Category Archives: vocab

What we teach

funakoshi

At Viola Karate we teach traditional martial arts and training methods including:

What we Teach Kanji Description Memo
BuJutsu 武術 Martial Arts-skill, method, science of Japan – older/parent (warrior technique) mortal combat self-protection
Budo 武道 Martial Way – philosophical Life skills more modern 17th century+ self-perfection
Bugei 武芸 Art of War – Catchall term for Japanese fighting arts  embracing both budo/bujutsu  bu=martial gei=art military art
Martial Arts 武芸 Latin term “arts of Mars” (Mars/Roman god of War) it is the umbrella and generic term for fighting arts
Karate 空手 1 of many Japanese martial arts (judo, jujutus, akido etc.) meaning “empty hand” (developed in Okinawa) influenced by Chinese Kenpo
Shotokan 松濤館 A Japanese style of martial arts created by Gichin Funakoshi (1868-1957) meaning the house of pine waves
Kumite 組手 Fighting: using martial arts skills  (waza) in realistic combat situations such as free sparring or block and counter. meaning crossing of hands
Goshin 護身 Real world self-protection techniques self-defense
jū-jutsu 柔術 Close combat used to neutralize an opponent in the form of pins, join locks, throws and submissions Jiu-jitsu is the Brazilian spelling
Tegumi 手組 Japanese wrestling, submissions and leverage kumite backwards
Kihon 基本 The fundamentals and building blocks of karate (blocks, punches, kicks, strikes, stances) Basics
Kata Karate forms required for advancement.  Memorized patterns of techniques that simulate an imaginary fight
Bunkai 分解 Analysis or disassembly of kata to fully understand its techniques to break down
Oyo 応用 Application of bunkai by extracting movements of the bunkai (personal and creative interpretation) apply, practical use
Kobudo 古武道 Okinawan weapons training including the bō (wooden staff) sai Old martial way

Mokuso #Focus

Mokuso 黙想

To Focus and Clear One’s Mind

mokuso
Gabby Viola in “Mokuso” a position of focus performed in Seiza where students clear their minds and prepare to train.

At Allegheny Shotokan “Viola Karate” we teach our kids much more than punches and kicks.  We prepare them for the real battles–Mental.  Mokuso is the Japanese term for meditation and we have adopted this practice to help clear our minds before we train. For our Norwin Ninjas we refer to this practice as “5-seconds of Shizuka” a Sensei Says skill.  Loosely translated it means, “5-seconds of silence” and helps calm the children down after a fun drill. Either way, Mokuso is practiced to help relieve stress, sharpen our minds, and channel energy.

Mokuso 黙想 is an opportunity to eliminate all the stress weighing you down and enter a state of peace.  This does not have any religious significance at our dojo, it is purely an exercise for controlling our emotions and concentration.

  • 黙 (mo/dama) Silent

  •   (so) Thoughts

While in your “silent thoughts” you should practice correct breathing.  This will help relive tension (stress).  It should be from your 腹 “hara” aka belly (not your stomach but more of a metaphysical area).  Why?  Your center is where your energy is stored.  If you observe a new born, or even animals you will notice the abdominal breathing. As adults, we tend to breath more from our chest.

Your tanden 丹田 (field) is a few inches below your navel (deep within the hara). Samurai believed that this is where your spirit lived.  It is essentially the body’s center of gravity.  The tanden acts as a reservoir of vital energy 気 (Ki Energy) and through correct breathing you can charge🔌 these batteries 🔋 so to speak.

FYI:  We typically perform Mokuso in 正座 “Seiza” which literally means proper/correct sitting in Japanese. (Kneeling on the floor and folding legs under the thighs and 尻 “shiri” (your butt 😂)  The tops of the feet are flat and big toes cross.

  • 丹 (tan) medicine (medical substance)

  • 田 (den) field

Physiologically the diaphragm controls the breathing.  So one should Inhale through the nose (slowly from deep within the center) and slowly exhale through your mouth.

mushin
Sensei Viola Sr. and Jack Sensei Bodell

This training also prepares you the concept of mushin 無心 (no mind).

  • 無 (mu) not or without

  • 心 (shin) heart-mind

Mushin is having a mind “not” fixed or occupied by thought or emotion…thus the mind is open to everything.In this state you can be to everything. Mushin is free from anger, fear, or ego during combat. In terms of Kumite, I like empathize this mindset as “no fear.”  You feel no pain, you are unstoppable.

I believe you can exhibit Mushin in all areas of training:  Calisthenics, Kihon, Kumite etc.

colin madden, xander eddy, ethan gaudi
Mushin (Free From Pain)

Mushin (No Fear) Shihan Viola #kumite in the 1960s 

In moments of silence, it is said we can discover a pure side of ourselves. Some call it living in the moment. This “void” is a difficult concept to grasp. In Japan there is an expression, “mizu no kokoro” which means “mind like water.” The idea is to “become one” with your attacker in order to make an “instant” reactions (just like still water reacts when its touched).

So practice emptying your cup…

bruce lee kumite

 

“Empty your mind, be formless shapeless — like water. If you put water into a cup, it becomes the cup. You put water into a bottle and it become the bottle. You put it in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Now, water can flow or it can crash. Be water, my friend.” -Bruce Lee

 

 

mokuso

Shin

The Fives “Spirits” of Budo (martial way) are:

  • Shoshin: (初心) Beginners’ Mind
  • Zanshin: (残心) Remaining Mind
  • Mushin: (無心) No Mind
  • Fudoshin: (不動心) Immovable Mind
  • Senshin (先心) Purified spirit; Enlightened Attitude/Mind

Shoshin

The state of shoshin is that of a beginners mind.  It is a state of awareness the remains always fully conscious, aware, and prepared to see things for the first time.  The attitude of shoshin is essential to continued learning.  Great quote:  “Don’t expect me to teach you.  You must steal the techniques for yourselves.”
Zanshin
The spirit of zanshin is the state of the remaining.  It is often described as a sustained and heightened state of awareness.  In karate technique terms, true zanshin is a state of focus or concentration before, during, and after the execution of a move.  Zanshin is the state of mind that allows us to stay spiritually connected, not only to a single attacker, but to multiple attackers and even an entire context; a space, a time, an event.

 

Mushin
No mind, a mind without ego.  A mind like a mirror which reflects and dos not judge.”  The original term was “mushin no shin”, meaning, “mind of no mind.”  It is a state of mind without fear, anger, or anxiety.  Mushin is sometimes described by the phrase, “mizu no kokoro”, which means, “mind like water”.  The phrase is a metaphor describing the pond that clearly reflects it’s surroundings when calm, but whose images are obscured once a pebble is dropped into its waters.
Fudoshin
An unshakable mind and an immovable spirit is the state of fudoshin.  It is courage and stability displayed both mentally and physically.  Rather than indicating rigid, inflexibility, fudoshin describes a condition that is not easily upset by internal thoughts or external forces.  It is capable of receiving a strong attack while retaining composure and balance.  It receives and yields lightly, grounds to the earth, and reflects aggression back to the source.

 

Senshin
Senshin is a spirit that transcends the first four states of mind. Sen (as in sensei) means “before” and we know shin can mean mind, heart, soul spirit, truth etc.  It is a spirit that “harmonizes” the universe.  Senshin is a spirit of compassion that embraces and serves all humanity and whose function is to reconcile discord in the world.  It holds all life to be sacred.  Fully embracing senshin is essentially equivalent to becoming enlightened and may well exceed the scope of daily martiala rts training.

 

Shoshin can free a student from a frustrating plateau of learning, giving him the sight to see what he would not see before.  Zanshin can raise one’s total awareness enhancing randori and free-style training.  Mushin can release the student’s anxiety under pressure enabling better performance during testing.  Fudoshin, can provide the confidence to stand one’s ground in the face of overwhelming physical attacks.  The serious aikidoka should find ways of incorporating these budo spirits in his daily training.

Shoshin: This is like a little baby born into the World, eyes wide open trying to absorb as much information as they can.

Zanshin: Is a state of heightened awareness. Great example 2 vs 1 kumite.

Mushin: in like being in the “zone”. Body just takes over with no thought.  Michael Jordan used to get into the “zone” and everything just worked.

Fudoshin: Self-control and strong composure. Student must show patience and hold their ground waiting for the opponent to attack so they can catch them.

Senshin: The ultimate mindset.  One we all wish to obtain.

FYI:  Senshin is the name of the “Sophisticated Mind” brand of Sake.  This may be cheating, lol.