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  • Five Thoughts for Better Bunkai
    There’s a natural curiosity among karate practitioners to understand what we practice at the deepest levels. With kata, that understanding often turns to breaking down the pieces and parts of our forms to see just how many different ways a given series of movements can be adapted to an actual self-defense situation. That process of analysis is what we typically call bunkai. The term bunkai is composed of two kanji: bun (分) and kai (解). Bun, as heard by a native speaker of Japanese, would have various meanings ranging from nouns like “part” or “segment” or “relation” all the way to an adjective meaning “detached.” Kai on the other hand is more straightforward - it means “solution” as in “solution to a puzzle.” So the term bunkai can literally be translated to “a solution to the question of how things relate to one another.” Notice I said “a" solution - not “THE" solution.
  • The Possibility of Mastery: Why ‘Getting Good’ at Something Matters
    This past week I had the opportunity to attend a wonderful presentation by E.B. Lewis, an award-winning painter and illustrator of children’s books.  Mr. Lewis spoke to children and parents about his journey to becoming a world-famous artist, and shared that his own passion for art was, in part, from the early realization that he was good at it. In that moment, I thought back to my own childhood and what it meant to be good at something for the first time. As a kid, I was on the shorter side and pretty skinny – not exactly built for an […]
  • Social Anxiety Disorder: How a traditional karate program can help those who suffer.
    A new study that monitored children’s brain activity suggests that social anxiety is related to a preoccupation with making mistakes. The research, published in the Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, provides insight into the neurological mechanisms underlying social anxiety symptoms. The study examined 107 twelve-year-old children who had displayed an early-childhood temperament known as behavioral inhibition when they were younger. The researchers used an electroencephalogram to monitor the electrical brain activity of the children as they completed a psychological test that measures a participant’s ability to focus on information while blocking out distractions.  The children […]

The ultimate aim of karate-dō lies not in victory nor defeat, but in the perfection of the character of its participants.

Funakoshi Gichin, Founder of Shotokan Karate
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