Ko Gaku Shin – Keep your mind open to learning. We must remember to constantly learn and study. Always be a student….
As we continue to expand our knowledge and become an expert in our field, regardless of whether this is as a hobby or profession, we can observe the interesting aspects of a master, or an expert in his chosen field. He characterises the hunger for knowledge. Not only in his speciality but in all directions. Everything is interesting and can improve his understanding of his subject.
In Karate we can translate that into watching and learning from other martial arts and sports. Everywhere we can find something that will improve our technique. We should utilise it where applicable. However, having an open mind does not mean we should always look externally for learning. There is no replacement for repetition, practice and self-discovery. You might be shown a technique by many teachers. You think you have understood it and practiced it a hundred times. One day you unexpectedly perform this technique perfectly and then the realisation comes that all of the times before you had been wrong.
This process will continue to happen after hundreds of repetitions then after thousands and then after a million you gain the understanding and confidence in your learning. This technique becomes a part of you and you will tailor it to your body and mind. You will understand that no one gave you the answer, you have found it within yourself. This self-searching, experimenting and confidence in having an open mind is a key to mastering Karate and other disciplines in life.