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Meeting Your Sensei

I am always meeting sensei. You might think that I mean sensei like Morio Higaonna and Professor Katsuhiko Shinzato.

No, what I mean is that when I meet a Karate student or instructor, I am meeting their sensei. When I meet Higaonna Sensei or Shinzato Sensei, I am meeting them, of course, but I am also meeting their sensei through them.

When I meet Sensei Pat Nakata, I am also meeting Choshin Chibana. When I meet Sensei Bobby Lowe, I am meeting Mas Oyama. When I meet Sensei Jimmy Miyaji, I am meeting Richard Kim. When I meet Sensei Alan Lee, I am meeting Tomu Arakawa.

And when I meet student Joe Smith, I am also meeting his sensei, whoever that may be.

Many times I am so impressed by the person's sensei. I think to myself, "what a fine sensei this person must have had." I admire the sensei's technique, etiquette, culture, and composure through the student. I am always impressed, for example, by the courtesy shown by the students of Sensei Henry Seishiro Okazaki.

On the other hand, I meet some people and wonder what kind of sensei could have taught them? I rationalize that perhaps the sensei did not have the time to complete the student's training.

When you go out in public and especially when you meet sensei of Karate or any martial arts, please keep in mind that they are meeting your sensei through you.


Charles C. Goodin