Wednesday, March 26, 2014

KOUSHINKAI Ideals and Etiquette

Osu (押忍) is an ideal that we strive for. Osu is written with the kanji “push” and “endure”.  In Koushinkai, the word “Osu” is substituted as a greeting and also used when acknowledging our instructors and peers. When using the word “Osu”, we should be reminded that we are pushing ourselves and each other to achieve goals that will require us to endure the hardships of rigorous training.



The Spirit of Osu 

Bear the unbearable, endure the impossible, press forward when pressed upon, press forward when withdrawn; this is the spirit of Osu.

  • The ultimate aim of Koushinkai Karate is to strengthen mind, body, and spirit though Karate training.
  • Rei () (manners; etiquette) is the most important quality of a Koushinkai Karate-ka.
  • We expect everyone in the club to train hard but not to train harder than they are capable.
  • Safety in practice is our primary concern.
  • Spiritual development is equally as important as physical development.

吾以外皆師 (I learn from everyone else) Every person and thing we come in contact with, in their own ways, has “something” that I don’t have.  If they could be taken in meekly, all objects in heaven and earth will become a valuable teacher.  It is essential to lose the ego and have a humble attitude to learn for any degree of personal progress.

生涯一求道者 (This is a lifetime pursuit) There is no limit to progress.  There is no pause or stop in a person’s progress.  Not forgetting our original purpose and holding steadfastly to our pure desire to learn, be ever learning and ever growing.

  • Respect the Dojo by bowing and pronouncing “Osu!” before entering or exiting.
  • If you arrive late to class, please prepare yourself to join (dress, warm up, stretch) and sit in seiza facing away from the class. The instructor will invite you to join in a way that doesn’t disrupt the flow of the class.
  • Respect the instructor leading class by lining up promptly when class begins or when returning from a break during class.
  • Respect the instructor by not interrupting during instruction.
  • Respect your peers by following safety guidelines and instruction.
  • Lastly, honor Koushinkai Karate and your peers by striving to live outside the dojo as a moral and productive member of society. The ideals of Karate should extend into other areas of your life.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Update: Belt Test Guide

By request of club members, I'm posting the updated best test guide. Please use this guide to help prepare yourselves for upcoming best tests! Osu!

Thursday, January 2, 2014

New Year's Practice

This year, on New Year's Day, we held our first club practice of the year. This has actually been a tradition of Chris and Tim for the past 7 years, but they decided to extend the invitation to the entire club this year. We plan to continue this tradition as a club so that we start the year off right!

At the end of practice, Chris offered some advice that I think is worth noting. He talked about using Karate to our individual benefit. Whether that's fitness, a fun family activity, or self-defense, we all have different motivations for joining this club. You get out of practice what you put into practice. You will also get out of the club what you put into the club. Finally, Chris encouraged us to get out to practice more often and to develop individual goals to reach.

There are so many exciting things happening in the club right now. Don't miss out!


Theo R. Okawa

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

My Black Belt Test

Last Saturday, I took my black belt test. During the course of the test, I vomited several times, became so fatigued that I could not stand, and took several blows to my head (wearing protection) that I became somewhat disoriented. I’m proud to say I survived it!

In martial arts, black best tests are often seen as a demonstration of the skills acquired by the applicant while studying at the dojo. In KOUSHINKAI Karate, there is an added element of perseverance, what we call the ‘Spirit of Osu’, that must also be clearly demonstrated. I knew this prior to my test. I spent the month prior to the exam practicing kata, using HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) inspired workouts, practicing and increasing the number of pushups/sits ups/squats I could do, and working on my kumite combinations. In KOUSHINKAI Karate, all tests are catered to push each individual to his/her limit, the instructor recognizes individual limits vary, and is conducted with safety as top priority.

There were a few things that surprised me about the test itself that I also believe are worth mentioning. Being nervous definitely contributed to my fatigue. Also, doing pushups/sit ups/squats x 100, and essentially achieving muscle failure in my major muscle groups, affected my kumite a lot more than I anticipated. I felt like I could barely stand, let alone use foot work. When I got hit in the torso, I lacked the core strength to tighten up. It felt like I was getting hit while I was inhaling each time. Since we were striking full contact, it had a big impact on my performance. Finally, while I had practiced fighting with head protection, and had taken blows in practice, the fatigue factor greatly impacted my body’s ability to handle head strikes. In fact, having watched the video of the kick and hook I received to the head, I realize that there were not even thrown with full strength, thank goodness, and yet when I received them, it really did feel like a hammer was being swung at me! I feel like this has much more to do with being exhausted to the point of not being aware of the attack.

KOUSHINKAI is a self-defense oriented karate style. We do not focus on martial art as sport or performance art; we use traditional karate ideals to improve our abilities in practical self-defense. I believe my test showed two things. First, my consistent practice and dedication to my art has paid off. I wouldn't have survived what I just went through 3 years or even 3 months ago. Second, I have much to learn and can improve in many areas. I’m excited to continue my journey. 


Theo R. Okawa