I have chosen another essay written by Chandra Mohan Murugaiah. This was submitted for his Shodan essay some years ago. It has been reproduced with his permission.

Reasons for karate-do: Aspiration and impressions

Apart from being an ancient art form, karate must also be considered a way of life if one is to fully understand its true meaning. Master Gichin Funakoshi insisted on focusing on the spiritual aspects of karate apart from learning the technical aspects of karate if one wants to understand karate.

The spiritual aspect of karate can only be learned through a lifelong practice of karate. When one becomes spiritual the mind is in the present and the material aspects of life become meaningless. The mind is then opened to learning new things in life. One can approach life with an open mind without fear and prejudices. I believe karate can help cultivate such a spiritual mind.

From a practical point of view, one learns to meet the everyday challenges of life with courage, patience, and self-control. Karate can positively influence the way we deal with people in our daily life ,be it with  family, friends or colleagues or any person for that matter. Karate teaches one compassion and have respect for all living beings. 

Since the beginning of civilizations man has been involved in conflicts and wars. Karate as a way of life provides guidance and courage to take the right course of action when our justice is in danger. Essentially a karate teaches us to seek the way of peace to solve all conflicts.

Though everyday practice we can become aware of our strengths and weaknesses. It is by this knowledge a karate practitioner must seek to better himself as a person. For instance, pride and overconfidence is hindrance to acquiring new knowledge and gives a false sense of security. Karate can be thought of as the seeds that bear the fruit of knowledge of oneself. It prepares the mind and body to be receptive to new knowledge.

Karate helps in building endurance, muscular strength, and flexibility of joints. Apart from this we can learn to develop the mental strength and discipline to train continuously y. Karate can teach us to be aware our surroundings because the mind is more focused in the present moment. In a way awareness about ourselves and surroundings, helps us to respond and adapt appropriately.  

Learning is a lifelong process and karate is no different. It must be practiced every day. I believe even 15 minutes of practice can have great benefits in the long run. I think there always something new to learn and discover every day. It could be an improvement I technique but more importantly I believe it builds the sense of inner strength, perhaps more appropriately called spirit of karate. It is this spirit of karate that keeps one going, to not give up no matter what.

It is the little discoveries of everyday which makes today better then yesterday. I believe karate helps one make these discoveries. The need to win over others and need to seek appreciation from other disappears because every day is a winning day if something new is discovered or learnt every day.

I feel one must approach everything in life in the spirit of karate. All practical problems which one encounters at work, with friends and families must be approached in an open way in the spirit of karate. I have feeling that I see world in a different way after the last 5 years of practice. I would strongly recommend this beautiful art and a way of life to everybody. 

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