The making of "A Life"
Updated: Feb 15
For those that don't know, I pretty much grew up with Shihan Sensei Goral. Being an adult I felt it was due time to document the founder of our school along with several of its students and black belts. Most of which have studied under him over many years.
In my experience of martial arts exploring other schools has only made me appreciate more of what I've learned. We were never refrained from exploring outside our school. Sensei knows there's more to learn and benefits to be found in other styles. He even admits to learn from us as we explore the world of karate.
At the conclusion of my interview with Sensei Goral I asked him if he could describe his experience of karate with one word and why? What he said is pretty much what he's been teaching me on and off the mat my whole life. It also coincides with traditional karate-do. Sensei Goral's one word response (though he cheated, with good reason) was "A life". He was adamant not to say it was "life" but "a life", much like karate-do is a path or the way. Hinting that it's a journey. During our journey we call life there are many positions we hold. A job, school, friends, family, hobbies; karate is ment to keep us safe, fit, discipline, all aspects to improve in our life. As humans we know a variety of people with their own lives mixing with ours were we all share different interests and hobbies. Many of the other interviews mentioned parts of their lives outside the dojo too. They know even if they haven't realized yet that karate is ment to improve our lives; making us stronger, smarter and wiser.
One of the most profound things Sensei Goral has ever taught during class was explaining that karate is relatively unimportant. Yea, crazy I know right! Something we spend years perfecting and improving isn't important. Karate is a paradox like that. The ultimate achievement of karate is not to use it, it's importance is found in its unimportance. As some of the other interviews stated one can come in the dojo and give their mind a break. Sensei would say it's selfish time, it's all about you and making yourself better. Even when you're the one giving a lesson you can still learn from the experience. It's one reason why I like the saying "When you teach you learn twice."
Karate was never ment to be the only path in our lives. Just a path that can give us a better view on the other paths we take and those of others.