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Finding A Sensei -- Part 5

Sometimes a person will move to Hawaii and ask me about finding a Sensei. They often say that they have practiced a certain style of Karate and want to continue in that style.

I know many of the Sensei in Hawaii. Quite often, a newcomer to our islands might live very close to a fantastic Sensei of a different style. I will try my best to recommend that they visit the Sensei's dojo but they will often refuse.

Think about it. A person might have learned XYZ style for a few months or even a few years from an instructor on the mainland. That instructor might have even been quite junior. I will try to refer them to a very senior Sensei, sometimes one that is one of the top Sensei in the world, and they will decline because they want to remain in the same style.

Style is not that important!

Let me put it this way, a person might have learned from an 8 and I am recommending that they visit a 100 -- but they would rather continue with a 6 in the same style.

Please don't get me wrong. I do not prefer one style over another.

Let us say that Chojun Miyagi was still alive and living in Hawaii. If someone asked me, I would recommend that they visit his dojo -- not mine! I don't care that they might want to learn Shorin-Ryu. Who could pass up the opportunity to learn from Chojun Miyagi?

And when I press for details, sometimes the student might tell me that they do not want to lose their rank -- such as a green belt -- by changing styles. If you have been reading this blog for a while you will already know my answer to this.

Finding a good Sensei is infinitely more important than any rank issues -- or style issues, for that matter.


Charles C. Goodin