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Fifty Years Old!

Last Monday, I turned 50. I have been preparing for this for about 10 years. My Sensei have told me, "Get into the best shape possible before you turn 50. It is natural that we decline physically as we age. But if you start from a higher point (by getting into the best shape possible), and keep training, the decline will be much more gradual."

I am in pretty good shape -- for me. That does not mean that I am as strong or fast as other people -- just that I am in pretty good shape for me.

My resolutions for training, upon this little landmark, are to train smarter. I want to better understand body mechanics so that I can move better and teach others how to do so as well. I am very fortunate, because my Sensei concentrates on body mechanics. He has taught me a great deal and is an excellent model for me to copy.

He is also 18 years older than me. I always say, "if he can do it, I should be able to do it too if I practice diligently."

He is not only a model for me of how to move, but of how to age. This is extremely important in Karate.

I mentioned not too long ago about Karate instructors who are like fruit that rots on the tree. This means that the instructor reaches an age when he stops training seriously and busies himself with other activities, such as business or politics. Soon, he can't do it. This especially happens to instructors who only learned how to move like a young man. A 50 year old cannot and should not move exactly like a 20 year old. In fact, a 50 year old should move better! And a 70 year old should move better still!

At 50, I feel that I am beginning my Karate training anew. My first 50 years were largely spent looking for something. Having found it, I now have to work on it!

There is another thing I have noticed at this age. When I was younger, I would try to accomplish things, whether in technique, research, writing, collecting historic materials, etc. Even though I would immediately forget about accomplishing something once I attained it, I would also immediately set about to accomplish something else. I still do this, to some extent.

But now I enjoy stepping back and applauding the accomplishments of my children (in my family), my students (in my dojo), and of my Karate friends. I enjoy the role of saying, "Great job! Keep at at!"

Earlier this year, I put my second son, Charles in charge of my dojo. It was the best thing I could have done! It has allowed me to teach better, while giving him the chance to learn about overall responsibility for a dojo and students. Teaching Karate is not about maintaining power, but about empowering others.

I am not targeting the age of 60. By that age, I would like to complete my work in establishing the Hawaii Karate Museum and its various collections. I then would like to turn that responsibility over to others.

And it is my sincere hope that I will one day be able to teach my grandchildren Karate -- both the boys and girls. By that time, I also hope to have improved so that I will be a better teacher for them.

50 down, 100 to go!


Charles C. Goodin