Seamus Phan

Speaker, Author, Strategist, Technologist, Artist

Tag: kata

Japanese temple grounds

Karate and leadership – when kata becomes perfect

A Karate sensei told the class, that one of his students, was not up to it.

The young man, although a black belt, was too impatient, too bent on winning, lacks the right motivation to learn, and that he lacked “uke” – the ability to “receive”.

In life, it is the same.

Those hell bent on winning, will end up miserable and ultimately defeated. Just as the true spirit of Karate is not to attack or to kill, but to defend.

The Karate-ka must be willing to receive gratefully and graciously. He must have discipline, before his discipline transforms into perfection. It is the same as Orthodoxy, seeking to defeat one’s own inner enemies, rather than to perceive everyone out there as an enemy. It is to defeat one’s own limitations, to rise above them. It is to defeat one’s own ego. This disciplined journey bears no enemies in others, and seeks only to defeat one’s own inner demons.

If you examine the word 型 (kata), which is the choreographed movements of Karate, it is made of two distinct Chinese characters, 刑 (punishment, or regulation), and 土 (soil/earth, or peasant).

kata in Karate (Chinese character)

Therefore, to perfect one’s kata in Karate, the Karate-ka must be humble and respectful, like the soil or a peasant, and have repeatable and centered discipline.

For a leader of an organization, if he is the black belt Karate-ka leading his people forward, he must find within him, no hatred, no malice, and he must perfect his strategy just as he would his “kata”, with discipline and humility. Therein lies perfection.

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