The Twenty Precepts of Gichin Funakoshi – No. 10

‘Put your everyday living into Karate and you will find ‘Myo’ (subtle secrets)’

Myo is considered to be a natural, unencumbered state of mind in which you transcend worry and act automatically.  It is the conscious mind delving into the unconscious.  This means knowing what to do in an unconscious level; not thinking about the move or the technique, but simply performing it.  This takes practice.  In kata this means flowing your movements into one another, not pausing to think about what is next.  It means not hesitating in Kumite even if you’re not sure what block to do.

Some karate practitioners can defend themselves in any situation not because they have amazing fighting abilities, but because they are aware of their environment.  This awareness allows them to notice a danger before it is apparent and enables them to respond appropriately on a base level with no conscious thought.

In ‘real life’ it is the idea that you walk into a room full of people and note the numbers, escape routes and atmosphere instead of just mingling.  When you sit in a chair you think in terms of self-defence: Does the chair have arms that restrict your movement? Could you rise quickly?  Could you use the chair as a weapon?  This seems like a game, but if you do it enough times, it becomes second nature, allowing you to be aware of and react quickly to danger without thinking; responding on an unconscious level.

When you’re going to cross the street, you always look both ways.  You do it without thinking and if there is a car coming, you wait automatically until the road is clear before stepping.  You don’t think about doing it.  You just do.  This is Myo.

By Karly West

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