by Sensei Brad Cosby
September 1997

One of the hardest concepts for a Sensei to explain to a student is the feeling of Fire and Explosiveness. This task is even more complicated if the karateka has not yet acquired this aspect of karate.

The Sensei explained to the young student " Barry you just don't have it yet. Someday you will. The only thing you're lacking is life's experiences". The young student now was even more determined than ever to know what Sensei was talking about. The karateka stood facing the wall, before, after and during class, throwing techniques as hard and fast as he could. The student left the dojo daily and faced life and grew. Then it happened! At the back of the dojo at Confederation Secondary School in Welland. The techniques were hard and fast as usual, but now there was something more. It was a small twinge in the pit of the stomach just before the release of the technique.

What was it the student felt? It is what I like to call the karateka's other feeling. It starts with a knot in the pit of the stomach and expresses itself with that technique that is more than just fast and hard. It can be compared to volcano ready to erupt. A spark starts deep in the recesses of the volcano, and rushes to the top picking up mass and force as it reaches the outside and seen as a spectacular display of power.

Fire is the feeling. Explosiveness is the expression of the feeling. Explosiveness and fire, is like laughing is the expression of being happy, or crying is to being sad.

The now not so young karateka would like to offer some advice to any student who has been told this by his or her Sensei, as I was by Sensei Shintani . BE TENACIOUS AND PERSEVERE in your pursuit of fire. Sensei Brian and myself have been in this situation a couple of times. A student with a sufficient time for their shodan is lacking this feeling and we have not recommended them. The unfortunate part is they usually quit. A little more work and a lot of sweat and these students would have found that feeling and experienced that adrenaline rush after doing something explosively. The only time in my life I have ever enjoyed not being able to sleep is after a hard fought karate event when that adrenaline high hangs on.

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