Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Concentration in Karate Training

Why is concentration so important in karate training?

The first prinicple taught at Bobby Lawrence Karate is respect, respect for self, others, and eventually other things. Respect is associated with the third energy center, Rei in Japanese. Through this energy center we set clear boundaries. Through this and the second energy center we harness the power of our ki'ai.

The second principle taught at Bobby Lawrence Karate and the one discussed in this blog is concentration. Concentration is the ability to focus on one thing. There are two types of concentration or focus, white dot and black dot. Most of us are familiar with white dot focus and that's where begin. Picture a white dot on a black background. The white dot represents what you are focusing on. The black back ground represents everything else, the things you are not focusing on. For example if your school teacher were talking, you should listen to him or her and not to a whispering buddy. Or when you're playing footbal and attempting to catch a pass that's in the air on its way to you, you focus on the ball and ignore the defensive back's attempt to ruff or mess you up. This is white dot focus.

Concentration is a fundamental skill to be practiced early and throughout your training at Bobby Lawrence Karate. Concentration helps us learn faster. Just last Saturday while teaching another black belt a self defense technique, metaphorically referred to as Delayed Sword, it was amazing to watch her struggle with the technique until she relaxed and started concentrating on one point, i.e., her partner's neck or throat area. From that point forward she picked up the technique easily and quite competently.

The second type of focus is black dot focus. This is much harder to understand, but once understood opens up a whole new world and way of training in karate. The idea here is to focus your eyes on one point but instead of excluding all other stimuli you increase your awareness. It is said that ultimate awarenss is true enlightenment. I practice karate as a vehicle for me to become enlightened. If you want to train like me, then when you practice karate focus your eyes on one thing but think of nothing or no thing and become aware of everything. It may sound like mumbo jumbo, but it's really fun to try. In fact, I challenge you to try it in your very next class. And let me know how it works.

Bobby Lawrence

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