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Karate -- A Minority Art, Part 3

I wanted to add something about height. I am 5 feet, 8 inches tall (actually a little less, but I will round up).

I think that I am taller than all of the Japanese and Okinawan teachers I have ever had, going back to when I started Judo at the age of 7 in Japan. I am certainly taller than my two Shorin-Ryu Sensei (although they look taller to me when we practice -- isn't that funny!).

When I have gone to Las Vegas with my wife, I think that I was shorter than many of the children there. I have a Karate friend in Belleville, Illinois (Jim Alexander). I think that he is 6 feet, 4 inches tall. I look like a child standing next to him!

My point is that even if Okinawans were somewhat shorter than Japanese (particularly before World War II), Japanese were generally shorter than people in America.

So why should short people discriminate against shorter people? The bigger question is why any people should discriminate against any other people. And yet, it has happened and continues to happen in the world.

I am taking pains to describe this to properly set the background for discussing Karate as a minority art in mainland Japan. Please bear with me.

I would like to add another point. Height does not matter in Karate. Believe me. When you face a very skilled Karate expert, you do not think "well, I am taller than him." And he is not concerned with your height. Karate is a height equalizer. In fact, a taller person has more to hit.

Of course, a taller person might have a longer reach. That is a consideration. And a more skilled taller person should defeat a less skilled shorter person. But a skilled short person is a real danger. That is one of the appeals of Karate -- that it is not size dependent.


Charles C. Goodin