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Guest Post: Karate Is More Than Training For Yourself

This Guest Post is by David Takahashi, a nidan in the Hikari Dojo. David's wife and three of his children also practice with him in the dojo.

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My father was an avid fan of the martial arts. When I was young, we would always see whatever Bruce Lee movie came out and many other martial arts movies that were available at the local theaters. My father practiced Shotokan Karate under Sensei Kiyohisa Hirano and through that influence, I too, practiced the same style under Sensei Mitsuo Tsuchiya and later under Sensei Clarice Hirano.

Although I enjoyed learning what I did, I must say that for many years Karate meant only learning how to defend myself or perhaps training to do well in a tournament or competition. I practiced to be better skilled at the moves, but that was about it.

For the past few years, I have been training under Sensei Charles Goodin and the experience has been completely different from the past. Through his teachings in class and the Web sites -- including his blog -- I have come to appreciate what is behind what I do and have begun to feel that learning Karate is more than just for me. I feel that by practicing and learning, I am paying tribute to all those sensei who spent their lives perfecting the art. This thought leaves me feeling very humble.

Sometimes I imagine that the sensei who have passed on are standing all around us in the dojo watching us and perhaps nodding to each other when we "get it right" or whisper to one another a comment or two about how we could improve if we only did "this" or "that."

Imagining that all the past sensei surround me pushes me to try harder when I'm feeling exhausted. How could I not give anything but my best when so many before me spent years and years perfecting their skills and style so they could pass it on to us? The next time you feel tired of practicing, try imagining your sensei standing right next to you and maybe that will give you an extra boost of energy!

David Takahashi