Karate Thoughts Blog

Contents   /   Email  /   Atom  /   RSS  /  

1700+ Posts... and Counting

Can I Help You?

Sometimes when I am working in the yard, my children will ask me "Do you need any help?"

I will usually reply, "No. I don't need any help."

Based on my response, they will usually go about their business. Most men my age and older will think, "I do not need any help. I can do it myself."

But my children are asking the wrong question. They should ask, "Can I help you?"

To this, I might reply, "You can help if you would like to."

Or better yet, they should just starting helping without saying anything at all.

I have found that same applies in many situations in life. Especially with Sensei, it is best to help or at least ask if you can help. Don't ask if your Sensei needs any help, because he will probably say, "no."

At work, take the initiative and do what needs to be done. Don't wait to be asked. By then, someone else might have taken the assignment.

When I practiced Aikido with Sensei Sadao Yoshioka, we were taught to respond to a need not only before you were asked, but before the person in need even thought of asking for any help. If you waited until you were asked, it was already too late. Perhaps this is an example of sen sen no sen. See Making Sense of "Sen."

If we can respond to a need before the person is aware of his or her need, perhaps we can also respond to an attack before it is initiated. Anticipation is a great skill in Karate.


Charles C. Goodin