movement in the environment. In such a state of mind you are ready to beat your opponent inphysical combat, and meditation is essential for the cultivation of such a state of mind.But if, on the other hand, you can control an opponent by sheer mental force - by theforce of your personality - and make a peaceful settlement, this is the course you will choose.This is a discipline common to all the martial arts. It is known as 'kiai-jutsu' and is the real endof meditation in 'budo'.
3. Physical DevelopmentGeneral Health
If mental development is the real end of karate, the beginning is undoubtedly physicaldevelopment. A sound body is always the basis of a sound mind.But can
have a sound body? With a few obvious exceptions, the answer is yes.Karate training is particularly adaptable for persons of either sex or any age. The training,although hard, is never excessive. You need no apparatus, no partner, but only enough space inwhich to exercise. Later, of course, when you are ready to begin sparring, you will need apartner. By this time your health should be so improved that you will all be but unrecognizable!In fact, the benefits are too numerous to be dealt with fully here. No wonder so many'karate-ka' live to a great age!Side-kicks stimulate the thyroid glands, ensuring a normal emission of hormones. Certainpostures, particularly the 'iron horse' posture, strengthen the abdominal and hip muscles and alsotone the sexual nerves which stem from the pelvic region. Breath control accompanies everymovement improving the flexibility of sensory nerves controlling tenacity and contractile forces.Most important of all, perhaps, is the alternative that karate offers to the nervous prostrationbrought about by an excess of self-control which is such a hazard of civilization. Karate offersnervous balance and both mental and physical fulfillment.
4. Breath Control and 'Kiai'
Breath-control has been described as being 'zen itself in its physiological aspect'. Evenbefore schools of Zen existed the relation of breath-control to awareness was a majorpreoccupation of Indian 'yoga' and chinese 'taoism'.One's rhythm of breathing is, after all, affected by either the physical or mental state thatone is in. When exhausted after training, one breathes heavily; when excited, one breathesquickly; when one laughs, the emphasis is on the outbreath; when one cries, or is afraid, theemphasis is on the inbreath. But also it can work the other way: one can affect the mental andphysical condition by controlling one's rhythm of breathing.