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I studied Kenpo Karate under Florentino S. Pancipanci when I lived at Hickam Air Force Base. He taught at the adult recreation center. He also taught Tai Chi Chuan.

I remember one day that he gave a lecture about how everthing was connected. This was during a Tai Chi class, so we were wearing white T-shirts and black silky pants. He told us to look at the white T-shirts we wore.

He explained that the T-shirts might have been purchased from a store here in Hawaii, but the store purchased them from a factory in China that had made them. The factory had to purchase the cotton from farmers, who grew the cotton from seeds they may have purchased from a seed store. The farmers had planted the seeds in the ground, applied fertilier and water, used equipment -- all coming from different places.

The T-shirts also had printing. Again, the printing had to be done at the factory, but the factory had to purchase the ink from someone else. The ink might have been made from chemicals that, if you went far enough back, had been mined from the land. The ink had been applied using machines comprised of many parts made all around the world.

You could apply the same analysis to just about everthing. All things came from sources all around the world.

In the case of our shirts, the cotton had grown under the sunlight and water of a foreign land.

If you thought about it, were were surrounded by things from around the world, and if you traced each of these things back to their sources, there would literally be no end.

So a shirt was not just a shirt. It was so much more.

I took this to mean that we should appreciate the things around us. Each thing was the result of a process that spanned time and space.

If things are so special, how much more special are the people we meet.

In a similar way, the Karate we practice the is result of a process that spans time and space. Who could possibly know all the people (over the generations) and places that lead to the techniques and kata that we practice each day?

We should not take things for granted.


Charles C. Goodin