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Pride or Shame?

Sometimes I will hear a student say that they are trying to make their Sensei proud of them. This is a noble effort.

Sometimes I will hear a student say that they are just trying not to make their Sensei ashamed of or embarrassed by them. I can also understand this.

The first effort reflects western thinking. The second, eastern.

In the west, we are generally rewarded for our efforts. We try to get ahead.

In the east, you generally work hard and do not seek any attention. You just try your best.

I was brought up with both ways of thinking.

Let's say that there is a demonstration. One student might say, "Did I do well? Did I make you proud?" Another student might say, "I hope I didn't mess up."

Karate teaches modesty. As I grow older, I find myself hoping more and more that I do not embarrass my Sensei. If I ever hear praise, I reply, "I will practice harder."

Don't rest on your laurels. Keep trying your best.


Charles C. Goodin