Moving Zen – Karate as a Way to Gentleness
I just discovered my copy of Moving Zen by CW Nicol.
My own original copy is quite dried out, and is falling apart with this re-reading.
This copy is literally coming apart as I read it; I do not think it will last for another reading.
I obtained a copy back in 1975 in Ocean City. I had recently begun my own Isshinryu studies. And much of it rang true to my own experiences.
True it was a description of an Englishman, finding his way in Japan, both in his attempt to study Judo, and then the JKA style of Shotokan. Later he abandoned Judo finding trying both simultaneously was not a good idea for him. So he made a choice, about which this book describes his experiences.
It was karate from the Japanese point of view. At that time I didn’t know there were differences. And the explanation of karate history was correct as what had been explained to him, from the JKA point of view.
However, it seems a quite honest effort to explain what he went through.
Step by step, inch by inch
He made his way through the Japanese culture and within the kyu training of the JKA.
Where there had been sort of a kids gloves treatment for foreign students,
He helped motivate his instructors to train them like the Japanese students.
And some of his instructors were the stuff of legends.
As the title states the journey he made was much more than just Karate.
It involved a lot of self discovery and involved other Japanese Martial Arts.
And his studies were ever so much more than sport style training.
too often discussed as Japanese Karate
Eventually he reached his shodan, and then the nail was knocked down again,
And his dan studies began.
The book discusses many valuable points about karate,
Even for a Japanese program.
His discussion on kiai is one valuable example of this.
For one thing it makes me think of the silliness of many discussion,
About which is real karate.
These schools are but different expressions of karate,
At the end of the book, as a new shodan he began making preparations to leave Japan.
He would go on not for further karate study,
but to be an accomplished human being in other fields.
Today, this book is very satisfying,
It makes a powerful poing about what karate training offers all of us.
If we become an instructor,
We sort through hundreds of beginners
to develop the mind and body of the few who reach shodan.
Then again, we continue to polish those students
To find those who last even 5 years.
And the cycle continues.
Fewer and fewer last each 5 years.
However each individual who reached shodan,
Developed themselves in many ways,
Development that continues in their other efforts.
They have made value for themselves,
Should the day come that they end this journey.
They do so carrying the values you imprinted on their soul.
We must celebrate their choice,
That is what this is all about in the end.
CW Nicole is an most accomplished Naturalist.
Among those accomplishments he also undertook a journey to Okinawa
For Japanese television.
We can all learn a great deal from his videos of that journey.
Treasures of Japan
CW Nicol visits
Ryukyu Kobudo and Okinawa Karate Schools