September 8th, 2013
From Kyoshi Matt Kaplan, Shihan,Ueshiro Okinawan Karate Family Club
State College, PA
Is There a Difference between Posing a Strike and Striking a Pose?
My simple answer is yes, and my line of argument contrasts the emphasis on posing versus striking.
To pose a technique implies demonstration of a position, a stance, a posture and an attitude. Emphasis is on showing the move (and not necessarily the result of the move). To strike implies harsh contact, collision, or even destruction of an object. Emphasis is on the intended result of the move (and not necessarily how the move appears to an onlooker). These two phrases refer to two different though complementary modes of thinking and training in the quest to develop ones karate skills.
The purpose of this thought-for-the-week post has nothing to do with semantics or word-play. The main point is that in our training we must not lose track of the essence of the strike and its intended consequences.
To clarify what I mean, consider the performance of Tom Cruise in the 2003 movie, The Last Samurai, in which he played an American military advisor who embraces late 19th Century Samurai culture in Japan. In one of the many interviews he gave to promote the film, the interviewer commented on his amazing and convincing performance as a Samurai and asked if he would continue to develop his mastery of the sword. In response, Tom Cruise paused, and with a confused look on his face said something to the effect, No, Im an actor. I was just playing the role of Samurai.
To see karate as a performance art would be missing an important dimension of what we do and why we do it.
Domo arigato gozaimasu,
Kyoshi Matt Kaplan, Shihan
Ueshiro Okinawan Karate Family Club
State College, PA