I have decided to share this statement by Kazumasa Yokoyama, since I completely agree with him. Karate is moving into the wrong direction. And in my opinion it has been doing so all along (at least in Germany).
Some years ago I took up saying that Karate was not for the many. Because the commitment and the hardships in body and mind set the standards – not the affiliations, fees, and memberships (and their duration) with any association. The striving for excellence and facing the dark sides is something to be done in the dojo, in private, under guidance of an experienced teacher, and without any „official recognition“. Most people drop out during this process. Not because they were not able to do Karate, but because they lacked the proper commitment. They didn’t sacrifice enough.
But the institutional efforts, the politics, and the discourses on power and legitimacy were adressing the many, constructing a form of Karate that has nothing to do with the content of the lip services paid by its adepts. So, in my opinion, it is the few Karate is „made“ for. It is the few that take up the necessary sacrifices.
Dissatisfied with the lacking of commitment of most people for Karate, I found and followed my own ways back then, which had me meet the teachers I learned so much from. And my commitment stays strong until this day.
After a fruitless effort to contribute to and improve the situation of institutionalized Karate, I finally refrained from doing so at the beginning of this year. Because I accepted that not everybody is ready for devotion. And those showing this devotion need to find their ways and teachers first.
So, Karate in the Olympics (or not) is irrelevant. It is not Karate. In my eyes, the true devotion is happening in the dojo by facing your fears. Go, find yourselves a teacher, learn and grow, join the few, be awesome!
The spread of karate should stop, it is moving in wrong direction. Since the beginning in karate training, I have had many issues; however, I have never disrespected or talked down about the master or other students in the dojo, have given me guidance, no matter what. Why, because I was very serious about karate training, receiving guidance from masters and others, I finally reached what I wanted from karate. Therefore I have nothing to complain about from what happened in my past training but only appreciation. Sensai is not just teaching karate, they develop and promote confidence and character of the individual. To do that you have to present the student by giving constructive criticism or praise them, the combination is necessary.
The ultimate goal is to mold and present a refined better person to the community. Unfortunately those kinds of attitudes, maybe is not necessary in this era. I have seen people move more towards politics and egos Anyone can call themselves Sensai and have unnecessary freedom and benefit for their own business. In this world I don’t see manners, honor and etiquette and I don’t see any attitude for respect, great tradition, great work and sincerity.
I don’t need to spread this way!!! I grew up with karate; I appreciate all aspects of the learning experience contributing to who I am today. Karate is moving more towards individual egos instead of promoting high quality. It is not worth sharing! Anyway, I will continue teaching and training regardless of negative influences, to promote the true path.
Yokoyama Kazumasa (Dec 4th, 2016)