Prioritizing the 3 Pillars of Integrity

Prioritizing the 3 Pillars of Integrity

Spending only a little time at Karate West, you will soon realize that we do so much more than teach martial arts. We make it a priority to teach life skills that improve the lives of our students, as well as everyone that they encounter. In order to more effectively single-out these ever-important skills, we make each month a focus on just one. This month, we have decided to focus on Integrity. Integrity is a skill by which the world judges someone’s character. The level of our integrity also affects how we value our self-worth. To help you better understand what it means to have integrity, we have separated the concept into three core pillars. Honesty Quite possibly one of the most important pillars of integrity, is maintaining honesty, but that may mean more than simply always telling the truth. One cannot lead a life of integrity by lying or keeping secrets, but sometimes revealing information to someone may be unkind. You always need to take someone’s feelings into account when you practice honesty. However, dishonesty for your own benefit is always the wrong decision to make. Even when you feel that you might get in trouble for speaking the truth, even though it might be hard to be honest, you will notice a positive difference in how people view your character when you make the right decision. Morality In establishing your own moral compass, it’s important to first identify what your personal meaning in life is. What is right and wrong can often be measured by how it aligns with that priority. If you read last month’s Karate...
Leading a Compassionate Life

Leading a Compassionate Life

At Karate West, we teach that a compassionate lifestyle is core to living a full life and is key to the happiness of everyone involved in the act. It’s about recognizing the person left out of the crowd and talking to them when no one else will. It’s about standing up for the causes that benefit those in need and doing the right thing even if it’s not always the easy thing. The truth is that being a compassionate person is almost never easy, but there is so much good that we are capable of each and every day. It would be a dire injustice to the world to let those opportunities pass by. The first important aspect to understand is why it’s often so difficult for us to make decisions that show compassion for others. After all, we know that it feels good to be on the receiving end of a compassionate gesture, so why would we not extend that feeling toward someone else, especially one who is in need? Well, it’s complicated because it originates from many of our more selfish tendencies. We are all striving for success in our lives, and sometimes helping someone else feels like a distraction or a deviation from that path. Fighting those impulses can feel impossible, especially if we think that we might be ostracized by others in our community by lending a hand to an outsider or an individual in-need. This difficulty extends even more so toward those we feel are roadblocks to our ultimate goals. We are regularly made to feel that our enemies should be fought and hated,...
How Martial Arts Can Improve Your Focus

How Martial Arts Can Improve Your Focus

When you think of martial arts, what comes to mind? Is it kicking and punching, jumping and the occasional shouting? Is it controlled breath, proper posture, balance, and accuracy? Oftentimes, martial arts encompass many of these things simultaneously, but towards a goal. For some, that goal is a sense of safety through self-defense technique. Some simply want to attain a level of fitness. However, martial arts almost always offer something that people don’t necessarily expect: focus. This month at Karate West, we celebrate the Life Skill of focus. It’s no secret that the ability to properly focus our efforts is an invaluable skill. When we set our minds to accomplish something, it is focus that ensures we see it through to the end. Without this skill, our actions might not amount to much at all. Although anyone can make use of learning the benefits of proper focus, those benefits increase exponentially for those who have learned it at a young age. Some parents might worry that enrolling their children into martial arts could encourage violent behavior, but it’s actually just the opposite! Martial arts aim to teach self-defense, but more importantly they teach responsibility and control. To correctly execute martial arts, one must perform with precision, controlled breath, proper posture, and balance, all of which are vital elements to focus successfully. Like many physical activities, martial arts require that its students command multiple elements simultaneously in order to continue seeing improvement. Of course, that doesn’t come without regular concentration. We never expect that a beginner student to be able to perform a kata after his/her first session, but through...
Positive Attitude and Its Effects on Your Health

Positive Attitude and Its Effects on Your Health

One of Karate West’s favorite Life Skills is that of a “Positive Attitude.” This is for a variety of reasons. Not only can this life skill be incredibly influential and encourage success over the course of your life, but there are a variety of health benefits that have been linked to it as well! At Karate West, we promote self-defense, as well as personal fitness and growth. As part of our mission to help all of our students find the best in themselves, we’ve decided to emphasize the importance of positivity to the quality of your health. With this month’s blog, we will explore just how significant a positive attitude can be on the quality and longevity of your life. Heart disease is a major killer of adults throughout the world. That’s why one study conducted in 2013 decided to focus on hospital patients affected by the disease to test its hypothesis that there may be a direct effect on the heart in those who expressed more positive attitudes. Researchers analyzed 607 patients, and out of those patients, those who expressed more positivity had a lower risk of death for up to five years. However, as patients who remained positive were also more likely to exercise, researchers were unable to identify positivity as the direct cause of prolonged life. It was concluded that the combination of these factors may have resulted in the patients’ healthier living. It’s no secret that regular exercise has a wide range of benefits. Our April blog post on the importance of fitness explains that it can provide us with lower blood pressure, stronger bones...
A History of Shudokan Karate

A History of Shudokan Karate

Soon, Karate West will be hosting a Japanese Shudokan Masters Seminar event, during which 10th degree black belt masters Ishida Hanshi and Miyachi Kenji Hanshi will be teaching two different kata. With that event in mind, we thought it would be an appropriate time to explore the historical development of our school of karate. Kanken Toyama’s Okinawa Seitou Karate-Do, also known as ‘Shudokan’ in America, was originally developed by Kanken Toyama when he opened his first dojo in Tokyo on March 20th, 1930. When he established the school, it was called Shu Do Kan, which literally translates to “the hall for the study of the way of karate” or more figuratively translates to “an institution for cultivating the way.”  Thus, its establishment was to discover a more natural and right way to live through the methods taught in karate. While Shudokan is commonly accepted to be its own school of karate today, Toyama-san never claimed to have invented something new. He was originally a student of Ankō Itosu, the man famed to be responsible for the development of modern karate. Toyama-san always felt that what he taught was merely an extension of Itosu-san’s original form of karate. He once wrote on the topic that “the exquisite skill of karate that is based on self-protection does not need to contain several different ‘styles,’ but a combination of what works or is effective.” As a result of this position, Toyama-san never appointed a successor when he passed away in 1966, ultimately causing the school to take many new forms. Today, Shudokan karate has developed into a school primarily made up of two...
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