In the Dojo

The place where we train is called the "Dojo".  It means "place of the Way".  In this case, we are talknig about "the Way of the Empty Hand".  Karate-do.
The Dojo is not like anywhere else.  It is not a gym.  It is not a school.  Our teacher is on the same learning course as we are, they just started earlier.  Many of our realisations in the Dojo only come about because of the pressure that we put ourselves under, and make no mistake; it is only "us" who can put pressure on us.

Many facets of normal life seem to apply differently in the Dojo.  Here we'll take a  look at some...

We don't say sorry.  Training in Karate there are punches and kicks and locks and throws and all sorts of other techniques that we will do to others and have done to us.  We try to work safely but occassionally accidents will happen.

Now, if it is an accident.  If you did not mean to hurt your training partner, then they will understand.  We are doing something physical where there is a risk of injury, and you didn't mean it.  You will try to be more controlled in future.  And of course, if it was not an accident, and if you are careless or haphazard with what you do, then you are going to find no-one wants to train with you.  Or they are going to teach you a lesson.  Or you'll be kicked out.  Or something else.  Either way there was no point in saying sorry.  If you didn't mean it then it was worthless, and if you are sorry then it is understood.

And you'll have time after class to make it up to your friend.

But there and then, when it happens, we don't show our shock.  We don't hold our training partner to make sure they are okay.  We don't exacerbate the situation either.
You see, if blood is spilled outside, and if an attacker is viciously beating you they aren't going to stop because you cry.  They aren't going to step back when they see you are hurt.  It may actually fuel their rage.  So our little lapses of judgement in the Dojo don't get an immediate "sorry".  There is no outpouring of emotion aghast at the act of causing another human being pain.  Not to de-sensitise us or build a martial spirit but just so that our partner can witness a harsh facade.  That our partner doesn't get used to people comforting them instantly.  Then they can learn to cope when they would rather just curl up.

Think about the emotional response to that suddent sting of pain.  The shock we feel and the "freeze" inclination that come with it.  The reaction exists to prevent us from going further into situations that are already causing us harm - don't go further into the fire.  You've seen it in children; they fall, they are okay, and then someone asks whether they are okay and they start to cry.  The compassion of another person, sympathy, gives them permission to release the feelings inside.  If they hadn't had the question they would likely have just got on with their adventures. [Yes, there are exceptions, and circumstances where the only thing to do is to pick that child up and comfort them.  This isn't some universal rule for every situation, merely an observation about "some" occurences.]

Now, hopefully we don't have too many instances like this.  Hopefully all our training is controlled and contact is made within the thickness of the gi.  Our training partners demonstrate an attacking attitude with character so that they only do so for the sake of their partner, not because they enjoy attacking.  But when there is a slip, don't say "Sorry".  Don't expect "Sorry".  You can say it later.

  Karate Academy
King Street Studios, King Street
Newton Abbot, Devon, TQ12 2LG
United Kingdom

01626 360999
  Site Map