Empty Hands


San Jose Airport Parking Mural

I’ve been dreaming of hands lately, just empty hands. Interestingly I drove by the parking structure of San Jose’s Airport and low I spotted giant hands all over the structure. I hope epiphanies make you stop and think too, I was brought back to an excerpt of a piece I wrote about a few years ago: Transcending Fear.

Karate, according to Terrence Webster-Doyle, as his book is so aptly named is ‘the art of empty self.’[1] One learns through Karate to empty oneself of fear by the discovery of self and by the emptying of oneself. The emptied self is the loving self and the self without an agenda.

Karate literally means “empty hands.” This can mean many things to people. To most it means that the hands hold no weapon. If we look deeper, the hands hold nothing, so there is nothing to take from them. The hands are empty and thus open. If you watch someone in anger and fear, their hands clench into fists. Closed hands are for fighting, defending or hoarding. Open, empty hands are for receiving, giving and embracing. Thus the deeper meaning of Karate is the empty, open hands of giving and receiving fully with no fear of scarcity or lack.

[1]Karate: The Art of Empty Self, Webster-Doyle, Terrence  ©1989

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