Eight Points of Harmony

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The Eight Points of Harmony represent the eight directions which attacks can come from -- and the eight directions that one can move to stop these attacks. Although people can move or attack from any direction, we will limit ourselves to eight directions at first, until all of our biomechanics lessons have sunk into your muscle memory. There is one Point of Harmony for each of the cardinal points of the 2-D plane you are currently atop. As such, aerial bombardments, orbital strikes, and subterranean mole-person attacks will not be addressed in this art.

One wall of your dōjō needs to be arbitrarily declared the #1 wall, and some subtle and tasteful wall art is usually hung there to denote that it is special. Since this wall art is usually a portrait of a martial art’s founder (joseki), the #1 wall is commonly called a “joseki wall.” Ideally, the joseki wall will face the door. From there, the corners and walls are each numbered in a counterclockwise fashion. Please note that this numbering scheme is entirely arbitrary and devoid of symbolism; these numbers could be exchanged for compass points without any real loss of meaning.

Karate is primarily taught through a series of solo exercise sets, called kata. The directions on how to perform the kata (e.g., where to put what foot and how, etc.), will be described using this convention. Non-square rooms can still be used as a practice space (“any place can be a dōjō”), by marking a square on the floor with tape to allow correct orientation. Move with respect to the square, and not to the room. (New people often struggle with orienting themselves.)