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In Praise of Karate's Brits

As you probably know, I live in Hawaii. From my office in Pearlridge, I look out over Pearl Harbor. I see the Arizona Memorial, the Battleship Missouri, and the bridge to Ford Island.

But it is funny. During the course of my Karate research and writing, one of the people I speak to most is David Chambers of Classical Fighting Arts. I also am in contact with Graham Noble and Harry Cook. What do these men have in common? They are all from England. David now resides in California, but Graham and Noble remain in England.

All three are excellent researchers and writers, and David gives us a great place to publish our work.

I actually lived in England as a child. My father was in the Air Force and stationed a Greenham Common. We lived off base. My parents would dress me up in little suits. I looked like a miniature Winston Churchill -- really.

Harry Cook visited Hawaii last year. My friend Kimo Ferreira and I reminded him that the great explorer Captain James Cook, visited Hawaii in the 1700's, and experienced Hawaii 's martial arts firsthand.

Karate research has become a global phenomenon. With the internet, we are as close as our computers.

From Okinawa, Karate has spread to the four corners of the world. I routinely interact with researchers in the United States, England, Canada, Australia, Japan, and Okinawa.

To some extent, foreign researchers are more serious about Karate research than many Japanese and Okinawan Karate experts? Why? Because Japanese and Okinawan experts are more likely to take the history of the art for granted. It is so familiar to them. To us (foreigners), it is something valuable and precious, worthy of study and preservation. Sensei Morio Higaonna is a notable exception to this. His passion for preserving Karate's rich history is incredible. I am also very encouraged by the work of the Okinawan Karate and Kobudo Encyclopedia Committee. My Sensei is a member of this committee, as is Higaonna Sensei.

But for now, from what used to be called the Sandwich Islands, I send my compliments to the British Karate researchers and writers. Cheers!


Charles C. Goodin