Kiado-Ryu Karate

Dec 21, 2020 - Feature of the Week

Balance—Fight For It!

BALANCE—a simple word; a critical concept; a must to master.

One of the most important sayings of the Karate Institute of America is “Balance is Primary.” It seems like such a simple phrase, and it is, but it is also one of the most critical of concepts, not just in martial arts, but in every aspect of life. To be quite frank, if we want to have a good life, a positive life, then Balance is a must to master.

This year—2020—has made the case for Balance quite noticeable, needless to say. When was the last time the entire earth was subject to such a cavalcade of challenges? When was the last time each of us was put to the test of our sanity, health, well-being? Does it matter? The fact is that we’re here now and we have to deal with the “here and now,” and Balance is critical to enduring and conquering the adversities we face.


The thing is that Balance, although a simple word, is difficult to achieve and maintain.

Here’s a fun test. Try standing dead still on one leg for one minute. It isn’t that easy. If one minute is no challenge, move to two, three, four or five minutes. Unless standing on one leg is something you do all the time, you’ll find it challenging. Even if you can do it for a handful of minutes, eventually you’ll either stop because of the pain and discomfort in the standing leg and hip or you’ll lose your balance and put the other leg down. The point is that Balance is difficult, and if you’re going to maintain your Balance you must “Fight for It.” It doesn’t come easily. It will never be easy. From cradle to grave we must create Balance in our lives if we desire a meaningful life.


The Karate Institute of America teaches that the Secret of Balance rests in the “alignment” of the head, shoulders, hip, knee and foot of the balancing leg. Telling people to be Balanced is a useless phrase unless they’re taught “how” to Balance, and the “how” is in the alignment of the body parts mentioned above.

Another thing to consider is that Balance is an “active process,” not a passive one. When we’re standing on one leg, we’ll be constantly making small, sometimes large, movements from head to foot to keep our body in the proper alignment necessary to stand on one leg. The thing we must remember is that Balance is an active process. We must constantly “Fight for It” if we wish to maintain it. But what are the options if we don’t maintain it? Answer: there are no good options. This is why “Balance is Primary” to life and its well-being.


Of course Balance does not apply only to the physical aspect of standing on one leg. How many physical aspects of our being have to be kept in Balance for us to be healthy, happy, whole? Diet, nutrition, exercise (aerobic and anaerobic), cleanliness and sleep all enter into the equation.

Beyond the physical aspect of Balance, the mental, emotional, financial, familial and spiritual facets of life also demand Balance. These don’t come easily. We have to be working on them every day. They’re not going to go away any more than the challenges of our life are going to go away. No one is going to wave a magic wand and make them disappear. We do not live in a Pollyannaish world. Therefore, we have to do it ourselves, i.e., Fight for It (our Balance), if we desire a good life. After all, to repeat another Kiado-Ryu principle: “Our Life, Our Responsibility.”