Thought For The Week


Thought for the Week (October 27th, 2003)

From Sensei Michael Mackay, Go-dan

Midtown Karate Dojo
-------------------------------------------------------------- 

Rei: The first and final
moves of kata.

From kio-tsuke (attention position):

* Fingers in shuto but without tension.
* Finger tips lightly touching the corner of the gi, not sides (military), not
front (stage bow).
* Bending at the waist: shoulders and back straight, head and eyes centered,
not looking up at opponent or down at floor (maintaining peripheral vision as
the field of vision slowly changes).
* Angle of bow 20 to 40 degrees held for one to three seconds. Depth and
duration of bow follow seniority: more junior student bows lower and waits for
the more senior person to rise first.

Common mistakes include hunching the shoulders, bowing too low, or looking
down at the deck, often caused by confusing the bow in kata with the bow from seiza.

Subtleties:

* Fingers trace a vertical path down and up the legs, maintaining light
contact with the gi.
* Legs and hips remain vertical, not "jack-knifed."
* Only move in kata always performed slow motion, emphasizing humility,
dignity and composure.
* Verbal component ("Onegai shimasu, Sensei" or "Arigato, Sensei") works in
collaboration with the physical component, sending a consistent message of
willingness to learn or gratitude.
* Spoken words are completed before, not while rising from the bow.

Key philosophical concept:

"Bowing is a ritual courtesy displayed during karate practice, but it is also
an important aspect of our training which must extend beyond the practice and
beyond the dojo. We become stronger and more powerful in the true sense of the
word through our deeds and through respect for ourselves and for others."
Hanshi Robert Scaglione, "Shorin-Ryu Okinawan Karate Question and Answer
Book,"
1985, page 53.

The profound importance of karate beginning and ending with courtesy is
graphically illustrated by the first and final illustrations of the "Question
and Answer" book. Without proper bows kata becomes hollow.

Domo arigato gozaimasu, Hanshi,
Michael Mackay, Go-dan, Midtown Karate Dojo