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Never Be Satisfied

In Karate, we move from one rank to another. The kyu ranks come relatively quickly, and then the dan ranks come, separated by an increasing number of years. At 1st dan, a student feels like he still has far to go. At 5th dan, a student might feel half way there. At 9th dan, a student might feel that the end is within reach.

Nothing prevents our progress as much as success, or the feeling of having accomplished. At 1st dan, a student should feel that he has only scratched the surface. At 5th dan, a student should re-number his thinking. Instead of thinking of 10 degrees of black belt, he should think of 50! He still is just scratching the surface. At 9th dan, a student should throw out the number system altogether! He is still just scrathing the surface.

A 1st dan scratches the surface of basics. A 5th dan scratches the surface of techniques. A 9th dan scratches the surface of an art. We all are scratching the surface of life itself.

We should always feel that we have a long way to go. Decades of practice simply give us a better appreciation of the enormity of the journey.

There is a saying that our reach should always exceed our grasp. We should always be grasping for something that is out of our reach. We should never be satisfied. If we look, we can always find room for improvement.

This may seem rather demanding. However, Karate is not merely about technique -- Karate is practiced in daily life. That means that we should seek improvement in all aspects of our life.

But even in technique, the great Karate people are always seeking improvement. Do not let rank, titles, or position lessen your view.


Charles C. Goodin