Karate Thoughts Blog


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1650+ Posts... and Counting

Parents & Children -- Sensei & Students

Last night I asked the children in my class to list words describing how they should feel about their parents. Some of the words included: respect, appreciation, nice, obedience, learn, and helpful.

These are certainly good words. A child should respect his parents. A child should appreciate the things that his parents do for him. A child should be nice to his parents. A child should obey his parents. A child should learn from his parents. A child should help his parents.

My class consists of children and adults. Our oldest student is 66 ( a grandfather).

So on the other hand, I mentioned that parents should act in a way that is respectful, so that their children can respect them. Parents should act in a way that their children will appreciate them. Parents should also be nice to their children. Parents should not abuse their authority. They should act reasonably and wisely so that their children will willingly obey them. Parents should appreciate the help that their children give them, and should also help their children. Parents should teach their children the important lessons of life.

Everything goes both ways. Respect is a mutual thing. Appreciation is a mutual thing. Learning and teaching are mutual things.

I mentioned to the class that I am 49 and my mother is 73. I still respect her as my mother and will do so as long as I live. Being older does not change the fact that I am her son and she is my mother. The relationships will last for both of our lives.

In Karate, we treat our Sensei almost like parents. We show them great respect. But we must remember that this relationship is also mutual. Just as our parents should live in a way deserving of our respect, appreciation, and obedience, so too should our Sensei and seniors be as demanding of themselves as they are of their students.

As Sensei, we have to always remember that we have to earn respect by the way we live -- by the way we conduct ourselves in daily life.

Respectfully,

Charles C. Goodin

Hikari Dojo Flyer

Aloha,

With school out, many children and young adults are looking for summer activities. I have uploaded a flyer for classes at our Hikari Dojo. We meet at the Halawa District Park gym on Monday and Wednesday evenings from 6 to 7:30 p.m.


Please feel free to give or send the flyer to anyone you think might be interested in learning the Shorin-Ryu form of Karate. The flyer is in pdf format.

Our minium age is usually 11.

Thank you very much.

Respectfully,

Charles C. Goodin

Biological Clocks and the Bathroom

I have two students whose biological clocks are set to Karate training. As soon as we start class, they have to go use the bathroom. This has not only happened a few times, it basically happens all the time. Their clocks are set.

My mother grew up in Kitakyushu. She was born in 1933 and thus went through the war. Kitakyushu is a town in Fukuoka on the northern tip of the island of Kyushu. It was the target of many bombing raids and there was a bomb shelter near my mother's home. As soon as the bomb alarms would ring, the people in the neighborhood would rush to the bomb shelter.

It was hot and crowded in the shelter. My mother told me that without fail, as soon as she found herself in the bomb shelter, she would have to use the bathroom. There was not one in the shelter, so she would have to hold it.

But to this day, when she hears an alarm ring, she has to use the bathroom.

I understand that Kokura was the primary target for the second atomic bomb. This was fairly close to my mother's home (Kokura has since merged into Kitakyushu City). Because of cloud cover that day, the secondary target of Nagasaki was bombed. Had there not been clouds, my mother likely would have died that day.

When my students have to use the bathroom, I try to be understanding. When you have to go, you have to go.

Respectfully,

Charles C. Goodin

Hawaii's Most Senior Sensei

Sometimes I am asked who is the most senior Karate Sensei in Hawaii.

I always answer that this distinction goes to Shihan Bobby Lowe, the senior student of Sensei Mas Oyama. Lowe Sensei has studied Karate since the 1940s, and became a student of Oyama Sensei in 1952. He continues to teach the Kyokushin form of Karate near the University of Hawaii. He was a founding member and is the chairman of the Hawaii Karate Kodanshakai.

Before World War II, the most senior Karate Sensei in Hawaii, in my opinion, was Sensei Seio Morikone. He was a student of Anko Itosu. When visitors such as Mizuho Mutsu and Kamesuke Higashionna came to Hawaii, they would stop in to pay their respects to him. He also instructed local instructors such as Seishin Uehara and Thomas Shigeru Miyashiro.

Tomorrow's most senior Sensei may be the child in your dojo!

Respectfully,

Charles C. Goodin

Karate Books

I have access to a very large collection of Karate books. At one time, I was even paid to read and review them for a local newspaper.

You can learn a lot about Karate from books, but in my opinion, you cannot learn Karate. You can learn about the history and traditions of the art, dates and places, names and events, stories and biographies, but you cannot learn the basics, mechanics, kata, and techniques of the art. You can learn about these things, but not how to properly do them.

I have met people who had learned kata from books. Their movements were terrible. How could they be otherwise? A series of photographs can only show you pieces of a kata. No matter how many photographs are shown, there are many more pieces to the sequences.

Learning Karate requires the guidance of a qualified Sensei. Learning is a hands on thing. It actually requires two things: a qualified Sensei and a dedicated student. It takes both. A student cannot learn without a qualified Sensei and a Sensei cannot really teach without a dedicated student.

If you are learning Karate from a qualified Sensei, books could be helpful. Without a Sensei, books can be interesting at best. At worst, they can lead a student to learn many mistakes and form many bad habits.

I have mentioned before that I have met students who performed kata with a count corresponding the the photographs of a book. And a certain points, they would shout out "kiai" just like the photographs instructed. Did I mention that one of these students was a yudansha?

I really enjoy books. I have spent a considerable sum acquiring them for the Hawaii Karate Museum. But I always keep in mind that the best Karate book in the world cannot replace a good Sensei. To me, a good Sensei is worth more than all the books in the world!

Still... I certainly would like to acquire originals of Motobu Sensei's two books for the Hawaii Karate Museum during this life. (Smile) We actually have nice reprints, but I am determined to locate originals.

Respectfully,

Charles C. Goodin

2007 Okinawan Festival

The Hawaii Karate Museum will present a historic Karate photograph exhibit at this year's Okinawan Festival to be held at Kapiolani Park in Honolulu on August 31st through September 2nd. We will be in Hui O Laulima's Cultural Tent. This will be our third appearance at the Okinawan Festival.

You can find more information at okinawanfestival.com and at huoa.org.

Please contact me if you have any historic Karate photos with a Hawaii connection that you might want us to display. You can contact me at goodin@hawaii.rr.com or at 808-488-5773.

We are especially seeking photos of Karate in Hawaii before World War II.

Thank you very much.

Respectfully,

Charles C. Goodin

High School Graduates -- Continue Your Education

This year, three of my students have graduated from high school. One is my third son, Cael. I am very proud of all the graduates and have high hopes that they will all go on to great success in life. Last night at class, I said "Ganbatte" to two of the graduates. Not only do we wish them the best, we urge them to try their very best.

Most students graduate from high school at the age of 17 or 18. They are still very young. At that age, it is very important for students to try their very best to continue their education.

In my family, my wife and expect all of our children to go to college and we also urge them to obtain at least one graduate degree. Our eldest son graduated from college and went on to earn a law degree. Our second son will graduate from college in the fall and we have hopes that he will also pursue a graduate degree. He plans to start work on his CPA designation as soon as he graduates. Cael will enter college in the fall, and he is aware that we hope the he too will go on to graduate school.

Our children are very fortunate that we have saved for their college.

I would urge all high school graduates to pursue a college education or vocational training. Get your education while you are young and have the time to do so. It is much more difficult to pursue an education when you have children or have already settled down and have fixed monthly expenses (for a home, care, health insurance, etc.).

In five years, you will be five years older. Wouldn't it be nice to have a college degree or vocational skills at that time?

If you are looking for yourself, you are just as likely to find yourself in college as in any other activity. Four or five years from now, you still might be searching for yourself. Honestly, most of us continue to search for ourselves throughout our lives. I still am! Each day is one of seeking and discovery.

When my first son entered college, he told me that he wanted to pursue an art degree. I told him that I would want him to pursue a double major then -- art and business. The reason was that in order to be successful in art, he would also have to understand business. Otherwise, he would have to always work for other people. Art is a skill, but it is a skill that must be practiced in a business world.

As it turned out, my son studied business and during a business law course, decided that he really wanted to study law, which he did.

I was a premed student for two years in college. I did terrible! I switched to Political Science and did much better. I really enjoyed religion classes, and even psychology. My point is that you study other subjects than those in your major. College helps to broaden your knowledge. And it is possible that while studying a subject outside of your major, you might find your true calling -- a field you really like.

Even if your true calling is teaching Karate, I would think that there are good majors in college that would help you to be a better Karate teacher -- certainly a more well-rounded one.

Some high school gradutes students might think that college is a waste of time. That would be hard to know until you have been there. With all the possible courses of study, I am sure that there is something of value for every student.

I earned three college degrees and supported myself. I was fortunate to earn some scholarships and grants, but also had to work and take out educational loans. During my second year of business school and throughout law school, my wife worked. We both had to struggle, and it took many years to pay off my educational loans. But we did it. If we could do it again, we would. I think it made us appreciate things (and each other) more.

Karate teaches students self-discipline and enables them to work very hard at anything they set their mind to. Karate should enable students to succeed in college or vacational school -- to study harder, to do their very best.

My congratulations to all the high school graduates in my dojo, and in dojo all across the country! When I was writing a card to my son Cael, I wrote a line about how there will be many obstacles in life. I edited the line and changed the word obstacles to challenges.

Life is very challenging. It is very expensive to live today. The house my wife and I purchased in 1983 now costs about 4 times as much as it did -- the same house! The same house we bought in 1983 now costs 4 times as much and it is now 24 years older.

Health care is expensive. Housing is expensive. Everything is expensive.

But if students will get the best education possible, it will be much easier to cope with the challenges of life. We cannot plan for everything. There are natural disasters. People get sick. But somehow most people keep going. Life goes on. The human spirit is a very powerful thing.

Life is challenging. By rising to meet the challenges of life, we become better people and find our true selves.

Ganbatte to all the high school graduates!

Finally, please continue your Karate training during college. Most people who quit do not come back. Even if you have to miss class from time to time, do not quit. The next four or five years are also very important for your Karate training. There is a great deal of difference between the skill of a shodan and the skill of a nidan.

And Karate practice will help to keep your mind sharp and your body strong while you attend college.

Respectfully,

Charles C. Goodin