A Lifestyle, Philosophy and Mindset
Most people choose Kodokai with the specific goal of learning self-protection skills. You may wonder then, why do so many continue long after their self-defense concerns have been satisfied?
Well, there are many reasons!
Developing powerful skills may make you feel great, but many come to realize that additional benefits of these unique martial arts can make a meaningful difference in the quality of ones life. One may find a weak spirit restored, a body made healthier, confidence regained, perspective improved, and so much more.
Of course, everyone is different, practices differently, learns differently and achieves different results. But, like anything worthwhile, what you put into it will impact what you get out of it!
Master Toma, a teacher of the 'old ways'.
Palace Hand contains knowledge gained from centuries of human experience. This information is passed on through both systematic training as well as tacit learning. It is taught through practice rather than lecture.
So, in any school, how classes are run, how people are treated, how technique is practiced, what techniques are emphasized, what rituals and customs are followed, and, certainly, how rank is awarded, all amalgamate to communicate ancestral teachings.
Okinawa has a mix of Japanese, Chinese and Okinawa's own indigenous schools of thought.
At Kodokai, we aren't trying to win a trophy and we aren't after the next belt. We aren't trying to be better than someone else. We are just trying to improve.
Trophies and belts are not goals of a traditional martial artist. Those goals require seeking validation from someone else- outside ourselves. We, instead, seek an awareness and acceptance of who we are, what we can do, and what we need to work on. Any rank we earn or recognition we receive is a byproduct of our work- not a goal.
By avoiding the superficial and focusing on our practice rather than 'ourselves as seen by someone else', we remain grounded. This leads toward becoming centered, calm, confident and patient.
Simple and straightforward, but these words can inspire you to see things from a different vantage point.
Taira sensei discussing calligraphy by Hokama sensei.
There a lots of ways to learn martial arts here in America, but different training produces different results. In order to realize the benefits of the "Old Path" of martial arts, you need a qualified teacher and a place that is true to the old ways.
You'll find many schools claiming to teach 'a way of life'... 'traditional martial arts', and so on, but in too many cases the old ways have been abandoned. Trophies, competitions and emphasizing belts cannot exist side by side with the old ways. They are completely in conflict with the old ways.
Teachers of the old ways at Kodokai....Taira sensei and Takamiyagi sensei.