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Chasing My Sensei

I have mentioned at least a few times that my Sensei in Okinawa is 18 years older than me, and that I will try to "chase" him -- to try to become as skilled as he is. I can imagine that some readers might think that this is an arrogant statement. I can understand this. In a way, it is an arrogant thing to say.

I do not believe that I will ever be as skilled as my Sensei. I could say that I will spend the rest of my life trying to be 1/2 as skilled as he is, but I don't think that he would like that. Why should a student aim low? I am sure that he would want me to become the very best that I can be.

A Sensei always hopes that his students will become more skilled than he is. A traditional student always hopes to learn just a small part of what his Sensei knows, and to become able to do a just a fraction of what his Sensei can do.

If you think about it, I should have an advantage because my Sensei can teach me what he knows. I do not have to grope in the dark. My own sons can easily do things as young men that I could only do in my 40s. They have a huge headstart because they have learned from me and also from my Sensei when he visited Hawaii.

A student should have a tremendous advantage.

Still, it seems to me that my Sensei is so far ahead. He is like a parent speaking slowly so that a little child can understand him. I am such a child.

Even when he moves in a way that seems so impressive to me, he has had to exaggerate his movement so that I can see it and begin to understand it.

I do not think that my Sensei is a god. If he were a god, I would have no chance. But since he is a human being, I should have a chance to catch him.

Of course, he is moving ahead too. He is not standing still. So I will always be running behind him... but I will be chasing him (in a respectful way).


Charles C. Goodin