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Slow and Steady

I really enjoyed Sensei Pat Nakata's Guest Post entitled Mada, Mada, Mada.

Some students are very enthusiastic. As instructors, we should encourage this. But Karate is a lifelong practice. Sensei Shoshin Nagamine compared it to a marathon rather than a sprint.

It is good to train hard and enthusiastically. It is more important to train dilligently for the long term.

The same is true in other activities. Take weightlifting, for example. You could lift extremely heavy weights every day for two weeks, but that will not make you a good weightlifter. In two weeks, your body will not have time to grow stronger. You will just exhaust and possibly injure yourself.

It is more important to follow a disciplined course of lifting, designed to develop your overall body, and to coordinate this will a healthy diet and lifestyle.

In Karate, the question is not how much or how intensely you can train for one year or even ten years, but how well you can train for your entire life.

An important consideration is the wear and tear of Karate training on your body. It makes no sense to train so hard that you injure yourself, tear your muscles and tendons, strain your joints, break your bones, injure your back, develop arthritis, etc. Sometimes, the results of overtraining, or improper training, will not show up for years of even decades.

When you are in your 20s and 30s, you should already be planning for how you would like to be in your 70s! I think that the Tai Chi instructors do an excellent job of this. Look at a 70 year old Karate instructor and a 70 year old Tai Chi instructor. Who is in better health? Who is more agile?

Of course, the answer depends on how they trained. Slow and steady is my recommendation.


Charles C. Goodin