Monday, 28 May 2012

Marfest 2012 is coming....

It's that time of year again! Martial Arts Festival time...

The 12th Great Northern International Festival of Martial Arts (affectionately know as Marfest) is due to be staged on Sunday 24th June 2012 at the University of Sunderland, 'City Space' site from 10.00am - 4pm.

This is a great day out for martial artists and non-martial artists alike. The festival takes the form of demonstrations to a seated audience on the main mat with a rotating programme of 'taster sessions' for the public to try on four smaller matted areas. This format proved very popular last year with dozens of people trying out various martial arts for the first time with instruction from some of the regions top instructors.

The festival always kicks off with a spectacular lion dance parade

This year's demonstrations include:

Kung Fu - Paul Tennet
Jujitsu - Chris Poole
Directional Fighting Method - Phil Doherty
Judo - John Pickering
Tae Kwon Do - Mike Campos
Aiki Arts - Geoff Aisbitt
Ninjutsu - Bill Patterson
Kempo Jitsu - Paul Thompson
Cane Do - Mick Farrow
Tai Chi - Joe Harte

Here's a medley of last years festival:

The aim of Marfest is to raise money for cancer research. All proceeds from the day will go to the North Eastern branch of Cancer Research UK. Newcastle University is a world leader in cancer research with projects in both adult and childhood cancers. In addition, marfest has set up a fundraising page on the Cancer Research UK website where people can donate directly to the 'sarcoma project' that is currently being funded by the charity at Newcastle University.

This will be my 4th year of attending the festival. I'm not good enough to do a demonstration for them, though I enjoyed participating in the taster sessions (I did some judo, aikido and DFM last year), so I have offered to help the organiser, Peter Seth, by helping to promoting the festival. To that aim I have set up a blog dedicated to Marfest as well as the fundraising page. Please go and visit the blog where you will find out more about the festival and its participants (more content will be added on the run up to the festival) and if you want, go visit the fundraising page too, after all cancer touches on all our lives in one way or another and the work done at Newcastle University will benefit cancer sufferers the world over....

Thanks for listening...

Bookmark and Share

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.0 UK: England & Wales License.

Thursday, 3 May 2012

Where does YOUR karate come from?

Don’t worry this isn’t going to be yet another treatise on the history of karate – we all know karate comes from Okinawa…

What I mean is where does YOUR karate come from in YOU?

You may be aware of the phrase Shin Gi Tai. This goes a long way to explaining where your karate comes from but in my opinion it misses one important ingredient. Before I reveal what that is lets explain what these terms mean:

Tai: This means the body (e.g. tai sabaki – body movement). It refers to the fact that to do karate well you must have a fit, healthy body that is flexible, coordinated and strong. Our body must be able to endure physical contact with another and react quickly to changing situations. We achieve this kind of body through hard repetitive training of the basics of our art as well as our own supplementary training.

Shin: This means the mind (e.g mushin – no mind; shoshin – beginner’s mind, seishin – positive mind, zanshin – an aware mind). It refers to the need to cultivate the correct mental skills to be a good karateka such as developing a clear and uncluttered mind that is fully focused on the task in hand whilst still maintaining a peripheral awareness of what is happening around. It also refers to developing a positive, confident spirit, one that will persevere with determination to achieve one’s goals.

Gi: This refers to technique. It’s no good cultivating the perfect body and mind if you don’t know how to do any karate! Obviously you need to learn and practice a range of karate techniques too.

We generally develop shin gi tai in parallel, improving in each one as we progress through training, so you might consider that your karate comes from your body, mind and good technique all combining together in a coordinated fashion . It’s a very holistic approach – the end result being greater than the sum of the parts; but for me there is an ingredient missing here…

I would argue that karate really comes from the heart. The Japanese word for this is kokora. The heart is the seat of passion, compassion, conviction not to mention courage. We feel all these things in our hearts and it is these things that drive us to be good karateka. We feel our karate in our hearts; it virtually bursts out of us if we are doing it well.

If you look around the students in your dojo you can see who has the heart for it and who doesn’t. Some will be sweating with the effort, appear to be concentrating, even have reasonable technique but their face tells you they have no heart for it, it looks expressionless and bored. Others may still be out of shape, getting a little confused with the technique but the look of joy and animation on their faces as they persist in trying to improve tell you they have heart.

Having the heart for karate may save you one day – if you lose heart you will lose the fight.

So where does YOUR karate come from – is it the heart?

Bookmark and Share
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.0 UK: England & Wales License.


Related Posts with Thumbnails