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One Minute Bunkai -- Angel Lemus

Aloha,

My good friend, Sensei Angel Lemus, has created a very interesting and useful website called One Minute Bunkai. The URL is oneminutebunkai.com. I hope that you will visit it and watch the bunkai videos -- no music, no verbal explanations... just the techniques shown in a very clear and easy to follow format. I really enjoyed them.

I am very lucky. Through our Hawaii Karate Kenkyukai training sessions, I have had the opportunity to see Lemus Sensei execute such bunkai. He reminds me of a jazz musician, just jamming! He seems to be able to effortlessly transition between techniques and applications -- something I am always working on myself. I have occasionally been on the receiving end of Lemus Sensei's applications, and I can say that they definitely work.

I always say, if you don't know what you are doing, then what are you doing? Bunkai is the meaning of what we do in Karate. One Minute Bunkai is an excellent idea, and I am grateful to Lemus Sensei (and his students) for sharing it with us.

Respectfully,

Charles C. Goodin

Lecture: Karate in the Ryukyu Kingdom (2/9/12)


Aloha,

On Thursday, February 9th at 3:00 p.m., Sensei Pat Nakata and I will give a lecture at the University of Hawaii. A poster is above (click the poster for a larger pdf file) and the information is included below. Please feel free to distribute this information to anyone who might be interested. I am very honored to give this lecture with my good friend and senior, Sensei Nakata Sensei.

I have asked my good friend, Sensei Angel Lemus, to take video of the lecture and we hope to be able to present it on YouTube after the event.

I am very encouraged that this lecture is sponsored by a the Center for Okinawan Studies at the University of Hawaii. The subject matter of Karate and its place in Okinawan history and culture is truly worth of study. Those of us who are fortunate to practice and teach the art, are caretakers of this great tradition.

Respectfully,

Charles C. Goodin



Center for Okinawan Studies Lecture Series

University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa

Karate in the Ryukyu Kingdom, Okinawa Prefecture, and Hawaii
How is Okinawan Culture Spread through Karate?


Learn about the origins of Karate (Tudi, "Tang or China" Hand) among members of the highest levels of Ryukyuan society. Karate was part of the upbringing of selected sons of noble and samurai families who were trained to become bushi, cultured gentlemen. Based largely on Chinese martial arts and values, Karate was usually taught secretly or in private.

About twenty years after the Ryukyu Kingdom was abolished and Okinawa became a prefecture (1879), Karate became a part of the public school curriculum. Taught publicly and to a large number of students for the first time, Karate had to adapt to Japanese values and objectives. But the old form of Karate still existed with the new. Explore why the myth of Karate being developed by Okinawan farmers and peasants was spread in Japan... and still exists today.

Karate came to Hawaii with the very first Okinawan immigrants starting in 1900. Originally limited to members of the Okinawan community, the art is now widely practiced by students of all ethnic groups. Through Karate training, students are provided an opportunity to learn about Okinawan history and culture.
Speakers: Sensei Pat Nakata (Okinawa Shorin-Ryu Karate Association) &
Charles C. Goodin (Hawaii Karate Museum)

Date: February 9, 2012 (Thursday)

Time: 3:00 - 4:30 pm

Location: Moore Hall 319 (Tokioka Room)
Event is free and open to the public.

For more information or disability access, please contact:

Center for Okinawan Studies, tel. 956-0902 / 956-5754

University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa

Finding Yourself

I often hear young people say that they have to find themselves. My reply is that "your self is not something you find, it is something you make."

Finding yourself is not a miraculous thing. It is not a matter of where you live, but rather how you live. If you can't find yourself here, you won't find it over there. It takes work. It is the result of your interactions with other people. It is the result of the challenges you face and how you face them. It is the result of caring about others and things, and sometimes of loss. What are you willing to do for others?

Finding yourself is really experiencing life... and paying attention to the process and results.

Alcohol and drugs can certainly make the process much harder. There is a saying that most people are born sleeping (unaware because of inexperience) and die drunk (unaware because of excess). Watch it! Beware and be aware!

I am still making my self... a little each day. Karate training is part of this process.

Respectfully,

Charles C. Goodin

Repost About Work and Work Ethics

This is a combined repost of two posts I had written in March of 2011 about work and work ethics.

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Here are some things I tell my own children about work, and some things I have heard over the years.
  1. Anything worthwhile takes work.
  2. When they complain that a task is difficult, I say, "That's why they call it work."
  3. If it was easy, they could easily hire someone else could do it.
  4. A job worth doing is worth doing well.
  5. You might not be stronger or smarter than another person, but you can accomplish more by working harder.
  6. Chotoku Kyan used to say, "If he practices three times, I will practice seven!" With this work attitude, Kyan Sensei became a great Karate expert.
  7. Fall down six times get up seven.
  8. When you work for someone, give them 100%. Don't show up late, leave early, call in sick unnecessarily, or spend time on private calls. You are there to work. Earn your pay.
  9. If your boss has to lay someone off, who do you think he will let go -- his best worker or his worst? (That is assuming that the worst worker is not a relative.)
  10. A job is not done until it is done. (Keep working at it until it is done.)
  11. A commitment made is a commitment kept. (If you say you are going to do something, do it.)
  12. If you can learn to work hard at Karate training, you can apply that same attitude to school, work, family obligations... anything.
  13. There is no shame to being less skilled than another Karate student, as long as you are still working at it.
  14. In Karate, the work is never done.
  15. Work on your character is never done either.
  16. Life is easier if you enjoy your profession (job).
  17. Generally, you can get a better job (in terms of pay, benefits, prestige, etc.) if you get a good college education. If you have the opportunity, get a graduate degree.
  18. No matter how good your job may be (in terms of pay, benefits, prestige, etc.) you have to consider your quality of life.
  19. Opportunities rarely come by chance, you have to make them.
  20. You make your luck.
  21. Fish or cut bait.
  22. Crap or get off of the pot.
  23. The sooner you start the job the sooner you will finish it.
  24. Thinking about the job is often harder than doing it.
  25. A lazy employee is like dead wood.
  26. If I have to ask you to do it, I might as well do it myself.
  27. Don't ask me if I need help. I will always say no. If you want to help, help. If you don't want to help, don't was time talking about it.
  28. If you help someone, forget about. If someone helps you, never forget it.
  29. Some workers do the work of three people.
  30. Honest work is always worthy of respect.
  31. Do it now. Do not put it off until tomorrow.
  32. Don't say it, do it.
  33. A large weed was once a small weed. Why didn't you pick it then? It would have been much easier.
  34. Finish one job, begin another. Don't waste time in between.
  35. It is hard to find the time to do everything you need to do. You have to make the time.
  36. What you did (accomplished) yesterday is good, but what are you doing today?
  37. No matter how much education and special training you might have, you work for your client. He might have no such education or training, but he is your boss. You are lucky to have him. Don't forget it.
  38. People who work in ivory towers are resented.
  39. I met many attorneys and doctors who had children who did not want to pursue education or a profession. One day when I stayed late at the law office where I worked, I met a cleaning lady from the Philippines. She had come to Hawaii with her husband. He was a cleaning man too. They had ten children (as I recall): three doctors, two lawyers, two engineers, a school teacher, and two children in college. I was in awe of that couple's accomplishments!
  40. Don't just work hard, work smart.
  41. If you have to walk to the other side of the building to get something, ask yourself if there is anything you could take there.
  42. Karate training is always a work in progress.

Respectfully,


Charles C. Goodin

What Makes a Dojo?

One of my sons is getting married soon and is in the market for a house. I recently told him, "What makes a house a home is not the square footage, the furniture, or the location. What makes a house a home is the people inside it."

The same can be said about a dojo. People make the dojo. Everything else is just "things."

The dojo is the place where people get together to practice Karate. When you practice Karate in your daily life, that is your dojo.

Respectfully,

Charles C. Goodin

The Objective of Karate

What is the physical objective of Karate? What is the reason we practice potentially destructive Karate techniques?

To me, the goal is not to win or defeat an opponent. I am not training for this reason. If someone attacks me, he is not an opponent -- he is a criminal. I have not agreed to fight, to a game. I am an innocent victim. I am a victim of this criminal.

My goal is to avoid being injured or killed. If I can run away -- great! If I have to defend myself, my goal is still to avoid being injured or killed. I am not trying to win or defeat the attacker. It may be that the only way to avoid being hurt is to injure or kill the attacker. If so, that is unavoidable. But that does not mean that I defeated the attacker. It is not a win. It is a terrible, but necessary and unavoidable thing.

The goal of Karate is neither to win nor to lose. These apply to other subjects. The goal of Karate (at least the self defense aspects of the art), is to avoid being injured or killed by an attacker. I am never a fighter. If someone attacks me, I am a victim. I am exercising my right to self defense... not fighting.

It's like catching a puhi (moray eel) and trying to take the hook out. You have to expect that it will try to bite you. It's not the eel's fault. It just wants to get away.

Respectfully,

Charles C. Goodin

Better Than or Worse Than

This is a story.

Bill and Dave were talking in the dojo as they watched Sam perform a kata.

"I hate Sam," said Bill.

"Why?" asked Dave.

"Because he thinks he is better than me."

"He is better than you," said Dave.

"I know that," conceded Bill. "I hate him because he knows it."
In Karate training, there will be many students who are better than you, and many students who you may be better than. Learn from the former and help the latter. But don't ever let it bother you.

Too many people say that such and such a person is "great!" So what? How did that person become great? If he was born great, that won't help you. But if he worked at it, perhaps you can also become great by working the same way.

And if someone attacks you, it doesn't matter that you are better or worse than other students at the dojo. What matters is what you will do at that very moment.

Respectfully,

Charles C. Goodin

Perfect Effort

Instead of trying to perform a kata perfectly, try to make a perfect effort. Let's say that you enter a tournament and perform a kata the very best that you can. Who is going to evaluate it? The judges? How do they know how well you did? Do they even know your style and kata? And even if they do, how do they know what you were thinking, how focused you were, whether there were any gaps between your thoughts and actions?

The focus should not only be on the result, which is a subjective thing anyway. The focus should also be on the effort.

If you learn to make a perfect effort, everything you do will improve. If you only learn to copy one thing "perfectly," so what?

Now, you do not make a perfect effort by sitting seiza and yelling: "I will seek to make a perfect effort!" It is not something you can get by yelling, writing, or thinking. It is something you have to do.

So the next time you perform a kata, don't concentrate solely on the moves and timing, concentrate also on the effort you are making. If you truly try your best... congratulations! Now do that all the time.

Respectfully,

Charles C. Goodin

Celebrity Sensei

One of the worst things a student can do is to turn his Sensei into a celebrity. You take a quiet, humble, down to earth, extremely skilled teacher and turn him into a media star. There is a saying that observation changes the result of the experiment. To what extent do the perceptions of the students and the public change the Sensei?

Even if some degree of notoriety is unavoidable, you have to ask what the effect of having a celebrity Sensei is on the student. Is the student learning Karate... or how to become a celebrity? The Sensei is a role model. So what is he a role model of? A student is rarely influenced by only one aspect of a role model.

Try this. Write down all the characteristics of your Sensei. Now circle the ones that you admire and seek to be like.

For me, I do not seek celebrity status. I don't want to be anyone's master or soke or hanshi. I just want to be myself. I like being an "unknown" person. Even if I write articles, very few people visually associate me with that "author" (that is one reason I rarely include my photograph with articles).

Through Karate training, I am working on myself. This is a personal, rather than a public journey. Celebrity status, if anything, would be a distraction. The focus is and should always be training.

You might think that this post is unnecessary. But have you seen any Karate Sensei celebrities? Did you ever see how the students react to them? Have you seen them posing for photos, asking for autographs, asking to have their books signed, wining and dining, rubbing elbows, hanging on, dropping names, etc.? Back in Okinawa or Japan, this person is normal. Here he is a celebrity. What happened?

And, of course, some people are quick to point out that their celebrity Sensei is more well known than your celebrity Sensei.

I will tell you who the real "stars" of Karate are to me: the Sensei who teach in their home, garage, carport, yard, or the park; the Sensei who teach in a recreation center or church and have to pay out of pocket for the rent because they do not charge tuition to students who cannot afford it; the Sensei who work with special needs students; the Sensei who come straight from chemotherapy to the dojo; the Sensei who truly "walk the walk" and talk little about it; and most of all, the Sensei who are dedicated to training and polishing their character.

What counts most is not that you are well known but that you know yourself well.

Celebrity status requires too much baggage.

Respectfully,

Charles C. Goodin

Lessons From Fishing

Yesterday, the last day of 2011, I went fishing... and essentially got skunked. It was a beautiful day and I enjoyed it, but no big fish for New Year's lunch.

From time to time, people stop by at my fishing spot. Usually, they wonder what I have caught.

"Catch anything?" they ask.

"Only little," I often reply holding my hands a few inches apart.

And then comes the line. "That's why they call it fishing, not catching."

I smile and agree.

Karate is like that. We think of "Karate" as a noun, but it really should be verb. "Training" is the word that comes closest to the idea. When we say "Karate" we really should say "Training."

Then when we are practicing Karate and a person walks by and says, "Are you a black belt or good yet?", we could say, "That's why they call it training."

I did get a new fishing pole, a 9 foot, medium action Ugly Stick. I can cast much father with it, and am confident that I will catch more and better fish next year. I also received a nice pair of scissors as a gift, which I am using when I make my rigs.

But whatever the result may be, I will be fishing and training.

Respectfully,

Charles C. Goodin

Resolutions for Karate Students for 2012

Here are some Resolutions for Karate Students for 2012:

  1. Practice Karate because you enjoy it. If you do so, your happiness will be attainment of the goal you seek.
  2. Focus on skill and conditioning, rather than rank and titles.
  3. Try to get a little better every day.
  4. Ask your Sensei if there is anything you can do to help him (or her).
  5. Arrive at class early to help set up. Stay late to help put things away.
  6. Try hard to get better at just one thing this year. If you can do that, you can apply what you learn to other aspects of Karate.
  7. If you haven't already done so, begin the serious study of body dynamics.
  8. Pick one junior student at the dojo and make it your mission to help him (or her).
  9. Be a positive influence in the dojo.
  10. Be humble.
  11. Be respectful of and kind to other people (whether they study Karate or not).
  12. There is no end to improvement in Karate. Remember: not yet, not yet. Mada, mada, mada.
  13. Try to win a tournament (just joking, unless you view daily life as a tournament).
  14. Seek to dig deeper rather than climbing higher. The keys are inside you.
  15. Learn something about other styles of Karate. At a certain point, styles become irrelevant.
  16. Try to remain calm and focused the next time you are in a dangerous situation, like an earthquake, a hurricane, or a car accident. Be prepared.
  17. Read a book about Okinawan history and culture.
  18. If you can afford it, plan a vacation or stopover in Okinawa.
  19. Don't forget to spend time with and pay attention to your family.
  20. Apply the principles of Karate in your daily life.
  21. Enjoy Karate in 2012.
Thank you for reading this blog and for your kind words and support. I continue to work on myself.

Respectfully,

Charles C. Goodin