Master Shigeru Egami: A new way

Extracted from the book:
Histoire de Karaté-dô
Written by Kenji Tokitsu
[Link to the Official Kenji Tokitsu website]
Editorial SEM, Paris
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This question concerns the method of the different karate schools, such as, Goju-ryu or Uechi-ryu, where the trainees practice their strength and physical resistance and do actually obtain important results. How shall we consider these? Is this matter also open to doubt?

Master Egami continues:

After this period I had to start to establish a new way by myself and follow it. The difficulties and the hardships in this work are beyond all words. Innumerable times I wished to abandon it and leave the way far behind. It was a job where I was investing my complete life. What I can now do is to straighten up and show the young ones the top of the mountain and tell them how to outline a path. I must confess that I am a bit tired of this work. I can no longer argue with the young ones. I wish they advance and go further than I...

A tsuki becomes a tsuki after it has begun to touch the body of the opponent. It is actually useless to worry about the speed (that is just a state of the tsuki proir to reaching its goal), you must rather worry if the tsuki is really effective. That's why you must train examining the state and the movement of your spirit as well as the opponent's.

He then searches for a solution in how to attain the unity of mind and spirit.

I reflected on this subject, I suffered, tormented myself and ended up discovering that there is a Shinpo spiritual method by which strength is concentrated in the technique. Real strength appears only when the body and the spirit are one. With these accomplishments I once again submerged myself in training that made me overcome the primary situation of the art of combat, the animal state of combat, where you search to win at any price and rather strive to attain a fusion with my adversary. I exited the world of conflict and found myself in a world of harmony and I understood that it was that way I would be able to find the way, the true way of karate.

The idea of harmony and the way may seem fragile and weak for a beginner or those that place value on physical strength, but there is nothing stronger than harmony and the way, because they are placed on the highest peak of the search within a martial art.

On the technical aspects, the consequences of the change from hardness to lightness are: My techniques changed, from dispersion to concentration, from body hardness to strength through lightness. All searches for a natural state, the state that has the effect of rejuvenating body and spirit. Effectivity and my mode of expression changed when I followed the method in basic techniques, kata and kumite. The changes must make practice stronger and more aesthetical. The technique movements are equivalent to music, the strokes drawn in space are painted on the canvas that is the universe. The Way of Karate can be the basis for all kinds of arts and this is the end result of the martial art...

Master Shigeru Egami really questions himself on the Way of Karate and it's future:

I must admit that the situation within karate today has completely degraded. With respect to this situation I admit feeling responsible too. In my youth I thought and acted with the prime directive of being effective in a real situation. Therefore I maily practiced free combat (jyu kumite), that is the original form of today's competition combat. To obtain a strong punch I trained with a very rigid makiwara. I strayed away from the essential training. I do not understand why karate today still continues to evolve in the wrong direction. If karate were defined merely as a sport competition, I would have nothing to say. But, is it not time to reflect and define what Karate really should be?

Originally to spanish by Xavier Mínguez, Shotokai de España

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