Traditional Okinawan Karate with Modern Self Defense is how I describe our school. The very beginning and end of class we work in mokuso (meditation). A fundamentally important but often over looked portion of class.
Karate-do is made up of 3 important parts: Physical, mental and spiritual. The physical is during class and at time spending time practicing. The mental is the idea of perfecting the karate that is taught to you and working hard to be a better karateka. The spiritual is the karate and how it teaches the positive in your heart or soul.
I'm not sure what came first the mokuso or the martial art but the zen Buddhist is a big influence of the mokuso. The seiza position is traditional Japanese formal sitting position. The rei is the respect we pay to ourselves and others that come to join us train in positive harmony.
I often tell students that mokuso should be practice at every important juncture of our day. Meaning when we come from school or home or other sports, to karate practice. We may have these things still on our mind, attached to us. It is important to rid yourself of unwanted thoughts and focus on what you need to do in the present moment. When you don't, things start to compile upon each other. Everybody is familiar with the phrase, "leave your work at work and your home at home". Every part of a day in your life is a chapter. You wake up and focus, meditate on the important parts of your morning routine, you run through it in your mind. You meditate before work/school to clear your head and focus on the task ahead. The same before transitioning home and going to bed. They call this clearing the "overactive mind" or clearing the "monkey mind".
When we start class, we start in traditional seiza position, then we go to mokuso and then give rei to our training facility and ourselves. Last week I talked about the importance of rei and the idea of having respect and positive self esteem for ourselves and only then being able to give that out to others. Now you know about the idea of mokuso to live in a present mindset. To live in the past is depressing, to live in the future is anxious, to live in the present is to live aware or "the Way".