Black Belt 1st Degree Philosophies
Many years ago I read a book about a Westerner's study of Shotokan karate in Japan. I have forgotten everything about the book but its title: Moving Zen.
This phrase has come to epitomize, for me, the study of the martial arts. At the core of Zen is emptiness or no-mind, which has been described in many ways by many people. But for me, no-mind is the unconscious merging with nature and the Tao the unity of mind, spirit, and body. Many people sit in stillness and meditate (zazen) to attempt to achieve this state, but for me that stillness denies the body rather than accepts it. The martial arts, on the other hand, are capable of enlisting all elements of existence – the mind, body, and spirit. The more my forms are done without conscious thought, and the more I relax and react without thought during sparring, the closer I feel to the Tao. I continue to strive (not-strive) to make my practice of the art as unconscious as breathing.