Unfortunately, nowadays, in most martial arts schools, far too little attention is paid to meditation and traditional rituals. Often only fragmentary remains of it can be seen, or they are even left out completely. I would therefore like to list the most important points here.
Since karateka is usually not a zafu (Seat cushion) in the dojo, the traditional lotus pose as practiced by the monks is not practical. We are therefore sitting in the traditional Seiza.
The knees are so far apart that they together form an equilateral triangle (mostly they are too far or too close apart) . The pelvis is inclined forward from the level of the fifth lumbar vertebra. The spine is well arched and the back is kept straight. You press with your knees on the ground, and with your head against the sky. The chin is pulled back and the neck is stretched well.
The abdomen is relaxed and the nose is in a vertical line above the navel. You are like a drawn bow, with the spirit as an arrow.
After you have assumed this position, you put your fists (Thumbs in) on the thighs near the knees, and keep the back quite straight; seven, eight times to the left and right.
The pendulum movements become less and less until you sit completely relaxed in your own center. Place your right hand with the inner surface facing up, exactly in front of your hara. Place the back of the left hand on the palm of the right hand, both thumb tips are supported against each other. The thumbs, together with the palms, form an oval with the hara in the middle. The thumbs form neither mountain nor valley. This position is called “Hokai-Jo-In”.
Then squat with your body upright, without leaning to the left or right, or leaning forward or backward. Ears and shoulders, nose and navel, must be in line with each other.
The tongue rests on the upper palate behind the upper incisors, lips and teeth are closed (connect the KI center) but the eyes are always half open. The posture is already determined.
However, depending on the situation and the condition of the students, the master can order other behaviors in order to change to the basic attitude in later steps. Sometimes the master realizes that it is better for the student to practice, for example, with his eyes open or closed for a while, breathing with his mouth open, etc. This should not confuse the students.
Now regulate your breathing. Here, too, one has to trust in the guidance of the master and follow his instructions exactly.
There are a number of breathing techniques. But not everyone is right for every condition! If you use the wrong one for the respective situation without knowing the various breathing techniques and without knowing exactly what their effects are, this can be harmful or even dangerous. So follow Master’s instructions carefully.
When a thought arises, notice it, when you notice it, let it go! If you practice for a long time you will forget the objects and you will find yourself concentrating.
When you grasp the purpose of the exercise, the body feels light and calm, the mind refreshed and clear. The right thoughts are clearly delimited, everyday life corresponds to the natural state.
You must know that when the right state appears, darkness and distraction disappear. When you get up from crouching, move slowly and your body remains calm. Avoid violent movements. If you retain the power of concentration at all times, you will cross all barriers in this endeavor, and you will be completely filled with yourself, without any hindrance. This is the fullness of the way.
As the old masters taught, transcending “profane and sacred” is based on silence (of zazen) . Liberation in crouching and striving while standing are also based entirely on the power of concentration.
The koans from lifting the finger, from the location of the wild geese, from measuring the stick and many others. stepping out of space, the lotus flower of Shakjamuni, clapping a hand, etc., etc., these are not understood by discriminating thinking, much less can be understood through the practice of “miraculous powers”.
Therefore do not argue about wisdom and folly. Do not distinguish between astute and dull people. Just follow the course of the Tao!
Why do you forget to sit in your own house and uselessly turn to the dusty fields of foreign countries? Do not pass the days and nights in vain. Always remember to follow the Tao.
Modern education puts language, words, and discussion first, but often the words do not express the true spirit or deeper meaning of attitude. We need to convey our experience “from my heart to your heart” “Ishin – Denshin”. We have to practice thinking with the whole body. Thinking non-thinking (Hishiryo-think) .
In the basic posture, the eyes are open, the gaze is directed to the floor about one meter in front of you. In reality it is going inside. The half-closed eyes do not look at anything, even if one sees everything intuitively! (The mind rests in the left hand)
Breathing plays a very important role. Zen breathing cannot be compared to any other. When you focus on a long, smooth, deep exhalation, the inhalation will naturally happen on its own.
The air is expelled slowly and quietly while the pressure created by the exhalation rises powerfully down into the abdomen. You “press” on the intestines and thus cause a healing massage of the internal organs.
Now it is important to know that Zen breathing contains an external and an internal breath. External breathing is the breathing of air with the lungs (Oxygen supply – nitrogen removal).
Internal respiration carries oxygen and AI from the lungs to the blood and cells throughout the body.
Here, too, there are different techniques depending on the condition and situation, depending on where and how a balance is to be established. Used the wrong way, it can create an imbalance. (It is important to keep this in mind)
The inner attitude in kumite must not be any other than it usually is. Make sure that you are always the same with kumite, as in everyday life: open mind, without further ado, without senseless effort, but also not slack. That you are at ease in your heart, and of calm equanimity, but still not sink into this equanimity for a moment.
Don’t let your heart starve, but make sure it doesn’t care too much.
In order to form a reliable judgment in combat, many years of persistent practice are required. You should do everything in your power to observe the principles of the universe, no matter how great a distress from your opponent, and to maintain a calm inner attitude.
Stand or move upright with your head neither bowed nor facing the sky. Keep your facial features, your facial expressions, under control, and do not grimace.
The facial expression is calm and relaxed. Be careful not to let your eyes wander aimlessly. Let your shoulders hang, but keep your back straight. Pull in your buttocks and stand firmly on your legs. Keep your stomach tense so that you don’t buckle your hips. But don’t be tense, just be relaxed and relaxed.
Your normal stance should always be the fighting stance, or vice versa. You have to memorize that well!
The view of the opponent in battle is comprehensive and open. A distinction is made between the penetrating and the perceiving gaze. The penetrating gaze needs a lot of strength, the perceiving gaze little strength.
In kumite it is important to see what is far as clearly as what is near, and to see what is near with a testing distance. To recognize the attitude of the opponent down to the bottom and not to be distracted by external movements.
Keep both sides in view, right and left, without moving your eyeballs. Experience shows that with kumite there is no certain basic attitude that must be taken.
There are different basic positions that can be taken, (these are required for the Kyu degrees) , but the masters don’t have to do this, they don’t care whether you ingest it or not. The position and posture only has to harmonize with the respective situation, it has to match his feelings.
The following wisdom may serve as a guide:
You catch fish with the net, take the fish and forget about the net. The trap is used to catch rabbits, take the rabbit and forget the trap. Words are used to express thoughts, take the thoughts and forget the words. Where can I find a person who forgets the words that I can talk to?