This is part one of a continuing series of topics to be covered by this reference. This is not designed to be a complete reference but rather a guide that can be utilized as an adjunct to one's training. The initial intention of creating this reference was as a tool to assist my students in discovering the "Do" of karate. The internet seemed to be the easiest way to disseminate this information.
Understand that some of the concepts discussed in this work take years to develop and if some of these concepts seem abstract to you and you are unable to experience them, do not worry, they will come in time. The concept of "mushin" took me 15 years of training to experience on my own without someone actively telling me what it was. I experienced it back in 1995 when I won the kumite championship at the IKA All Star Tournament. In my final match for first place I entered "the zone of mushin". My mind and body become one with 100% of my mental and physical body focused on my opponent without active conscious thought. I was on fire and was untouchable in that match. At that time I knew that I had experienced something special and sought out the meaning. It was shortly thereafter that Master Kubota taught me about mushin in a meditation session and over time I was able to put the two events together. Part of the problem was that I was unaware of the concept and did not know what I was I was experiencing until it happened. It was then that I learned that this state of mind could be entered at will and was a formidable skill that could be developed. It is my hope that by putting concepts like this in this reference that the practitioner will know of it's existence and will therefore know when they have experienced it. In addition, knowing about the concepts is the first step in being able to actively develop the skill.
My next series hopes to teach how to develop these skills and how to actively apply them to tournament competition. Prior to my victory at the IKA World Tournament in July 2000 in the heavyweight kumite and weapons kata I had made the decision to retire from active competition. It was after my victories that I decided to focus on the mental aspects and on teaching, hence the development of this work. Tournament competition is not a large part of karate-do but is only a phase of the training and can be used as a tool in the search of "the way".
I hope this has given you a greater insight in understanding karate-do and the importance of the mental aspects in the practice of karate and how karate is not just a method of fighting but a way of life and a philosophy all its own.