Creating a Mindset

Mokuso: Creating a Mindset

The first thing visitors notice about our Traditional Karate school is its atmosphere. Students bow when they walk in the door, parents observe silence with the student body during mokuso, the attitude of the students during practice is intense, focused and energized. Day in and day out the atmosphere of our school is unvaried. By design we work to create something different from our normal daily experience.

To a certain extent the feeling of our environment is created by what exists and does not exist in the physical space. (Note the conspicuous absence of Coke machines in our lobby.) To a greater extent our atmosphere is created by the behavior and demeanor of our students, parents and guests. In a very profound sense our dojo is recreated every day by the will and intention of those who inhabit it.

From an Instructor's perspective our training is nothing more than building, maintaining and strengthening this mindset. We are creating something practical here — something that can enhance our ability to live each day fully and successfully. We come to the dojo to train in this mindset. By training correctly we will carry it with us when we walk out the door. We want our training to be strong enough to withstand daily use.

The karate mindset is composed of many ingredients. If we are unfocused we create in the body an object of focus. If we are distracted we demand consistency and repetition to build mental endurance. If we are passive we cultivate responsiveness. If we are anxious we encourage analysis. In all cases we are looking to improve upon weaknesses, reinforce strengths and create within ourselves a baseline mentality that will serve us in all our endeavors.

Life within our society and culture presents many challenges — the greatest of which is not to be influenced to our disadvantage. To ward off the negative and strengthen the positive requires that we have a strong core, that we know who we are and are capable of moving with certainty. The instructor uses every aspect of the training to point us in the direction of ourselves. Developing strong karate basics is nothing more than the creation of will and endurance. The instructor measures the student's karate by the development of these qualities. The underlying imperative of Traditional Karate instruction is to create a mindset impervious to attack and able to prevail against insurmountable odds — in other words, to live each day to our full potential.