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You Never Know

When I was a child, I studied Judo at Misawa Air Force Base in Northern Japan. I loved Judo. We had classes on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.

I am half-Japanese and half-Caucasian and was always one of the smallest students in my age group. Many of my classmates where much taller and heavier than me.

As I gradually became more advanced, I did better, even with bigger opponents. In fact, I became used to randori with bigger and older opponents. In Judo, size does not matter that much.

But here is my point. In Judo, anyone can beat you and you can beat anyone. Even if you are advanced, a junior might throw you. If he throws just right, and you are not paying attention, or slip, you can quickly find yourself flat on your back. The same is true when you go with someone more advanced than you. He should be able to beat you, but you might win. The odds are in favor of the more advanced student. He might win 9 times out of 10, but there is still that one time to consider.

In Judo, you can get up after the match. In Karate, we have no such luxury. Even if we are more skilled, even if we are faster, stronger, better in every way, we have to realize that there is a margin for error. We could lose -- meaning we could be hit, kicked, stabbed, etc. And we might not be able to get back up!

As a result, we cannot afford to slip, or lose our focus or attention. We have to take every attacker 100% seriously. He might get lucky, he might be armed, he might have friends we do not see. We cannot afford to to lose even once.

Because you never know....


Charles C. Goodin