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Advice to New Students

These are some of the things I would tell a new student.

Attend Class Regularly -- at least as regularly as possible. There is a lot to learn. If you miss class you will fall behind. This will make it harder to keep you with other students who joined about the same time as you did. You are also getting into shape. You need to train regularly to get into training shape -- flexibility as well as strength and stamina. This is especially important for older students.

Try hard. Give it 100%. Try your very best all the time. However, you should not strain yourself. The biggest problem for beginners is using too much strength. So by trying hard, I do not mean that you should make your muscles tight. You should devote your attention and effort 100% while you are training. You should apply yourself fully. Try hard but remain as relaxed as possible.

Ask Questions. In the old days in Japan it was considered rude to ask questions. Students just followed along. We train in Hawaii -- questions are good. Other students might have the same question. So go ahead and ask. If I am not available, ask one of the seniors.

Practice At Home. I can tell which students practice at home and which ones don't. It is essential to practice at home. That is where you will find out that you really don't understand something. It is easy to follow along with other students. But all alone you will have no one to follow. You will have to know it yourself.

If you cannot practice physically, review the kata in your mind. Go over the kata in your mind as if you are practicing for real. You will find that you can't move correctly physically if you can't move correctly in your mind. This will also improve your concentration. I used to practice kata mentally when I rode the bus in high school. I also used to practice kata mentally as I would fall asleep.

Set Goals. Set goals for yourself for the next month, year and ten years. Time will pass whether you practice Karate or not. But if you set goals, you will be able to accomplish them. In ten years, most students can become very skillful in Karate. This will also enhance their health, concentration, self-discipline, etc.

Apply Karate In Daily Life. Practice being more patient, more understanding, more helpful... being a better person. This is Karate. What good it is to be able to block a punch if a criticism will make you fly into a rage? What good is it be be a "great" Karate man but a terrible father or husband? The better a person you become, the better you will be in Karate.


Charles C. Goodin