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Family Karate

One of my greatest gifts is that my family also practices Karate with me. My wife, Nayna, and children, Chris, Charles, Cael, and Natasja, have all practiced with me. All are active currently, except Chris, who just graduated from law school and took the BAR. He will start work as an attorney next month. Chris and Cael are also active in Kendo.

Many sensei have commented that I am very lucky to have a family that trains with me.

My friend and senior Joseph A. Bunch of the Hawaii Okinawa Karate-Do Shudokan is even more lucky! His wife, daughter, three sons, son-in-law, and five grandchildren all practice with him! Bunch Sensei is the Secretary/Treasurer of the Hawaii Karate Kodanshakai and a member of its Ranking and Titles Committee. He was a Marine and studied Karate in Okinawa under Seijiro Maehara, Seikichi Odo, and Eizo Shimabukuro. He sponsors the Aloha State Traditional Karate Championships, which will have its 24th annual event this Sunday, August 6, 2006, at the Aliamanu Military Reservation.

My friend Hisae Ishii-Chang heads the Island Ki dojo. Her daughter trains with her. Her dojo is very family oriented.

Paul Ortino heads the Okinawa Kenpo Karate Dharma-Ryu Dojo. He has been the President of the Hawaii Karate Congress for many years. His wife, Daisy (who just gave birth to their son, Angelo), also trains with him.

Former Honolulu Chief of Police Lee Donohue, Sr. teaches Karate at the American Karate Kai with his son, Lee Donohue, Jr., who is also a policeman, heads the Kick-Start Karate program, and teaches classes at the Honolulu Police Academy.

I am always very happy to see families that practice Karate together.

Some people ask me how I got my children to come to class with me. It was very easy. I said, "let's go to class." And off we went.

One thing I did learn was that it is not good to eat fast food before training. At one time, I trained almost every day. Because there was little time, I would take my kids to hamburger places and buy whatever was 99 cents. It turns out that hamburgers and fast food are full of fat! It is much better to eat healthy food, especially if you are training.

It is also important to be willing to miss class -- and let your family members miss class -- when it is necessary. School and work must come first. Everyone needs a break sometime, even the sensei.

When I started my dojo, the only students were my three sons and one of their friends. Now I have many adult students who are yudansha and can even take short vacations with my wife. This is a real luxury!

As I have mentioned before, always remember to put your family first. And if you are very lucky, your family might also train with you. I will have to keep working and maybe one day my grandchildren will train with me too like Bunch Sensei!

In Okinawa, the eldest grandson was called the chonin. It was a tradition that a sensei would always teach his chonin. I would extend this to all grandchildren -- boys and girls alike.


Charles C. Goodin