The Karatefecta: Mind, Body, Spirit

Mind, body, spirit.

Mind, body, spirit. The first time I was introduced to the idea as a holistic approach tied to karate, was by Master Kise. I was somewhere around the age of 17, having just tested for my blackbelt. I had just completed something that felt so big– I was indestructible. With the testing completed, the belts handed out, and the hand-shaking finished, Master Kise wanted to say something. I looked around in excitement, seeing something on the other participants’ faces– was it surprise? I got the sense that there weren’t a lot of speeches being doled out by the old master, and what we were about to receive would be special.

The large assembly space was sparsely adorned, but featured a stage at its front, to which the forty-something participants huddled towards. We were in the town hall, and its unforgiving wooden floors echoed the noises within. Upon the stage stood a short, graying old man in a black gi and frayed red belt. His beard full and neatly-cropped, his gaze wandered through his gathered students with quiet regard. He never showed much on his face, other than an occasional smile, which left you always guessing if he approved of what you were doing.

I don’t remember all of what he spoke, but the parts I do remember stuck with me. He spoke of Karate as a family and the bond that is a result– there are few places you can be beaten bloody and thank the person for it. The words I remember the most, though, went something along the lines of, “Good karate is not enough. You must have strong mind. Strong body. Strong spirit. It all goes together,” and he ended with his typical, “more practice.”

It seemed so simple, yet so important.

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