"Do every technique as if it is last chance of your life".
Sensei Nishiyama told us many times.
This is the seriousness we want in training, since karate is not a basketball game that you can lose points and make up for it and gain points later.
Train as if your life will depend on it the next day.
This is not easy to do, because thankfully, we don’t have this kind of danger in our lives, and in the dojo everyone is friends and no one intend of hurting someone else, which is how it should be of course.
In order to develop real sharp mind and reflexes, avoid sloppiness and avoid unneeded movement and gaps of intention, we must imagine our opponent have knife.
Keep the friendliness in dojo, and we help each other learn and develop, but at the same time keep the seriousness.
Sensei Nishiyama used to get upset at me if I smiled to my partner doing sparring, he wanted total seriousness, and of course he wanted us to respect each other and not to hurt each other.
He hated sloppiness and bad manners.
“Always do your best” he used to tell us, in karate and life.