When I look back on the last five years since Sensei Kimura passed away I wonder if the fantastic knowledge he gave to a few of us will survive into the future. It began for me in 1971 when I met Sensei Kimura while he was teaching for Mr. Yonezuka in Cranford, NJ. Mr. Kimura was big for a Japanese man but astoundingly fast.
To train with him called for Purity of Character, that is to say "the search for perfection of technique and character," Honesty, to make sure our training had a useful purpose and not something that built false ego's but instead built confidence through hard work and strong fighting technique, Honor, to live by our word, not to be a burden on someone else and not to take advantage of the weak.
We trained with Zen philosophy in mind. Sensei Kimura would say "you want to learn Zen then look in the mirror. What do you see?" at that point, if you looked in the mirror then you were hooked for life. To keep on looking for your weaknesses and correct them, to find your strengths and improve them and to keep seeing something different every time you looked in the mirror.
To think, Sensei Kimura was a student like all of us before he reached such a high state of philosophy and warrior technique. He was able to transform the same martial arts information that we all learned and turn it into something special and magnificent. It was similar to Shakespeare's usage of the alphabet and assembly of words of his time to create classic literature and plays unsurpassed by anyone else. It all depends on what each of us does with the same information.
I bring out the above discussion to celebrate Sensei Kimura. He left behind some very talented instructors of Shukokai Karate in many parts of the world. Will we be able to pass on our legacy? Do we have the next master in our midst or has he or she been born yet? Only time can tell.
When your life becomes a little complacent and it seems like your too busy or behind the curve then think of this article. There is something very special about what we do.