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Karate -- Approaching The Whole

Some Karate students only see the differences between schools and styles. Such students often think that they, their teacher, or style are better than some other person or style. This is very shortsighted. It is like too many male tilapia in a small pond. (You can find tilapia in just about every stream or pond in Hawaii. During mating season, the males turn black with red markings and defend little territories.)

Karate should be viewed as a whole. We are all Karate students, whether we practice Goju-Ryu, Shorin-Ryu, Shotokan, Kenpo, or whatever. Naming styles is a modern thing. There really should not be brands of Karate like there are for shoes or food.

Some people also find differences between races (and colors). But in times of emergency or natural disasters, such differences disappear -- we all become people. If you are hanging from a cliff, will you consider the skin color of the person rescuing you? I think not.

Just as there is only one human race, there is truly only one community of Karate, and of martial arts for that matter. We should be aware of our differences but equally aware of our similarities. Our differences make us interesting and our common roots make us one community.

I really like my particular style of Karate. Doing the very best that I can, I feel that I have begun to scratch its surface. I do not have the time or the talent to learn other styles of Karate. I would rather learn one style reasonably well, rather than several poorly. But that does not mean that I do not respect or am not interested in other styles.

When a person teaches Karate and preserves its history and traditions, he or she is helping all Karate students everywhere. Such a person deserves all our thanks.

I always say thank you to Karate teachers. Some people might think, "Who are you to thank Karate teachers? You are not the highest or the best." My response is that you don't have to be the Pope to say "God bless you!"

As Karate students, we should not act like tilapia.


Charles C. Goodin