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Frustration

Learning can be frustrating. Frankly, it usually is.

I have almost always been frustrated from the time I started learning Karate over 30 years ago. I always want to do my best, and I always feel that I am not doing it. At first, there is so much to learn. But over the years, as you learn more and more of the curriculum, there is so much room for improvement. It is not a question of simply knowing a certain number of kata or techniques -- it is being able to do them properly. And even then -- when you can do some things somewhat properly -- there is room for refinement.

At all phases, there is room for more, room for improvement, room for refinement... room.

So it can be frustrating. I realize that this word has negative connotations. Perhaps a better word is "challenging." Karate training can be very challenging.

If you feel frustrated or challenged, that is a good thing. If you don't, if you are simply content with your Karate training, that is probably not a good thing.

I have never met an extraordinary Karate sensei who was content with his ability. In fact, such sensei are usually the most demanding of themselves, the most challenged by their Karate training.

If you are trying to get to 10, 9 feels pretty good. But if you are trying to get to 1,000, 9 is really frustrating! And if you are trying to progress beyond numerical measurement, then...

I am not saying that we should feel good, great, or extraordinary. Who can say if this is true, and who knows is they are right? But we can say that our effort is good, great, or extraordinary. We can try to try harder than anyone else.

Actually, Karate does not challenge us, we have to challenge ourselves. A little frustration can be a good thing.

Respectfully,

Charles C. Goodin