Milan Karafa (1959 - 2011)

"The human psychic changes very fast, and in the end, you will become an offender, not the one who caused the problem."

(Milan Karafa)

It has been a couple of years Sensei Karafa left us, so I started to think about how he would react to all the things that have happened, if he could see and react. What he would say about the self-titled teachers that appeared after his decease and questioned his learning, and the whole knowledge he had tried to share with us are being explained in other and different meanings.

What was he actually teaching? The techniques, a couple of combinations and kata can be taught by anyone.

During the years spent beside him as a student and later an assistant, I learned about humbleness in karate being much more important than a human ego, because the right knowledge can be achieved only by keeping yourself behind, not trying to demonstrate yourself as „big masters“ to the whole world and at all costs.

I needed a period of one whole year to understand why he used to smile when listening to criticism and offenses against his personality, and why he did not enter any conflicts even if he was right. He climbed the fictitious top of a mountain where there was nobody to criticise him. The entire scream came from the people expressing their limitations and trying to hide their complexes at the bottom of the mountain.

When he passed away, a lot of people accused me of turning my back on his teaching. It is an absolute nonsense! As for the techniques, he taught me the basics. A good master hands over good basics, and the rest is laid upon student´s individual effort. He taught me to think, as well. He taught me not to be a parrot only repeating him but to find the right way among the number of other, much simpler ways, so that I would not teach my students any karate illusions. Such a decision needs a big load of courage! However, I was fortunate to be given a chance (accidentally?) to reach higher level of karate if I try, and thus at the cost of leaving the shallow and superficial issues such as competitive karate and the related popularity. After so many years of hard work, this meant to me to accept defeat and to confess I can still manage just the basics. I would never be able to come to such conclusions without the Sensei´ s teaching.

There is no new master, but I have a teacher who accepted me to be his student and is trying to guide me by providing me with proper advice, so that all the knowledge I gained before would not fade away and I would be able to go on in the Sensei´s footprints. Unfortunately, he is no longer standing beside me, but he will remain my Sensei forever, and I hope he is smiling at me from above the way he used to do down here. SENSEI Milan Karafa, rest in peace!

(Horváth Attila)