The sixth proverb

I give you Shorei-Kan saying number six: Do not become conceited. If you do, your progress will halt.

One would think this proverb is obvious, intuitive, goes without saying.  But when one excels in one’s training, it is very easy to become conceited.

It is often helpful to be confident in order to visualize success, to see completion of a technique before it occurs. One must see through the target. A karateka does not merely attack an opponent’s solar plexus, he visualizes a target beyond the solar plexus. When, in training, we must pull our punches to avoid injuring each other, it is still necessary to see our targets deeply in our minds. We must protect our fellow students, but, in our consciousness, we see the follow-through.  This way, when it is necessary to effect a technique for self defense, or in the defense of others, we are able to do so instinctively.

Confidence, without humility, can breed conceit. Respect for your teachers and other students helps to cultivate the necessary humility.  There will always be those who are more or less skillful than you. Do what your sensei instructs you to do, and do not question him. You will learn much by being respectful and humble, but you will never be perfect.  There is always more to learn. When it seems you have learned everything, then put together what you have learned in order to create new ways teach others. Do not let this accomplishment create conceit, however. Consider it a privilege to teach others, and you will continue to learn and grow.

I have written this saying from Master Miyagi before, but it fits very well here: Do not be too proud of yourself.

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