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Who's Best / Last

Sometimes who becomes the sensei is not about who's best but who's last.

Many times, we start training with a group of other new students. One by one, the others quit and we are the only one left. This process can take years. Often, the people who quit may be faster, stronger or even smarter than us. But we do one thing that they do not -- we keep training, year after year, decade after decade.

I always did very well in school. However, I learned Karate slowly. It takes me a long time to learn a new kata. One of my sons can watch a kata a couple of times and remember it. I might have to watch it 100 times!

However, once I learn something I rarely forget it. People who learn very quickly also tend to forget quickly -- unless they have a photographic memory. In addition, because I was taught a kata or technique many times (because I learn slowly), my sensei tended to show me more details and layers.

Those of us who had to struggle to learn Karate make good teachers because we understand how difficult it can be for students. We are more patient and give the student time to mature in the art. We know that students learn at their own time.

There is no rush. It is not about who's best but who's last.


Charles C. Goodin