Karate Thoughts Blog


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Name Dropping

I often write that I recently trained, ate lunch, or met with this Karate sensei or that Karate sensei. I realize that this may give the impression that I am dropping names -- trying to make myself look "famous" by mentioning the names of genuinely famous people.

I have a very interesting life. Because of my research and work for the Hawaii Karate Museum and my own dojo, I do spend a lot of time with Karate instructors, and many have become my close friends.

I am a very lucky student. Most students only get to hear stories and learn from their own direct sensei. I have the opportunity to listen to and learn from many sensei. When I hear a story or learn a lesson that I want to write about, I will always state the name of the sensei I spoke to so that the record is preserved. If someone tells or teaches me something, I don't want to make it look like I made it up myself.

Obviously, Karate is something that you have to practice. You cannot learn Karate by listening to stories at lunch. But you can learn about Karate -- how did the seniors learn, what did they have to go through, what do they remember about their teachers? This will not make you better at Karate but it can enhance your appreciation of the art.

There are also many old Karate seniors I don't write much about. A bojutsu expert who is bedridden and unable to speak on the telephone because he has become deaf. A sensei who cannot go out because he is tending to his sickly wife. A sensei who resides in a care home and can remember the 1930s and 1940s, but not last week. And then there are the 80 and 90 year old widows of the sensei who have saved their photographs and books, and preserved their legacies.

I hope that you will understand that I don't intend to drop names -- my hope is to respectfully lift them up.

Respectfully,

Charles C. Goodin