Trading Freedom for Freedom

by MW Cook

My son just started taking Karate classes. I enjoy watching him out there on the mat, trying to keep up with the other students as the teacher leads them through kicks, punches whatnot. After class today he came up to me and told me how very badly he wanted his yellow belt. It was his second class. He’s ambitious, eh?

My son is a free spirit. He rarely stays on one task for long. His eyes are always on the next ridge, seeking something new to explore and do. He’s free. He’s wild. I like him. But the freedom he is enjoying right now is not the kind of freedom that will get him his yellow belt. In fact, the freedom he has will hinder him from the freedom that the yellow belt proves.

To get the yellow belt you need to demonstrate some of the basic moves and katas of karate. Joseph can’t do that. He is not free to do that.

I’ve heard that discipline is the price of freedom. But I also think that freedom is the price of discipline. In order to be free to do Pinan Shodan, Joseph needs to gain focus and discipline. In order to gain focus and discipline, he needs to give up some of his lesser freedoms.

It’s like that with everything, eh? Something for something.

The price of freedom = discipline.
The price of discipline = freedom.