Karate is so much more than a series of punches, kicks and
fancy maneuvers. Certainly these elements form a great part of karate, but to see them as the essence of the artform
is a somewhat simplistic
view. The techniques
themeselves were developed out of a need to give peasants
living in a society in which weapons
were banned the means to defend
themselves. It has developed into a great tool for understanding conflict
and bringing an individual into harmony
with their inner being. By listening to the inner body and gaining an understanding of how the body operates, along with the regular progress made in shaping the physical self, a karateka
is given an excellent tool for understanding conflict. This removes the need to engage
in physical violence by replacing
a selfish or proud ego
with a deep humility
A true karateka respects life, and never enters into conflict out of a desire to gain respect or prove a point but rather to preserve that which is held most dear; The life of another human being, or the basic system of values for which he or she stands.
The "do" in karatedo means "the way". This should not be misinterpreted as the way to perform all the physical actions "how to do karate" but rather the "way" in terms of a path. The kanji for "do" represents a series of steps, a.k.a the "path" which leads upward. Within the kanji the top of this path is such that the destination is obscured. Thus the true path of the way of karate, or the way of the warrior (bushido) only becomes apparent as one travels along that path. So it is that karate can and is often misinterpreted by outsiders or those who have merely 'dabbled' in the martial arts as just a group of people in silly suits making lots of noise.