What is Pacific Martial Arts Karate-Do?
Strength| Focus | Discipline | Leadership | Responsibility
The word “karate” means “empty hand”, and originated in Okinawa back in the 1400s, when Okinawans were banned from using weapons. In order to protect their farms and families, they developed karate, a form of combat that teaches you to fight without weapons.
Over the years, the Okinawans discovered that karate was not just as a form of unarmed combat, but also was a way to improve the mind and spirit through discipline. They discovered that practicing karate heightens self-awareness and self-confidence as well as developing strength, speed, and body control. When karate focuses on these principles as well as self-defense, it is called “karate-do”.
Pacific Martial Arts: Teaching Character First
While PMA Karate-Do does incorporate several different styles into its curriculum, the core martial art taught is Karate-do, which means “The Way of the Open Hand.” It focuses on developing harmony, both with your inner self and your fellow students. PMA students achieve harmony through the process of working with one another, either as partners in a drill, or practicing kata (non-contact simulated combat) as a group.
One concept that is highly stressed at PMA dojos is known as the “Clear Mind Concept.” Students are taught to heighten their awareness through active listening, and learning to calm the often noisy mind that can prevent us from being able to focus, learn and develop to our full potential. By practicing karate-do and going through conscientious repetition, we learn to listen to our body and become more in tune with them.
PMA students who practice long enough also develop a heightened awareness of their surroundings—they have a clear mind and are able to directly experience instead of just reacting to their circumstances based on past experiences or preconceived ideas. Therefore, the ‘harmony’ in Karate-do can refer to being in harmony with your inner nature as well as with your natural surroundings.
Developing Social Responsibility and Leadership
One very important aspect of personal development in PMA karate-do is the Sempai-Kohai relationship. “Sempai” means “senior student” and “kohai” means “junior student”, so a Sempai-Kohai relationship would be a relationship between a senior and junior student of any rank.
A sempai’s job is to make his or her kohai feel comfortable, at ease and enthusiastic about learning karate-do. They make sure their kohai is progressing well and offer support and encouragement. As a result, the kohai naturally starts to work harder and give their best. As they increase in rank, this junior student in turn becomes sempai to the newer students, modeling the behavior of their own sempai. In this way, students form strong relationships and develop kindness, social responsibility and leadership skills.
About Pacific Martial Arts
PMA Los Angeles is part of the Pacific Martial Arts Federation, founded by Grandmaster Jerry Devine. Grandmaster Devine is the chief instructor of the PMA Federation, director of the Martial Arts Museum of America, and an inductee into the Black Belt Hall of Fame. The experienced staff of Pacific Martial Arts have been teaching authentic karate-do since 1978 and the Federation is 350 students strong and growing.
Have questions? Why don’t you come by the dojo so you can see and experience authentic karate-do for yourself? Call 323-314-3743 and ask for Mr. Knight. He’ll be more than happy to set up a time for you to come by, have your questions answered, and schedule an introductory private lesson.