Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Martial status

Its not a typo error like you might have thought. It's martial status I want to talk about today and not marital status which usually plays in the mind of guys my age.
Don't get me wrong here. Martial status is just a symbolic word I'm using to present the legacy I got from my dad and a generation before him. I received two separate versions you see.
I remember vague pictures from my childhood where men clad in whites executing precisely designed movements in unison to the sharp command of my father. That was the legacy I got from him. Karate.
From the time I could comprehend words, I heard about the heroics of my dad's uncle, who happens to be my grandpa in a way, about his mastery of the locks and the throws. That's the legacy I got from him. Wrestling and through it the martial art of Judo.
I was literally born into a dojo. My dad had a karate class at home along with the few he had at various other places and a whole lot of students. He was one of the senior masters of the art in Kerala, my home state, and a respected Sensei in karate circles.
What karate has given me is hard to summarise. I would say - everything. It gave my dad. It defined my relationship with him; with my uncle, who is also a first dan in the art. It nourished the mutual camaraderie and more than average love I share with my brother. Above all, it shaped the man in me.
Of course I got my mama without the art ok. Mama is just mama, no other fineprints there.
When I first started my blog, I named it Life, Philosophy n martial arts because I had planned to write just that. My life. My life has its philosophy which I sometimes boast to friends as an unadulterated one. Unadulterated by books I mean. But influenced by a host of other factors. I needn't mention that martial arts is one of them because it is the primary one, I dare say.
But karate, judo and wrestling were missing from the issues I addressed in my blog till now. The reason is I have moved away from the way ever so briefly - last two years, because of my physical injuries and professional duties. Practising the sacred art became less frequent and I lost the light in me to talk about my experiences as an artist.
How can I write about the art when I don't practise it. Now that I have resumed training, hopefully I shall soon bridge the gap between the real me and what I've become now.
Once that happens, I would be at peace with myself on a daily basis which is not the case now. Now peace comes in small packets for me here and there. Frankly I am tired of it.
Now, slowly I would be able to say...... "I travel alone in this world. But I fear no one because I have my two empty hands" - the words of my great grandmaster Sensei Zenryo Shimabukoru of Japan.
It epitomises the philosophy of the art I practise.
Karate - Way of the empty hand.

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