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100 Pound Bag of Rice

Yesterday, I met with an Okinawan Sumo champion who was born on Kauai in 1918. He was very active in Okinawan Sumo before World War II. Of course, sumo activities in Hawaii ceased during the war.

I asked this gentleman what the reward was for winning a sumo tournament before the war. He said that the champions received a 100 pound bag of rice, which at that time cost $3.

Three dollars may sound like nothing today, but I'm sure it meant more back then. More importantly, the reward was something you could eat. It could help to feed your family. One hundred pounds of rice could go a long way.

After the war, they started to award brass cups instead of bags of rice.

Today I hear about Karate trophies that are taller than the competitors. Since the same people tend to win these things over and over, I am pretty sure that some people must have many giant trophies in their houses!

I personally prefer the bags of rice -- or perhaps a gift certificate to buy food. How about a gift certificate to buy school supplies or to purchase clothing for the poor and needy? I would even prefer a nice T-shirt. At least I could wear it.

Have you ever gone to a swap meet and seen used Karate trophies for sale? I would think that hardly anyone would buy them as they serve no purpose at all. What could you do with them? They only have meaning, if at all, to the person who won them.

Everything you need in Karate is inside your own skin -- all your experience, skill, strategy, courtesy, compassion, etc. When you eat rice, it is inside you too.

The reward for excellence is excellence.

Respectfully,

Charles C. Goodin