Secrets at the Dojo?

When our Sensei says “Here is secret knowledge,” we all begin listening just a little better to hear and memorize this teaching. The third definition of secret, according to Merriam-Webster, is: “revealed only to the initiated.” This is the definition our Sensei means and that the class intuitively understands.

We were in kicking class and Sensei said the magic words and everyone stopped and paid rapt attention to his words. Do you know how to kick from any distance? Of course, none did. Then we learned the secret. What great teaching—we had three bags lined up, one for the Goldilocks or just right distance—as any other kicking drill we performed. The second bag was just a little too far from us and the third bag too close. Do you know the secret? Part of the answer is the technique described only works for non-linear kicking. A key is the movement of the foot closest to the bag toward the bag or away from the bag prior to the kick. Experiment and let me know when you discover the secret.

In class we often discuss secret knowledge of Karate. The class is not open to the public. Our Sensei makes a living by teaching these secrets to us just as he paid to learn from others as well as discovering these truths on his own over his 30 years in martial arts. I would argue that even by publishing the kicking secret, it will remain esoteric knowledge for a vast majority of the world—especially those without a desire for Martial Arts training or knowledge. In that case we are back to Merriam-Webster and the first definition for the word secret: “kept from knowledge or view.”

What secret knowledge can we share with our next class to encourage the students to work at home as well as in the dojo?

See you in the next class.