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Shinjutsu Kempo Karate - The Art of Spirit

Shinjutsu Kempo Karate - The Art of Spirit

In Shinjutsu Kempo, the word shinjutsu translates to "Art of Heart" or "Art of Spirit". Kempo means "fist law" or "fighting techniques". Students of this art, as with all martial arts disciplines should place a heavy emphasis on what this means. The "art of spirit" or "art of heart" implies how essential a good fighting spirit is to becoming a successful martial artist. A correct fighting spirit is not reckless, but disciplined in the face of danger. A correct fighting spirit means you will push yourself to the utmost while remaining balanced and in the moment.

A lot of professional fights are won by the competitor who is willing to go the farthest. The winner is often the one who is willing to endure more pain, push through more tiredness, and continue to discipline the mind by keeping self-defeating thoughts at bay. Good spirit is not rage. Rage makes a sloppy fighter that can be easily defeated by a skilled, yet calm opponent. Modern athletes would call this having heart. The correct spirit will push you to train harder than ever before. Re-evaluate your knowledge of your discipline. A disciplined warrior will not ignore their flaws, but rather find ways to overcome them. If you are lacking in knowledge, then study. If you are lacking in skill, find new ways to practice. If you are lacking in spirit, meditate on having a success-oriented or black-belt mindset. Trust your training. Believe in yourself even when you don't feel like it.

Knowledge, skill, and spirit are the three parts to understanding, and ultimately applying any martial arts technique. The beginning of training begins with the acquisition of knowledge. One must learn and understand a technique before it can be translated into actual skill. Lastly, one must have the correct fighting spirit to apply the skill. Of the three pillars of training, however, spirit is the most important. A person determined to find a way to win, will often find it. If you lack the resolve to fight as hard as you can in a self-defense situation, you will find your knowledge and skill are not enough. We often hear about average, untrained guys beating the crap out of trained martial artists. How is this possible? There are many reasons such as inadequate skill-set, knowledge and so forth. However, the actual answer often lies in fighting spirit. I have seen many lower rank martial artists outfight experienced ones despite their obvious skill difference. It all comes down to the fighting spirit. Your fighting spirit must be focused to transcend the limits of your knowledge and skill.

I had a defensive tactics instructor that would contract out to train special forces soldiers. He was much more versed in hand to hand combatives than his trainees, but he was still truly frightened by these elite soldiers. If he was so much more skillful, what would he have to be intimidated by? The answer was in their overwhelming fighting spirit. They didn't care what they did to their bodies as long as they stopped the enemy. They would attack each other in training like they were wild animals. They were willing to sacrifice themselves for victory. They didn't care if their bones were broken, or even if they were horribly injured. They were going to do what it takes to win. Why were they willing to go this far? They were not fighting for ego or praise from their peers. Their focus was on protecting each other and making sure their families stayed safe. They didn't fight for themselves, but for everyone and everything they cared about. They fight for something bigger than themselves, and that kind of fighting spirit was what made them truly great.

In stark contrast to the fighting spirit of the elite, an unfortunate trend in modern martial arts has begun to take root where many practitioners focus way too much on acquiring new knowledge rather than examining the other two pillars. They often never develop the proper skills, not due to a lack of knowledge, but due to a lack of practice. Just because you can perform a move, it does not mean you have mastered it. This is one of the biggest differences between American Karate vs Japanese Karate. In Japanese Karate, they put way more of their time truly mastering all of the basics before adding on complexity.

To fully apply your techniques, your mixture of knowledge, skill, and spirit must be correct. Often the other elements are ignored. This leads to a lot of fighters with a broad range of knowledge, but they will never truly be great. In the pursuit of all of this knowledge, they never devote the time to become truly great at anything. To be a truly great martial artist, you must perfect the basics. The path to master is paved with an extreme understanding of basics and principles. The ones who can humble themselves and discover where they are lacking will eventually find their best selves.

Remember to balance the three pillars of training; knowledge, skill, and spirit. Acquire new knowledge to so that you can develop skill. After the first two have been achieved, the vehicle to make them work for you is entirely up to your own resolve and fighting spirit. These pillars apply to not only martial arts, but to success as a whole. If you are a business owner, applying these will give you a pathway to success. No matter your pursuit, the right mix of these pillars will enable you to go farther than your competition. Get out there, examine yourself, and get the pillars aligned with your goals!

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