Karate Kumite and Clint Eastwood, I never thought I’d say those two things in a sentence. In the movie ‘The Outlaw Josie Wales,’ Clint lectures some sissy pioneers about how to get mad dog mean when you’re fighting for survival. There is truth in his statement, but there is, especially if you are involved in classical martial arts training, a lie.
The lie is that emotion increases your desire to win. To understand this, and other things concerning emotion and the martial arts, we have to define what, exactly, emotion is. The odd thing is that if you look in a dictionary you will not find a good definition.
Emotion isn’t ‘mood,’ or an ‘instinctive state of mind,’ except in the vaguest of terms. When somebody is unable to accept reality he/she creates a mental turmoil that is labeled emotion. That’s a good definition, and I know because I made it up myself, but we have to look deeper if we are really going to understand emotion and how to use it.
The Neutronic way of defining emotion is: ‘Motion inside the mind.’ You feel rage, and in your mind you want to make motion towards somebody (hit them in the face with a baseball bat). But it is all in your mind, and it is not really real.
When you punch somebody, would you put energy into your knee? That would be a waste of energy, right? What you want to strive for, as a martial artist, is to put energy only into the fist.
When you direct energy into body parts other than the one(s) being used you are not being efficient in your motions. This same idea holds true in the subject of emotion. Energy put into emotion is not energy put into the desire to win; to win it is best if we get mad dog cool and determined, not extra angry.
Emotion is not to be discouraged, for emotion is something we can use to read others, vent our feelings, experience love, and that sort of thing. However, emotion in a fight can stultify a person’s desire to fight. When it comes to Karate Kumite , or any other type of classical martial arts freestyle, you must increase your desire to win without falling into emotion, or trying to use emotion in any way.