The meaning of Shi Zen Karate is “to remain natural and in accordance with Nature’s intended way”. At first movements will be stiff and awkward, but with a dedicated heart and spirit the body will find its natural way of moving.
The Shi Zen system aims to help overcome difficulties whilst developing your natural abilities in motion. Our bodies move best in a relaxed state, where they are more able to respond to changing circumstances. For example attacks from differing angles, combinations and distances. In Shizendo we call this relax state the flow. Our minds can function with greater clarity when in this natural state helping us to see things clearer, giving us the ability to respond instantly.
“Speed is not made artificially, it’s made naturally.”
The Kanji is an encompassing term which is reflected both physically, mentally and emotionally, all movement are subject to the laws of nature. Tapping into this natural state is the subject of shizendo training. ”Do” translates as the way. When this is used as a suffix to a particular style of Japanese martial arts, it is indicative of more than just a means of combat. Do indicates a discipline and philosophy with moral and spiritual connotations, the ultimate aim being enlightenment through personal development.
Translation of the Mon
The classics say “look for the straight line within the circle” – this is depicted by the eight triangles pointing outwards placed within the circle. This implies that our movements revolve to blend with an incoming force, and by directing our response to the closest point on our opponent we can neutralise an attack the straight line. Each triangle is divided into black and white, reflecting a Yang (hard) or Yin (soft) attack or response respectively.
“Look for the straight line within the circle”
Between the eight triangles can be seen eight further triangular segments pointing inwards representing a hard attack towards us. One of the Yin Yang triangles is used simultaneously to meet this force – the Yang part is to ground and the Yin part is to neutralise. The eight triangles also reflect the eight directions: North, South, East and West and the four corners. These are possible angles for both attack and defence and body motion. All points of the triangles are attached to a circle which upon contact will turn. These circles remind us of the four distances:- the outside circle would be kicking range, the next is punching range, then trapping range and finally grappling range. The outer circle, depicting the smaller triangles, is our total awareness to all of the sub-directions. It illustrates the interplay of Yin and Yang throughout our body as we become like a spinning ball in a constant state of flux. Lastly the Yin Yang symbol in the Centre of the Mon is to remind us to aim to internalise these concepts and never to deviate from our centre.It’s this principle and concept which is the central method of Shi Zen Do Karate.
Steve Martin holds 6th Dan in Karate, his 3rd Dan Wado Ryu was awarded under Shi Kon Karate as well as a 2nd Dan in Tai Ki Karate. He was also presented with a 5th Dan by Willie Chong Lee Lim, the founder of Classical Dimension martial arts. Steve has been training in the Martial Arts for 39 years and studied under various Instructors such as Toru Takamizawa 6th Dan and Steve Rowe 9th Dan Karate, 9th Dan Tai Ki Karate and founder of the Shi Kon Budo Kai Association. Steve then went on to form Shi Zen Do Martial Arts, Karate System and the SAFE program which is Shizendo’s self defence system.
Steve is a full time teacher and qualified NVQ coach, he also holds an NVQ skills assessor’s award in Karate competence. He has been teaching Martial Arts in Kent for many years, including a self-defence for school children. Steve also teaches Yang Style Tai Chi Chuan as taught to him by Malaysian Master John Ding. Steve was a personal Student for Master John Ding for 18 years, during this period training on a one to one basis.
Steve also studies regularly with international American Master Willie Chong Lee Lim to develop his Karate and Tai Chi. Willie Lim holds a 7th Degree in RyuKyu Kempo Karate and 8th Degree in Taekwondo (US Representative for Tae Kwon Do International and US Representative for Sing Ong Tai Chi).
Steve continuously seeks to advance his martial arts and is currently training under Richard Cotterill, studying the Balintawak system which makes use of the Escrima stick and Knife. Richard is the founder and chief instructor for the International Balintawak Europe Group. Martial arts is an ongoing study, this is true for instructors and students alike. Shi Zen Do Martial Arts is a continuous learning process through refining, progressing, changing, developing and transforming ourselves through study.