Kiado-Ryu Karate

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Apr 12, 2020 - Feature of the Week

A Visual COVID-19 Reminder

First, a thanks to Brian Doll for sharing this sad but powerful image of vehicles lined up at SDCCU (San Diego County Credit Union) Stadium, vehicles whose occupants are waiting in search of food provided graciously and generously by the local food bank “Feeding San Diego.” This image is not uncommon. Across the nation other communities are experiencing the same problem, vehicles, often lined up for miles, patiently waiting for sustenance.

Second, a book could be written about the meaning of this photograph and what it represents. Certainly, one of the somber and sorrowful representations is what it does reveal—a lack of planning and preparation for those times that challenge us, test us, and catch us off guard.

One of the reasons we study martial arts, perhaps the primary one, is to protect ourselves and our loved ones from defeat, as we Kiado-Ryu family members have discussed so many times throughout our history. How many thousands of hours have we practiced basic fundamentals, tactics and strategies; honing, developing and sharpening our skills so that we can emerge victorious in battle, should we ever find ourselves so disposed? Self-protection is inherent in the martial mindset. Survival is imperative—the gift of planning and preparation, which are the offspring of wisdom, common sense and forethought.

Third, this photograph reminds us of a common tri-quote whose essence screams for attention, action and deference. It is based on the premise that preparation is the key to success.

If I fail to prepare, I prepare to fail.
If you fail to prepare, you prepare to fail.
If we fail to prepare, we prepare to fail.

When we fail, we have to ask ourselves if our failure was a result of our lack of preparation and planning. Failure is not always based on a lack of preparedness but, arguably, most of the time it is. In this COVID-19 pandemic, one honest question is, “How many people and government officials (local, state, national, global) were not prepared for such a crisis?” Maybe they weren’t considering a viral pandemic but any crisis can happen any time, any place. To live a good and balanced life, preparation is absolutely requisite. The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed and validated this truth. Frankly, the world was not properly prepared and it is paying a dear price for its negligence.

Another quote of import is this:

Our life, our responsibility.

The reality of life is that we’re on our own, always. There may be a thousand people in our lives but we can’t rely on others to take care of us, nor should we. Sparring teaches us this. When we engage in sparring, it’s all on us to succeed. No one is in the ring to assist us. It is just us and our opponent. We have to figure it out (the fight) ourselves. It may take us many a “whoopin'” to get our sea legs, but if we’re to survive we have no other choice. Name one successful student in Kiado-Ryu history who has not learned this lesson.

Our struggles in life, as in sparring, are our responsibility to manage and no one else’s. This is the beautiful essence of sparring. It’s not about learning to fight so much as it is learning to take responsibility for ourselves, especially in the heat of battle—and life is full of battles. And, frankly, thank God for battles for they teach us to be self-reliant, strong, indomitable, determined, unyielding.

COVID-19 is just another opponent in another battle in a world of endless battles. When we prepare properly and well and we take responsibility for ourselves, as we must, we will emerge victorious, and if by chance we don’t then at least we’ll go down fighting, not cowering, and in that fight there is great dignity and courage. But let’s not think of anything but victory. In the words of the great Winston Churchill,

Never, never, never, never give up.

and

You only have to endure to conquer.

© 2020 Richard Andrew King – Kiado-Ryu Martial Arts