It has many times been said that sport karate and Karate-do are not the same thing, whereas there are others that express exactly the contrary. I would like to give my personal opinion on the subject.
Let us imagine two people that like to travel on boats along the course of a river. Both use the same types of boats, the same general equipment and follow the same route for hundreds of kilometers, arriving at the same destiny. They have done this for many years. Both love their activity, and due to this love, they have begun teaching others, sharing with them this activity they so much enjoy. But one of them has organized a group of people for a tournament. This tournament includes the same starting point and the same goal that the original journey had. After this event, his activity has become very successful and now every year tournaments are organized and in different seasons. He has consequently become a very famous instructor and the amount of followers he has generated is enormous. All want to compete and become the one that comes first to the goal.
As the river is dangerous, these new generations of rowers have had to learn a group of techniques to beat the others, these require many years of intense training, and work, to master. It is said that this really is a confrontation with yourself and that the mastery of these techniques really only represents the mastery of man over himself, but the truth is that still the highest expression is still to beat the others, to become the champion. It’s obvious the social acceptance that this implies, many see you win. If not, what would the objective be? Though then again, there are many for which it anyway is worth it.
One is practical and utilitarian and it becomes an external way (road) that needs titles, certificates, trophies, medals, etc. The other is a way (road) that is non-utilitarian, affective, integrative, it is an internal way that points to the human sensibility and his capacity to find the most profound truths in that which is most simple.
But the original people were two. What happened with the other one?
The other person that liked to travel along the river in boat, still does so and due to the fact that he loves this activity, he has wanted to share this with others. He has become an instructor. He teaches, exactly as the other instructor, all the secrets of the art of rowing down the river. He has taught how to enjoy the journey, to feel it, to love it, and all the technical secrets on how to do this with the least possible risks. But he does not teach how to compete, not even indirectly. He only teaches how to row down the river along the hundreds of kilometers that the journey lasts. Just as his colleague, he knows all the secrets of the river and the art of going down the river in boat. But his objective is not the goal, his goal is not the goal. His goal is the journey itself and in this process his students have discovered a world within themselves and through this they have discovered those that surround them. They have learnt from themselves and from their friends, they have learnt about the flora (plants) and the fauna (animals), they have learnt to live a little more.
Now both of them are old and they continue to teach their many followers. They still use similar equipment, they use the same boats, the same oars and the same river. Many people in the general public think that what they teach and practice is the same thing. This opinion based on the fact they use similar equipment and the same river. But the truth is different, so different that there really does not exist any relationship between the two activities, they obey very different internal realities. One is practical and utilitarian and it becomes an external way (road) that needs titles, certificates, trophies, medals, etc. The other is a way (road) that is non-utilitarian, affective, integrative, it is an internal way that points to the human sensibility and his capacity to find the most profound truths in that which is most simple. They are diametrically opposed. One of them is directed towards materialism, towards fanfare, celebration, vanity and superficiality. The other is directed towards sentiment, towards internal retreat, towards harmony and integration with nature and in some, towards extasis, mysticism, God.
If somebody has the experience, how can they teach competition?
Humberto Heyden Sensei expresses his views on
a delicate subject, comparing sport and art (or „Do”)