Goju-ryu is all about YOU

words knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom aristotle

You think your goju-ryu training is about learning to fight in a traditional system of unarmed combat? Think again.

Goju may do all that, but that’s only a part of why you’re here. Because goju is a vehicle by which you explore things about yourself and what you’re all about.

You’re finding benefit — and probably joy — in learning to punch, kick and move in new ways. That’s great.

But what you’re learning most is about yourself and what makes you tick. If you’re curious, you may even discover why you drag yourself into the dojo or off the couch to train.

It’s that still, small voice inside that’s whispering. And you’re responding to the inspirations and impulses it sends by acting upon the urges that well up inside you.

You could always ignore them, or push them aside. But you don’t. You devote the time and effort to train and improve a little more each time you do.

While you are training your body in new ways of moving, what you’re really doing is feeding your soul’s need to master your body and learn what you are capable of.

Yes, I said soul. For at our core, and at the core of the martial arts, is a spiritual seed that karate helps us water and grow. It is the essence of mind, body and soul, the unification of which is not only a goal of martial training, but of spiritual practice as well.

A core principle of that unification is balancing the energies that make you you — or as Buddha called it, traveling the middle path. Inner cannot be separated from outer; they must work together for the greater expression of the whole of what you are.

It is this same concept I want you to take from our discussions on ju. For goju is meant to be hard/soft, ostensibly in balance, but equally available to meet the needs of combat.

You must decide what that point of balance is. You may gravitate toward the hard; you may long for finding a softer approach. What matters is that you know you, why you’re training, and where you want to go with it.

In my case, it’s to restore balance to the forces in me that demand I be equally fluid and effective in both. That balance is available to you, too.

But you have to seek it, and to learn the ways of the force — the energies that make up your body and world, and how they work together for your health and manifestation of your life, as well as the training of your body in this art that we love.

I ask you to keep an open mind, for what you do not see now may become visible in the future. For as wise friend once told me,

Believe in one power, one presence.

Believe in infinite possibilities.

Believe that what is unknown in one moment can be known in another,

And that what is known is not all there is.

There is always more.

I bid you godspeed in finding it.

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