Many traditional Eastern martial arts talk about Mind, Body and Spirit; and that training develops you spiritually. But what does this spirituality actually mean and how does Karate help develop it?
To quote Deepak Chopra, who is widely revered as one of the World’s greatest spiritual leaders, “if we understand spirituality not as some kind of religious dogma or ideology but as the domain of awareness where we experience values like truth, goodness, beauty, love and compassion, and also intuition, creativity, insight and focused attention”.
So how does Karate training help us to achieve this?
When practicing Karate we focus on our balance, posture, body structures and mechanics, efficient generation of power, breathing and knowing where every part of our body is at any given time. This develops a high degree of body awareness. As mind and body are linked, body awareness helps to develop mental awareness. This level of focus helps to quieten and even silence the internal chatter in your mind, which is why it’s sometimes referred to “moving meditation”.
Karate training requires us to be very present in the moment. In general terms (not just in Karate training), anxiety is caused by focusing on where we want to be and not accepting where we are now (mind in the future). Regret is caused by focusing on bad experiences or mistakes that we’ve made (mind in the past). Only by having our attention focused in the present moment can we be in a peaceful state of mind! Karate requires focus in the present moment and most people find that during a training session, they forget all their worries and cares. Being present in the moment also the most effective mindset when dealing with whatever life issue faces us in that moment. But that is a subject for a whole book as well!