"The Author, it must be remembered, writes from his own standpoint!"
My personal "Interpretive" Lens!

"One thing has always been true: That book ... or ... that person who can give me an idea or a new slant on an old idea is my friend." - Louis L'Amour

"Providing a first step on a path to self-reflection." - C. E. James

"Read not to contradict and confute; nor to believe and take for granted; nor to find talk and discourse; but to weigh and consider..." - Francis Bacon

"What is true today may be reevaluated as false not long after. Judgements are frequently based upon a set of "temporary" circumstances surrounding them. Conflicting ideologies can exist simultaneously. Antagonistic dualities are complementary aspects of a unified whole: are seen as mutually dependent mirror images of each other." - Nahum Stiskin

Warning, Caveat and Note: The postings on this blog are my interpretation of readings, studies and experiences therefore errors and omissions are mine and mine alone. The content surrounding the extracts of books, see bibliography on this blog site, are also mine and mine alone therefore errors and omissions are also mine and mine alone and therefore why I highly recommended one read, study, research and fact find the material for clarity. My effort here is self-clarity toward a fuller understanding of the subject matter. See the bibliography for information on the books.

Note: I will endevor to provide a bibliography and italicize any direct quotes from the materials I use for this blog. If there are mistakes, errors, and/or omissions, I take full responsibility for them as they are mine and mine alone. If you find any mistakes, errors, and/or omissions please comment and let me know along with the correct information and/or sources.

Kenpo Gokui

The lines of the ken-po goku-i are set from an atomistic aspect simply because it is the manner in which the brain learns. Its nature is completely holistic and like the I Ching must be in a form that promotes learning and understanding so a person can see, hear and grasp the nature of a holistic system. The gokui is a method to teach us how to be holistic. Its terseness is the best that can be done to convey its holistic meaning.

A person's heart is the same as Heaven and Earth while the blood circulating is similar to the Sun and Moon yet the manner of drinking and spitting is either soft or hard while a person's unbalance is the same as a weight and the body should be able to change direction at any time as the time to strike is when the opportunity presents itself and both the eyes must see all sides as the ears must listen in all directions while the mind must grasp all the tactual data not seen on all sides and not heard in any direction.

A person’s heart is the same as Heaven and Earth while circulatory system is similar to the cycles of the moon and sun yet the breathing methods are either hard or soft while one’s posture should allow one to advance, retreat, engage, and disengage as the body should be able to act in accordance with time and change so that one must enter a state of emptiness (mushin/zanshin) allowing the eyes must see all sides and the ears should listen in all directions while the mind must grasp all the tactual data not seen on all sides and not heard in any direction. - My rendition per translation from Andy Sloane Sensei.

Master Zeng said, "Am I preaching what I have not practiced myself?"

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Belt Colors - A Philosophical Gokui View

I found this on a Tae Kwon Do site explaining the significance of the various colors. They attribute that to some historical meaning that raised the question on how that could be since this particular martial art is a more modern creation. (Note: two changes were made below to make this more generic, i.e. martial arts from Tae Kwon Do and the "Color Brown" from "Color Red." 

Color White: signifies innocence, as that of a beginning student who has no previous knowledge of Martial Arts
Color Yellow: signifies the Earth from which a plant sprouts and takes roots as the Martial Arts foundation is being laid.
Color Green: signifies the plant’s growth as the Martial Arts skill begins to develop.
Color Blue: signifies the heaven, towards which the plant matures into a towering tree as training Martial Arts progresses.
Color Brown: signifies danger, cautioning the student to exercise control and warning the opponent to stay away.
Black Belt: opposite of white, therefore signifying the maturity, and proficiency in Martial Arts. It also indicates the wearer’s imperviousness to darkness & fear.

(When I read these it brings to mind my philosophical views through the study of the ken-po goku-i. You have a reference to Earth [a person's heart is the same as heaven and earth] and Heaven and of course Man [also a part of the trigrams of the I Ching, etc.], etc.)

What I found interesting here in this explanation is its inference toward the more Chinese spiritual views as might be presented in ancient classics such as the "I Ching," "Tao Te Ching," and others such as those derived from the study of Buddhism, Confucianism and Zen Buddhism, etc. 

Then I would add in that the colored belt system didn't exist prior to the very early 1900's. They were created by Kano Sensei of Judo fame. They were adopted through Funakoshi Sensei influence to Okinawa Karate systems. 

This is interesting and I personally like these explanations of what could have possibly been a color system but history tells us that the significance of the colors didn't exist even in the early days of Judo. Kyu grades, at least in the early 1900's on Okinawa, were actually "white and black" to later become "white, green and black" and in the late fifties and early sixties became, "white, green, brown and black." Even in Judo, the dan grades of black only went up to the fifth level or grade. 

It is interesting to find that stories that attach such significance to things martial arts lean heavily toward a more economic and commercial influence. Especially to the Kyu grades/levels, i.e. with ten levels that only had four colors to all ten having separate colors or certain colors with the stripes added. Even the stripes on the ends was a modern creation because in the mid-nineteen hundreds, say about the sixties or seventies, the three gold stripes that indicated honorary titles such as Hanshi, etc. were used and the west mistook them for representation of the dan levels/grades. There are only three recognized gold stripes on the black belt and they represent the three teaching levels of a master teacher, i.e. Kyoshi, Renshi and Hanshi. 

Again, the institution of those additional stripes to indicate the actual dan levels came from Western influences that were, in my view, driven by commercialism and economic needs. 

Regardless of all this speculation I like the explanations this group provided for these colors for the Kyu grades/levels but if I were to use them it would be more as a teaching tool and a philosophical perspective for a practitioner of martial systems to elucidate and contemplate in the hopes of creating a more "spiritual" view of martial arts, i.e. a more holistic practice developing the mind, body and spirit (not a religious spirit). 

1 comment:

  1. http://cookdingskitchen.blogspot.com/2012/08/color-in-chinese-culture.html