Sunday, April 15, 2012
Runnin' on Empty..
I found an article that someone had written (sorry, I don't remember who the author was) that attempted to justify the use of the Japanese kanji for Kara that was used to replace the (original) kanji that meant China.
The author went to great extremes to justify their reasoning for using the kanji (and the subsequent translation) for “Empty”. Although the author did a decent job of doing so, I thought it sad attempt, for what was a mistaken understanding (from every native account that I've ever heard).
What the author attempted to do, was to justify empty as being a philosophical euphemism for a martial arts spirituality (“empty cup” and whatnot). Sorry, this is Bullsh*t. The kanji transposed for kara (china), was kara (meaning open), not “empty”.
How many times have you heard arguments concerning the empty-hand art (that has weapons ? ). It was never intended to represent “empty”, it has always been recognized as meaning ”open” to the Okinawans (except to the Japanese of course, and thereby the Americans).
Open-hand makes sense, Empty-hand is just stupid. Because portions of the art don't include weapons, does not make it an empty-handed art form. Everything regarding “Open” directly relates to what is taught (at least in RyuTe).
Taika relates this concept/belief philosophically as well. The Open-hand is one which is offering assistance and help. The empty-hand is one that is wanting (if not begging). Those systems that utilize the image of a fist (for symbolic reasons) are (in many ways) offensive and detract from the true nature and performance of Te as being the art form that it is. It also emphasizes an unjustified proclivity to striking with the closed hand.
One of the most difficult tasks as an (RyuTe) instructor, is teaching new students to not use the (stereotypical) tight “fist”. Inevitably, when someone makes a fist, they want to strike someone (usually the assailant, LOL) in the face. When they make the loose fist (as taught in RyuTe) that “hit the face” desire, isn't so pronounced.
My teaching associate went to the trouble to create a document explaining the proper “RyuTe” fist (it's on the RyuTe forum for association members). I believe a lot of the confusion stems from student's who've transitioned from other systems. The assumption being, that “a fist, is a fist, is a fist”, uh, not so much.
It goes back to the open/closed-hand debate. The open hand, will move faster, be stronger and can accomplish more than a closed hand (fist) is ever able to. This is often (already) known and recognized, but seems to be readily dismissed (usually because it conflicts with one's prior beliefs/assumptions).
I've written before on the relevance of semantics. This relevance is obvious (or should be) when comparing open to empty. Westerner's are embarrassing enough, LOL, without making arguments for a mistaken interpretation.
Just listen to the moron's cry, who've been kicked out of the association for doing their deceitful practices. Their excuse is always “Taika said he "didn't care!” (if they even bothered to ask him). Which is a typical Okinawan/Japanese response, he “didn't care”, what you thought, or what your reasons were, don't do it.
People hear, only what they want to hear......