As students of Karate, we endeavor to train our minds, our bodies and our spirits. This is also the concept behind the various versions of the Sanchin Kata. Sanchin is often translated as “three battles”, which can be interpreted as the battle to unify mind, body and spirit. Most karateka understand that we are working on the three different aspects so that we can improve ourselves as a whole, but many fail to understand that it is the unification of all three that is the real key to internal harmony.
When it comes to karate techniques, many people understand the physical laws of generating body power, angles of movement and physical strategy or tactics of defense. The real key, however, is the harmony of “shin” the mind and attitudes, with the “gi” (technique) and the “tai” (the body). To understand this concept, let us discuss briefly the concept of natural laws.
There are basically two types of laws in the universe – man-made laws and natural laws. While you may be able to violate man-made laws and not get caught, and therefore not see the ramifications of those actions, natural laws are different. Natural laws work all the time, in all circumstances, for everyone. If you try and break a natural law, you will get caught every time. These natural laws can further be broken down into physicals laws and mental laws.
Physical laws are those laws that can be demonstrated in the lab in a controlled environment. Mental laws however, are only proven through experience and intuition. These mental laws, which are harder to see and understand, are centuries old and were at one time not shared with the general public because of the fear that these principles
would be misunderstood or abused. Today these concepts are openly discussed, but still only a small percentage of the population are aware of them. The knowledge of these principles is an operations manual for increasing human potential.
Be assured that these laws are universal. If you jump off a 10 story building in New York or Tokyo, you will go splat just the same. It doesn’t matter if you were never told about the law of gravity, whether you believe in it or even if you agree with it. It is neutral and applies consequences evenly to everyone and is in effect 100% of the time.
Mental laws work exactly the same. When your life is going great it is because your thoughts and actions are in harmony with these natural laws. If you are experiencing problems, it is almost always as a result of having violated one of these mental laws, whether you are aware of them or not. The only way you can tell if you are in harmony is by the results of your actions or the consequences.
An example of a mental law is the law of control. You basically feel positive about yourself to the degree to which you feel in control of your life. On the other hand, you feel negative about your life to the degree that you feel some external force, person or influence controls you. The feeling of not being in control causes most stress, anxiety and tension in a person’s life. This explains how a martial artist is able to remain calm during a crisis situation, because they feel that even in the worst-case scenario, they could still control the situation.
Today there are many people that play karate – for sport or as a hobby. The karate-ka or budoka, however, follows the path of karate when he or she understands the concept of shingitai (mind-body-technique) and encompasses that into his/her daily life and training.