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Can You Talk About Karate?

Because of my work with the Hawaii Karate Museum, I am interviewed from time time. Last Monday, I was interviewed at our dojo.

I think that I spoke for about an hour and 10 minutes with no notes or outline. It has become easy for me because there is so much to say about Okinawan Karate and its history in Hawaii. Actually, several hours would not be enough time.

But I wonder, have you (yes you) ever given a speech about Karate? Have you ever written a report, or given an exhibit?

Could you, without any preparation, give a lecture about Karate and your specific style? -- an informative and accurate lecture? Do you know who you teacher is, his, his, his, and where they all came from? Do you know about their lives?

I am serious. Could you? If you are instructor, the time may come when you will have to do this. What will you say if a television reporter is standing in front of you? Will you emphasize the positive aspects of the art or focus on the negative things you have seen? What will you say and how will you say it?

For many of you, this question has already been answered because you have already had to do it. Many of you can easily do this. But for many instructors and students, speaking in public is one of their greatest fears. And even if you can speak comfortably, can you properly organize your thoughts and express yourself intelligently? What you say and how you say it will reflect on the art.

It is a challenging thing. Learning to move well is challenging. Learning to teach well is a challenge. Learning to be able to inform the public about Karate is also a challenge.

I will say this -- if we stand by let people speak and write about the sport and commercial aspect of Karate, then that is what people will hear and read. If we want to emphasize the character building aspect of the art, peace, health, self-defense, restraint... the virtues of Karate, then it is up to us to speak and write about it. We should not complain about the modernization of Karate if we are not willing to inform the public about the traditional aspects.

It is up to us. The more voices and views the better.

Respectfully,

Charles C. Goodin