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One Year, Twenty Times

I am paraphrasing a story my good friend told me. An instructor went to a dojo and met a student there. The instructor was younger than the student, and the student looked at him rather suspiciously. Finally, the student said, "I want you to know that I have practiced Karate for 20 years!"

The instructor smiled and replied, "No, you've practiced Karate for one year, twenty times."

In other words, the student had not advanced at all. He had been doing the same thing for twenty years -- practicing at only a first year level. It is a little like planting a tree and coming back twenty years later to find that it is only one foot high. Karate students should not be bonsai!

There is a natural progression to Karate. There is a lifetime curriculum. Karate is as deep as it is broad. Learning kata and techniques is only the beginning. A student will also learn how to apply each movement in different situations and to generate power dynamically using his or her whole body. Karate enables a student to move in an extraordinary manner, and to do so for his or her entire life. Karate students don't slow down at 50 -- that is when they are just getting going!

Ask yourself how many years you have practiced Karate. Have you practiced for twenty years, or for one year twenty times?


Charles C. Goodin