The Professor told us time was up. Everyone was to pass their exams forward until all the tests reached the front of the class. I had been looking at a question for the last few minutes and still had not written a word. The question was worth 5 points and panic was not helping my brain as the tests were being passed towards me. As the person behind me slaps my head with completed exams, I scribble down 4 words. Not exactly a paragraph but it was something and that alone made me feel better.
The room cleared and groups of students started comparing thoughts on the test. The discussion quickly turned to the question that stumped me. Everyone voiced that there was a deep philosophical answer to this question. This was 2nd year Sociology. One keen student wrote a whole page on it, another wrote a page and a half. Guess I didn’t study that section of the material enough. I told them my 4 words and they both laughed at me.
The next class would reveal all the answers, Interestingly the keener got 2 points out of 5 for his answer and the page and a halfer only received one point. The question was “ What happens when you solve social problems? “ It became the only thing I clearly remember learning from that sociology class. Not because I read it in a book, it came to me in a moment of urgency and squished out of my brain because of forward thinking. Karate thinking.
Our karate training takes us down a guided path where the Sensei shows a technique, that is trained towards perfection, then later used to facilitate tactics that will initiate strategies to a given moment, attack or opponent. There are many moving parts to this learning and many more parts to what people interpret from the lessons involved. Each technique has been filtered down from successful and unsuccessful encounters. History backs us up to the 1600s in Okinawa where mistakes had grave consequences. The basic forms that are in each style of karate evolved because of what those Sensei thought were best to survive in a given situation. Each of the basics has a “what’s next” and “what if “and “then what”. Although it may not be explained to the students, it is the most important puzzle for them to discover. Why do we do it like this? Unfortunately this searching is often lost in the comfortableness of today’s society.
Everyday is another chance to learn. Have we looked at the situation from all angles? When we think of what comes next, have we thought outside the box or is what we think comes next only one routine? Could there be other alternatives? How do our actions affect others, in everyday life and fighting in the ring? Are we reading things in either of those situations right? How good are we at noticing the subtleties? To misperceive in either situation could alter the rest of our lives. To understand and think ahead could redirect us as well.
There are many throws in Chito ryu. Each technique has variations and counter attacks to the counter attacks. An example is that each throw has a fundamental concept that can be expanded into 8 basic directions and then variations to produce kuzushi in each of those. Then counters to all those counters. In the Western world we want to hear a black and white, this is the way you do it but often the answer from Soke Sensei is “your choice”. But if we do a technique fundamentally wrong we will get that look of “What are you doing?” I think “Your Choice” is short for “do any option that fits this particular situation using correct basics of the style, that you should have from all the practicing of correct basics and correct concepts. Your choices are limitless but limited to proper technique.
To discover the possibilities we must train. The more we train the more possibilities exist. When we create solutions there are always more things that can happen.
Question – What happens when we solve social problems?
We create other problems. = 5 points
Forward Thinking decreases the Natural Selection process. Adaptation equals Evolution so keep training and keep learning.