By Sensei Kow Loon Ong
"Chi-I-Do". What does it mean? I'm sure a few of you know-some of you think you know and many of you, especially the newcomers to the organization, would like to know. This question appears to be fairly simple, however, the answer can be very complex. To give you the full answer I would need much more space than this column permits. Instead, I will give you a brief explanation of the Chi-I-Do crest (our patch) - hopefully giving you a starting place for further thought.
Perhaps the best way to proceed is to break down the Chi-I-Do crest into the following components:
1. The shape
2. The design
3. The Chinese characters (kanji)
4. The words
It's a circle, so what? Think again. The circle represents the Zen concept of perfection. It is a form with perfect balance, with no beginning and no end. It has been said that a student of Zen who is able to create a perfect circle with but a single brush stroke is considered to have attained enlightenment.
The design contained in the inner circle of the crest (disregard the words for now) embodies the Taoist concept of Yin/Yang. The fact that there are equal portion of black and white is no coincidence. This symbolizes the relationship between the cosmic opposites, i.e.: light/dark, hard/ soft, male/female, good/evil, night/day, etc. You get the picture. Also, take note of the two smallest circles, the ones containing the coinage. Each is set inside a field of the opposite color, just as there must be some Yin within Yang, and vice versa.
The kanji contained in the two smallest circles are the characters for "Go" (hard) and "Ju" (soft), the name given to the style of karate taught by our great-grandmaster, Miyagi Chojun. The name was adopted from a verse from the warrior's
poem, the Bubishi, which reads "all things in the universe breath hard/soft." Clearly, Miyagi Chojun did not simply mean hard/soft when he named his art Goju. Rather, he was metaphorically referring to the deeper principles of Yin/Yang.
"Chi" refers to the power of the body and "I" to the power of the mind, including the psychic powers. This is yet another reference to the principles of Goju and Yin/Yang. "The Fine Art" directs the manner in which you should approach your training. "Fine" is used to emphasize the attention to detail and fine points of each posture, movement and principle, which is mandatory in training Chi-I-Do Goju-Ryu. This fundamental principle makes Chi-I-Do superior to many other schools of Goju-Ryu.
The word "Art" makes it clear that you must go beyond the mere mechanics and scientific principles of the system (which, of course, are also important) and pursue the intangible and to some, the mystical goals which are inherent in any art. "Hard-Soft Kara-te" of course, is the English name of the karate system we practice.
For sure, this is not an easy answer to a simple question. For some it may not answer the question at all. But maybe, just maybe, it is enough to give you a starting point for further understanding. Grasp now the "so-called" answer and you will have something that will grow with you as you progress in "The Fine Art of Chi-I-Do Goju-Ryu."