More Reflections on the GCL Method of Modern Karate.
A: This system of karate prepares students for real-deal, no rules, no one to help you, full-contact fighting.
Our ‘style’ comes from a long-line of traditional-yet-modern full-contact (“knockdown”) karate schools, specifically Kyokushinkai and Enshin. Our focus, however, is not on winning tournaments, but surviving violent encounters with one or more opponents, both ‘armed’ and ‘unarmed’. Its nickname, Shigaisen, means “street fighting” in the Japanese language.
While we do like the aesthetic (and notoriously tough training) of traditional karate, we also realize that we live in the 21st century. And we live in the United States, with its rising crimes rates (hate crimes in particular); and its long history (and current reality) of the celebration and glorification of violence (and its numerous and varied justifications). This environment has shaped us culturally and psychologically.
We study how assaults actually happen. We study how the human body and mind react to sudden violence. We study anatomy and physiology. We examine and re-examine the effectiveness of our techniques, strategies, and physical conditioning. We also look at relevant media on the subjects of law, law enforcement, self-defense, and more from credible sources and discuss these issues in class, occasionally inviting experts to come and share their insights with us. We routinely cross-train with other fighting styles and self-defense systems as part of our own continuing education.
GCL Modern Karate students do participate in full-contact knockdown tournaments, as well as in MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) matches, but their participation is considered ‘seasonal’, ‘extra-curricular’ and [always] voluntary.
Another difference is the student body itself. This school tends to attract people who are just as concerned with the state of the community (and the world) as they are with their own health, wellness, and personal safety goals.
Q: What is the ‘spiritual’ aspect of the karate that you teach?
A: Osushinobu, or “Osu”, which means “to persevere”. Perseverance is required in training because it is required in an altercation; the greater the will of an individual to live, the higher the probability they will survive the encounter. Interestingly, perseverance of a different type is required in day-to-day life as well.
Q: What is your ‘philosophical’ outlook on life?
A: I think very deeply (lol). I strive to be my best and I pursue this with both enthusiasm and patience, and I encourage my students to do the same. I also tell them to do in the world, as we do in the dojo: leave it better than you found it. And, if everyone does a little, together we can do a lot.
I am firmly in favor of a world in which no one goes to bed hungry, homeless, hopeless, or hurt; especially children. I am for freedom, justice, and equality for the entire human family of our planet. This karate is a part of my own personal expression of this desire.
Dare to be ‘different’. Dare to be yourself. Dare to be your true self.
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