Perfect practice makes perfect

The refined art of Shorin-ji Ryu Karate

I find that the best way to describe Karate is to compare it to yoga — just with more punches and kicks. Both require a great deal of mindfulness when it comes to the position of your body and limbs, and each position has to be just right. You can’t just throw a punch, for example. Your fist has to be level with your sternum, and angled in such a way where your index and middle knuckles are facing forward. Your arm has to bent slightly to avoid wearing out your elbow during practice. One of my karate teachers says “Perfect practice makes perfect.” Another one of my teachers often tells the story where he punched someone as a kid without the proper technique and ended up smashing his knuckles down flat. Needless to say, it’s a technique to keep track of when you’re starting out.

Eventually, it happens automatically. Your body’s memory develops as you practice, and eventually you can throw a punch without thinking about it. You’re still aware and mindful of the proper technique, but not as much. Getting to that point takes a lot of concentration and practice. Perfect practice, one might say.

In Chinese terms, Shuri-te styles are the Tiger styles of Karate, known for quick and fierce attacks.

The style of Karate that I practice is called Shorin-ji Ryu. It is one of the Shuri-te styles of Karate. In Chinese terms, Shuri-te styles are the Tiger styles of Karate, known for quick and fierce attacks. I remember one of my teachers telling us that although tigers are vicious, they barely make a sound with their padded feet. In comparison to the white and yellow belt students, the teachers can strike and move across the floor with barely a sound.

I can’t exactly place why Shorin-ji Ryu resonated with me so much. I initially chose it because I wanted to get back into martial arts and it was the only one that fit with my schedule But I’ve been doing it for a year now, and I can’t imagine giving it up. I can feel myself getting stronger. During the second semester of my first year, I developed the habit of rubbing my knuckles and my wrists. I could feel them getting stronger, the bone developing under my skin.

Keep trying, keep practicing, push yourself as hard as you can (without hurting yourself), and keep getting back up.

Shorin-ji Ryu for me goes beyond just working out. Something about the philosophy spoke to me. Keep trying, keep practicing, push yourself as hard as you can (without hurting yourself), and keep getting back up. Looking back, it was exactly what I needed to hear as a new student to UVic. For some reason, practicing Shorin-ji Ryu makes me want to be a better person. And as I start my second year at university, I can’t wait to get better at it.

And if Shorin-ji Ryu Karate sounds interesting to you, UVic has a club! We meet at Dance Studio #11 of the McKinnon Building (MCK) on Tuesday nights from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. weekly. You can sign up through Vikes.ca or at the main desk of both CARSA and McKinnon.

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