The question answered by Sensei Walt Fast
March, 1994

Q: What emotional attributes do you consider to be the most important to possess for the study and development of good karate?

A: This is an interesting question, and one not quickly answered, but I'll try.

First and foremost, a person must have the patience and the willingness to learn something new (when stepping onto this path).

Patience I suppose can be called an emotional attribute. However emotions usually refer to strong feelings expressed outwardly.

Karateka express the Martial Spirit when performing kata or kumite or kihon. This shows his or her willingness to defend themselves in times of crisis. The crisp, exact movements are an expression of an aggressiveness innate in each of us.

However, karateka often change from an explosive force to a calm demeanour.

Karate is after all an expression of our emotions, and as such shows our quiet and serene face as well as our violent one.

Karateka have these aspects in common, yet when we watch kata and kumite competitions we realize just how multi-faceted a person can be!

The essence of each individual shines through in his or her version or expression of karate kata or kumite. It is all still kick, punch, block; but the personality shows in each turn.

Some people have a more outgoing and even aggressive nature. Others are more quiet and prefer to be in the background.

The former karateka learn to harness their out of control combativeness and divert it to a focus in kumite or kata. They learn to also tap into and develop the calm controlling part of their character as well.

The latter learn to overcome their retiring nature and bring out the Martial Spirit inside of them. They too learn to express the exuberance of controlled violent action! Coupled to this then, karateka also bring out that watchful calmness expressed in kata or kumite.

I mean to say that an aggressive nature is good, but is not the final answer. In the same way, a quiet nature is good but does also not complete the circle.

A good karateka learns to develop both expressions of his emotional attributes. Much like the two sides of a coin.

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