Martha Beck’s book The Way of Integrity explores themes related to finding and living in alignment with one’s true self and values. Martha Beck is a well-known author and life coach, and in the book, she offers guidance and insights on how we can navigate our personal journeys toward a more authentic and fulfilling life.

In this post, we explore how as karateka we can align Kimura Shukokai karate with the principles of The Way of Integrity, for our own personal development within the sport.

  1. Structural integrity

Maintaining proper form and structure is fundamental to karate. Our senseis tirelessly impress upon us the importance of amongst others, grip, gut engagement, vertical alignment, and weight transfer. Just as the book emphasises living in alignment with one’s true values, students must maintain alignment and integrity in their stances, strikes, and movements. This alignment is essential for generating maximum power and efficiency.

  1. Authenticity

Similar to living authentically, martial artists must develop their own unique style within the framework of Kimura Shukokai. Discovering one’s authentic martial expression and adapting it to the style’s principles is a life journey that leads to more effective and fulfilling training

  1. “Not a time of building, but unbuilding”

In the book, the author says that what lies before us is not a time of building, but unbuilding, not thinking harder, but thinking less. (As Lao Tzu puts it in the Tao te Ching, “In the pursuit of knowledge, every day something is added. In the practice of the Way, every day something is dropped.”)  This concept can be applied to the idea of unlearning, or refining, techniques. Karate students often need to “unbuild” or let go of ineffective habits to improve their skills. For example, refining a punch or kick requires breaking down the movement, removing unnecessary elements, and rebuilding it with increased efficiency.

  1. Self-Discovery

Martha Beck’s book encourages self-discovery, and this can be directly applied to karate. Students can use their karate journey as an opportunity for self-exploration, self-awareness, and growth. Understanding one’s motivations, fears, and strengths can lead to a deeper connection with the martial art.

  1. Integrity

The concept of integrity can also relate to ethics and discipline. Students have the opportunity to maintain integrity in their practice by adhering to the principles of respect, perseverance, and self-control. Training with integrity means being honest about your abilities and progress, and respecting your fellow students, senseis, and your dojo.

  1. Balancing Mind and Body

Integrating mind-body awareness is crucial in both The Way of Integrity and martial arts. Balancing physical training and mental awareness of karate, and incorporating breathing techniques, visualisation, and self-reflection can lead to improved performance and overall well-being.

  1. Goal Setting

The book discusses setting goals in alignment with one’s true self. In karate, students can apply this principle to set meaningful training objectives that resonate with their personal development within the art.

We believe that by integrating the principles from The Way of Integrity into your karate practice, you can enhance your personal growth, align your training with your values, and deepen your understanding of martial arts. The journey of self-discovery and continuous improvement is a vital aspect of both the book’s philosophy and martial arts training.