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A Poor Demonstration

Last night I watched a video of an instructor giving a Karate demonstration. In all honestly, I have to say that it was one of the poorest demonstrations I have ever seen. You've probably seen your share of poor demonstrations over the years too.

It is easy to criticize another person's performance. But nothing good comes from it. The better question is "what aspects of the performance were poor, incorrect or improper?" If we can identify this, then we can learn something. And the more imporant question is whether we have any of the same faults. If so, we should be grateful to the other person for helping us to realize this.

It is extremely difficult to compare styles. What is right in one style might be wrong in another. The same movement in a Pinan kata might be practiced three different ways in three different styles.

But I have found that good is basically good, irrespective of style. A truly skilled person is rare in any style. A truly skilled person in Shorin-Ryu is just as rare as a truly skilled person in Shotokan or Goju-Ryu or Kenpo Karate. Style is not as important as the commitment and insight of the student practicing it.

Seeing a poor demonstration should wake us up -- should make us review our own movements and body mechanics. It can also help us to appreciate how difficult Karate can be for people. What if the demonstrator's student joined your dojo? By seeing the teacher, you could better understand the student.

We've all seen poor demonstrations. We've probably also given our fair share of them. I know that I have.


Charles C. Goodin