Why should somebody want to start karate training? There are many reasons, including of course to learn how to defend oneself.
Mr. Ohshima describes an early formative experience leading to his own study of Shotokan Karate:
When I was a student in a small high school, I was kind of a leader among my classmates. But older students sometimes threatened us and I was afraid to stand up to them. No matter how much I thought about and planned how I would handle them next time, I just wasn’t courageous enough
One day when I was 15 or 16 years old, I was on my way to Tokyo. At the train station, there was a gang of young men who’d surrounded a boy about my age. And they were taunting him, but the boy never said a word, he just sat there looking down. And this gang of men began to beat the boy for no reason but that he was quiet and alone. This situation was extremely unjust and I was angry and wanted to jump in to help this boy. But the person next to me said, ‘Don’t do it – you’ll get beaten up yourself.’ So I just sat there and looked on while the boy was beaten. I didn’t do a thing to help him. I felt so ashamed of myself and I realized that I was a coward. Later, after I began to practice karate, I frequently recalled this incident and I’d ask myself, ‘Are you ready to stand up for what you believe is justice?’
Through serious martial arts practice, we can learn to face ourselves strictly and show our best spirit in all situations. Mr. Ohshima notes:
Originally this was the most important thing about martial arts – to reach a higher level, to become a strong human being. This kind of strength doesn’t come from big muscles. It comes from being strict with yourself. That is the ideal of martial arts.
This is our training in SKA. To see if there is an SKA dojo near you, check the directory of dojos. Many of the dojos on the list have email addresses you can contact for further information. Some of the dojos also have Web pages with schedule and other details.