the end of practice
for "mukoso" and your transition back your life outside the dojo.

Domo arigato gozaimasu,

Daniel Gobillot, shihan- Northampton Ueshiro Pine Forest Karate