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No Zazen

Although we used to do so many years ago, we not longer practice zazen during our Karate classes. We do not practice zazen at all.

To tell the truth, I would prefer to practice Karate basics and kata rather than sit zazen. Actually, I would rather pick weeds, paint the house, or go fishing rather than sit zazen -- these things equally quiet my mind.

I am not a Zen priest and am not qualified to teach zazen. But if I was a Zen priest and was duly qualified, I think I still would not make zazen a part of Karate training. I do not believe that the early Karate masters in Okinawa did so. I suspect that Zen and zazen became more important in some Karate schools after the Ryuku Kingdom was overthrown and its lands were made a part of the Japanese empire. Zen and zazen were part of Japanese budo and as Karate instructors grappled to make their Okinawan art of Karate fit within the Japanese budo (martial art) system, some adopted the practices.

History aside, I just do not like sitting zazen. I would rather do something that produces a tangible result -- physical exercise, a clean yard, a painted house, catching a fish, etc.

But that is just me.

If a Zen priest got mad at me and said, "Charles, that was a bad thing to write. I am going to punch you on the nose!"

I would reply, "What sound would that make?"


Charles C. Goodin

P.S. One reason I wrote this post was because some Karate instructors make it seem that Japanese things like zazen have to be part of Karate training. I take Karate pretty seriously (just ask my wife and family) and I do not practice zazen at all. To practice Karate, I practice Karate... period. Karate is much more than enough for me. -- CCG