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When I am asked about the most important thing in Karate, I always say restraint. As students, we try our best to learn the techniques of Karate and to condition our bodies so that we can move with speed and power. However, we also have to condition our minds and temperament.

A Karate student should be extremely reluctant to use the destructive techniques of the art, unless it is absolutely necessary. The feeling should always be "hold back, hold back, don't fight, don't fight."

Just as a police offer keeps his pistol in its holster, we should keep our hands held back (metaphorically in the pocket or sleeve). In the same way, a sword should be kept in its sheath (saya).

After restraint, I always add peace. Karate students should emphasize restraint and peace.

Now to some people I'm sure this may sound pretty weak! Restraint and peace may sound like the traits of a person who cannot fight at all. That may be true. However, it is also true of some people who can fight extremely well -- but are always trying their best to avoid having to do so.

Nuclear reactors can produce incredible power. Nuclear power stations are so large because it takes a great deal of concrete and steel to safely house the reactor. And even then there can be accidents. The more powerful (and potentially destructive) a Karate student becomes, the more restraint he or she needs.

A student with destructive power but lacking in restrain is an accident waiting to happen.


Charles C. Goodin

Remaining Calm

One of the most important aspects of Karate training, and martial arts in general, is cultivating the ability to remain calm. Sounds easy, but it is not. Being able to remain calm is one of the greatest skills.

When confronted with a violent situation, it is easy to become angry, enraged, filled with negativity. Some people might say that this energy can be channeled and harnessed to give you more power. But generally, getting angry is a waste of energy. Angry energy tends to be wild and unfocused. If the attacker can make you angry, he can control you (or at least try to do so).

Calm energy can be focused and controlled. A calm person does not quickly respond to taunts or insults. He is not easily tricked into a bad position.

I have seen people who grow wildly angry -- literally fuming from the eyes -- only to become a sobbing wreck just minutes later. One minute "strong", the next helpless.

Remaining calm is not only important when attacked. Actually, an attack is usually very quick. A fight can be over in seconds. There might not be time to become angry.

But in social situations, at work, at home... there are many opportunities to become angry. It is just as important for a Karate student to remain calm in these situations. Social conflict can lead to aggression. How the Karate student conducts himself in such situation tells a great deal about this Karate training and ability.

There is a saying that the mountain does not move. A calm person is like a mountain. An angry person is like a grasshopper bouncing from place to place -- a scurrying cockroach.

I have also noticed that a person who gets angry easily, also tends to lose control in an emergency. In a hurricane or earthquake, a calm person can focus on what needs to be done. A calm person can summon seemingly superhuman strength to save lives. A calm person sometimes becomes the ordinary person who becomes a hero by risking his or her life to save others.

You can't get angry at a hurricane or an earthquake. And if you do, how long can you maintain such intensity, before you feel drained and empty?

Karate students must learn to become calm.

When I was young, I found kumite to be exciting -- scary, challenging, thrilling. Over time, it felt like nothing. Whether I hit my partner or got hit did not make any difference. If I did "well" or "poorly", I felt the same. There was no winning or losing. It was just training. It was not a matter of honor or shame.

When a person throws a brick at you, you might get mad. But if a brick falls off a roof and almost hits you on the head, who will you get mad at -- gravity or the wind? You have to get out of the way in either case. In the case of an attacker, you have to prepare for the next attack. In the case of the roof, you have to get to a safe place in case there are more loose bricks.

The more skilled a Karate student becomes, the more he or she is able to remain calm. The reverse also tends to be true.

Think about the Karate seniors you know and have known. How would you rate their levels of anger and calmness? How would you rate your own?

Remember the old saying, "When you are angry, keep you hand back. When your hand goes out, do not be angry."


Charles C. Goodin

Guest Post: A Snowball's Chance

This Guest Post is by my friend, Mark Tankosich, who has dan rankings in both Sho-ha Shorin-ryu karate and Zen Nihon Kendo Renmei jodo. Along with the martial arts, his passions include the Japanese language. He currently lives and teaches in Hiroshima, Japan.

Mark is the author of Karate Ni Sente Nashi: What the Masters Had to Say and Japanese Ego Negation and the Achievement of Self, which are hosted at the Hawaii Karate Seinenkai website. He has also published English translations of Japanese Karate articles, including Practice Kata Correctly, by Kenwa Mabuni.

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A Snowball's Chance

I've mentioned before that, in addition to karate, I also practice an art called "jodo." Jodo, or "the way of the stick," is essentially about using a four-foot-long wooden pole to defend yourself against a sword-wielding opponent. In the dojo, of course, practice -- which is mostly two-person kata work -- is carried out against a wooden sword or bokken.

Very recently I was tested for a promotion in jodo, and, although I passed, I believe that I got something much more valuable than a new rank level from that test.

You see, the conditions that I took it under were not really what you would call "ideal." Let me see if I can quickly list them here: 1) The test was held only 2 days after my return from a two-and-a-half week stay in the US, so that when I took it I was severely jet-lagged, rather sleep-deprived, and lacking any real chance for serious practice with my partner; 2) My partner was someone that I hardly knew, and with whom I was able to practice only twice; 3) I was still recovering from a broken rib that I'd suffered in a scooter accident about a month before the test; 4) The test would include a written (in Japanese) portion consisting of 2 out of 4 possible essay questions; 5) Upon arriving at the test site, I learned that some of the techniques we'd be tested on might be different than what we'd originally been told; 6) One of the test judges was a man that I'd had a very, very serious run-in with several months earlier; 7) My foot got slightly injured when I was practicing the day before the test; and 8) For various reasons, we were made to sit around on the floor for a couple of hours before actually doing the test.

As I said, not really what you would call "ideal" conditions. And yet, somehow, I passed.

I'll be honest: During much of the 2 days leading up to the test, I had a real struggle going on inside my head. A big part of me would think, "Who cares how it turns out? There are just too many obstacles this time. I've got a snowball's chance in Saudi Arabia here. Just get the darn thing over with and forget about it!" But then, another part of me would say, "Yeah, I may not pass. There are lots of things in my way. But that's still no reason to just throw my hands up and surrender. I need to give it my best shot!"

In the end, it certainly was not one of my best jodo performances. But thanks to that test, I was able to re-confirm for myself an important truth: Just because all the odds are against you, it doesn't mean that you can't win.

Mark Tankosich

A Calamansi Tree

I have two calamansi trees in my backyard. Calamansi is a small citrus. It looks like a little orange, ranging in size from the diameter of a quarter, to about twice that size. It all depends on the rain, sun, etc.

Calamansi is a Tagalog word. In Ilocano, I think they say calamundin. My wife is Tagolog, so I am unsure about other dialects.

Anyway, the older tree has been in our yard for many years. It is pretty big. About 5 years ago, I planted a smaller calamansi tree on the other side of the backyard. For about 4 years, it did not grow very much at all and barely had any fruit. It was pretty weak looking.

Finally, I thought about digging it up, but I waited. Well, in the last year, that tree really grew. It is now thick, and produces great fruit. In fact, the calamansi it produces are bigger and juicier than the older, larger tree.

I'm glad that I gave it another year and did not dig it out!

What does this have to do with Karate? You might have some mature, skilled students in your dojo. They are like the bigger tree. You might also have some newer students who don't really seem to catch on. They are like the smaller tree.

You have to give students time, just like the smaller calamansi tree. You can never tell when they will "take". They could be weak for years and years, and then all of a sudden blossom. The could become better than the best student you have now.

When a instructor mentions to me that a student is doing poorly, I generally say, "Give him time."

You never know when a student will catch on -- but that will never happen if they leave the dojo and stop training.

By the way, calamasi goes great with fish!


Charles C. Goodin

About Conserving Energy

Halford Jones, a big supporter of the Hawaii Karate Museum, wrote to me about my post, Conserving Energy. Regarding compact florescent lights (CFL's), he mentioned that such lights do not produce much heat. Here in Hawaii, that is a good thing. We generally are trying to keep our houses cool. Yesterday, it was in the mid-80s here, and it is only April. But in cold regions, perhaps some heat is a good thing.

Halford also mentioned that he uses low wattage night lights in his home. That way, he does not have to turn on lights late at night. I have done the same thing. I use very low wattage LED lights. I think that all of them combined use less than a dollar's worth of electricity a year.

Of course, the best way to save electricity is to turn off lights when they are not needed. I often have to get on my kids for this. When they are not in their room, they should turn their lights off.

Halford did not seem to like my use of a wet/dry vac for cleaning up things in the yard and outside around the house. He prefers to use elbow grease. Don't get me wrong, so do I. Usually clean up manually. But once in a while this wet/dry vac seems good. For example, I sometimes used to clean my steps and garage by spraying them down with a hose. This wasted water. And when I used a broom, there were crevices I could reach. The vacuum works good in such instances.

But I realize that it uses a lot of electricity and will not overdo it. Perhaps they will come up with a solar powered vacuum.

Halford also mentioned about using solar lights. I am thinking about installing some solar security lights around my home.

Why try to save energy -- because it is a good thing to do.


Charles C. Goodin

Seeking Enlightenment

This is a story.

A senior Karate instructor visited his Sensei (a very wise person) and said, "Sensei, I have spent nearly my entire adult life seeking enlightenment and I feel that I am no closer today than I was when I started."

His Sensei replied, "That's right."

The student was a little shaken. He had expected a more encouraging answer, at least some sympathy. Is that all you have to say?" he asked his Sensei.

"No. I should add that your pursuit of enlightenment also explains why your Karate is mediocre. How can you expect to excel at Karate when you do not practice wholeheartedly? You practiced Karate to get something else. You need to simply practice Karate for Karate."

The student thought about his Sensei's words. "Do you mean that if I practice Karate wholeheartedly, I will become enlightened?" he asked.

"No, what I mean is that if you practice Karate wholeheartedly, you will become better at Karate."

The End.


Charles C. Goodin

Conserving Energy

I have done some things to conserve energy.

First, I made rain barrels to collect rain water at my house. I have four 55 gallon barrels that are connected to downspouts. My wife uses the rain water to water her orchids and ornamental plants.

Every time it rains, we collect water. In a year, I do not know how much water we save, but it is a lot. The PVC barrels were only $3 each at a bread store. I put screens over the top so that mosquitoes cannot get inside (we have never had even one).

If we have a natural disaster, we could also use the collected rain water for drinking (after boiling), washing, or flushing toilets. You never know when you could need water.

We also have a clean 55 gallon barrel for storing drinking water in the event of an emergency.

Second, we changed almost all the lights in our house to compact florescent lights (CFLs). They save a lot of electricity. The only lights we did not change are in the refrigerator, oven, and one light fixture that uses chandelier bulbs (the CFLs were not quite bright enough in that fixture).

Lastly, I sold my Lexus RX 300 (it was out of its extended warranty) and bought a Corolla S. The Corolla gets much better gas mileage and can use the cheapest gas. I usually drive around by myself, and did not need an SUV. I could have bought a smaller Lexus, but it would not have gotten as good gas mileage. For me, gas mileage mattered.

We should all try our best to conserve energy. By saving energy, we also save money. More importantly, it is good for the environment.

We should also try to conserve energy in our Karate training. Wasted energy does us no good. When we waste energy, we grow tired more quickly and give the attacker more movement to react to. In Judo, they say, "Maximum efficiency with minimum effort."

Conserve energy.


Charles C. Goodin

Wet/Dry Vac

I really like working in the yard and around the house. After all these years, I finally bought a wet/dry vacuum. The hose can be reversed so that it can also be used as a blower. Now I can vacuum up leaves in the yard and dirt on the steps and in the garage.

It is the best tool ever!

I can even vacuum up little leaves and debris in my ornamental rocks. If some rocks get sucked up, I can remove them when I empty the vacuum. I can even use the vacuum to remove sand and dirt from between the ornamental rocks (I made a filter for that).

What's the point? I want to keep my home clean, as clean as the dojo.


Charles C. Goodin

"Looks Good"

The other day I arrived at class a little early and, after sweeping the floor, started to use Windex to clean some dirty spots. As the students arrived, they went about their business. Not one offered to help.

After I finished, I went to put the Windex away. A young student sitting near that closet motioned to the floor and said, "Looks good."

"I said, "You shouldn't say that that the floor looks good -- you should have offered to help. If you saw your mom or dad doing work at home, you would offer to help, wouldn't you?"

That is the point. I did not need any help. I would have almost certainly declined if a student offered. But they should have offered. When they see their parents working, they should offer to help. That is the point. Learning to be helpful at Karate class only has value if it translates to the home, if it applies outside of the dojo. Otherwise, it is like a person who is "holy" only in church.

Don't just say that the floor "looks good." Offer to help. Better yet, just grab a rag and start cleaning the floor without saying anything at all.


Charles C. Goodin

"Practical" Karate

I was looking for Karate books online and came across a book with the word "Practical" in its title. That makes me wonder, what kind of Karate is not practical? Has Karate become so influenced by tournaments and commercial considerations that practicality has to be emphasized? This may seem like a ridiculous question, but I have spoken to seniors who feel exactly that way -- that because of tournaments, commercial considerations, and an emphasis on sport, practicality has to be emphasized and re-emphasized.

Goshinjitsu is a way of saying self-defense. It is practical. When goshinjitsu is emphasized, what does that mean? Isn't all Karate supposed to be goshinjitsu?

We must always keep the purpose of Karate in mind. When Karate become impractical and useless for self defense, then what good is it?


Charles C. Goodin

A Karate Student Should Not...

A Karate student should not...

try harder in the dojo than he does at work or school.

show more respect to his Sensei than he does to his parents.

clean the dojo but neglect his own home.

travel the world for training but not take his wife anywhere.

forget all the people who helped him to attain skill in Karate.

forget that Karate is practiced in daily life.

forget that what he does reflects on his Sensei, his dojo, and the art.

speak unkindly of other martial arts or martial artists.

forget that there is always more to learn.
If Karate training makes a student better at self defense only, it has value, but that value is limited. If Karate training makes him better at life, it has unlimited value.


Charles C. Goodin

Nice vs Tough

When I get new students, I am always very happy to find nice ones. Sometimes I find tough ones.

I always say that it is easier to make a nice student tough than it is to make a tough student nice. When a nice student learns Karate, you can be pretty sure that he or she will only use it for self-defense. With a tough student, you have to constantly emphasize restraint.


Charles C. Goodin

Were Students Better In The Past?

I was training with some seniors, when one asked another, "Were students better in the past?" I think that many people believe that the students "in the old days" were better than they are today.

My own view is that students in the past were more focused on Karate training. Today, youngsters do so many things. There is school, the internet, cellular phones, and so many extracurricular activities. Sometimes children come to Karate class after a long day of school, followed by music class, soccer, and just stopping long enough to grab a hamburger and fries. After Karate, it is home to do homework, check the internet, talk on the phone...

Of course, this does not describe everyone, but there is so much more to do today. Back in the "old days" there were not even many street lights in Okinawa. Okinawa back then must have made Hilo look like New York!

My friend grew up in Hilo. He fished, snorkled and practiced Judo. That was just about it. As you can imagine, he got pretty good at Judo.

A person can get pretty good at anything they try really hard at for a long time. If you practice Karate regularly for 10 years, you will get pretty good. Anyone should get pretty good. If they do not, something must be wrong. (I am not talking about a student who starts training at the age of 2.)

Students today are not better or worse than those of the past -- they are probably just busier.

OK, I thought of another thing. Students in the "old days" walked to and from class. Today all my young students are driven to class! No one walks anymore. And you have to remember that in Okinawa, most younger people would have been barefoot. This makes you appreciate tsumaski geri (tip of the toe kick). A student walking barefoot on rocky ground must have had really strong feet and toes.


Charles C. Goodin

Grabbing the Neck and Ear

When my good friend and senior Sensei Pat Nakata was learning from Sensei Chosin Chibana, Chibana Sensei mentioned that when the hands come together at the side, this means that you are controlling or throwing the attacker.

We call this a "clam" hand position in my dojo. The hands are in fists, stacked one on top of the other, at a right angle. You can see this, for example, when you turn to the front after completing the back sequence in Pinan Shodan. The left fist is stacked over the right, with the hands near the right hip.

Nakata Sensei was young when he learned from Chibana Sensei, and he wondered how you would throw the attacker if he was not wearing a gi. When he asked the question, Chibana Sensei, characteristically, asked him to throw a punch. When Nakata Sensei did so, Chibana Sensei grabbed him by the ear and the side of the neck and pulled him to his hip area while turning (like in Pinan Shodan). Nakata Sensei was twisted and helpless!

This is funny, because I think that all students, at one time or another, want to ask their Sensei a similar question. We all want to know how something works and what would happen if, for example, the attacker is not wearing a gi or sturdy clothing for grappling. We all want to ask, but generally learn to be careful about how we do it.

You have to remember that Nakata Sensei was young.

Well, when he told me this story, I was already in my 40s, and should have know better. When he got to the part of the story where he asked Chibaba Sensei the question, I said, "So what did he do?"

Nakata Sensei waved his hand a little and said, "punch."

I naturally complied and quickly found myself twisted and helpless with my head pinned to his hip -- just like Nakata Sensei had found himself over 40 years earlier! Nakata Sensei had grabbed the side of my neck and ear the same way Chibana Sensei had done.

It is funny when this happens to an 18 year old, and perhaps even funnier when it happens to a 40+ year old (me).

Actually, it is just a little funny. I felt very fortunate to learn this technique firsthand from Nakata Sensei, who had learned it firsthand from Chibana Sensei, who, I am pretty certain, learned it the same way from his own teacher, Anko Itosu.


Charles C. Goodin

Loud Koshi

We all go through phases, some long, some short. There are many phases to Karate training, especially for students who train for many years or decades or their whole life.

So here is my current phase -- I do not like showing koshi. That is ironic since I have spent considerable time and effort since 2002 specifically learning learning how to use and generate power with the koshi. The style I practice is known for this.

It is not that I do not use koshi, it is that I do not like to show it. I prefer to move in a way that looks more linear but is actually powered by the koshi. The koshi movement is small, and almost hidden inside the gi or flesh. Most people would not be able to see this. Of course, people who understand koshi could see it easily, even feel it. It is like the difference between a simple piece of metal and a magnet. They might look identical but are very different.

Making big koshi movement, to me, is like talking too loud. That is, TALKING TOO LOUD. BIG KOSHI IS LIKE WRITING LIKE THIS!

So why big koshi? In my Sensei's case, I am certain it is so that students can learn how to copy him. First, they have to be able to see his koshi. He must make his koshi big, exaggerated, so that the students can see it. Then they can start to copy it.

But I am sure that for my Sensei, showing big koshi must feel like going into a museum or church and SHOUTING! It must feel very uncomfortable.

If it is already uncomfortable for me, it must be incredibly so for him, and other advanced koshi people.

It takes big koshi movement to get to the point where you can start to reduce your movement (tighten the lines). When you get to the point where you can make small, internalized movements, you no longer want to move big. It is so loud, so busy, so unnecessary.

But it does help the other students.


Charles C. Goodin

Aim High

I like to emphasize this.

Aim high. What is within your grasp is good, but reach farther. Stretch out your hand! Stand on the tips of your toes! Get a box and stand on it!

Don't try to be better at something than the person sitting next to you. Don't try to be better than the best person in your class or group or school. Try to be better than the best person that ever lived.

What if Einstein only sought to surpass the person sitting next to him?

If you try to be better than the best person ever, and you fail, you might still end up being 10 times better than the best person in your class or group or school. You are not challenging the best person ever out of disrespect -- you are just challenging yourself!

Even Einstein, when he solved so many of the great riddles of the universe, did not stop. He continued to search for a unified theory for the rest of his life. He was not done. He was not content with fame. He was still reaching!

When you are reaching, life is always very interesting. When you settle for less, it can become pretty boring!

If I had a Karate student who said, "Sensei, I am going to try to become as skilled as you," I would reply, "Why are you aiming so low? Try to become the very best you can be!"

How many people can you say have become the very best that they could be? Think about it. Do you know anyone? Anyone at all? If you do, I'll bet that that person is still reaching, still striving, still growing. Otherwise, they are not the best that they could be now. Yesterday's level is not good enough. This is a new day, and tomorrow will be another new day.

Aim high! If you fall down, you might find a diamond! Get back up and keep going.

One of the great fortunes in my Karate life has been to be able to meet, and in some instances, to train with some truly great Karate Sensei. All are much better than me -- many times so. I am inspired by them and they give me good targets! They help me to realize what it means to aim high. They did. So can we!

Aim high! Don't settle. A determined person can accomplish anything. You can accomplish anything!


Charles C. Goodin

So Kuchi!

I was speaking to an older Japanese lady today. She was born on the Big Island and lived in a Japanese camp. The sugarcane plantation camps used to be segregated by race. There were Japanese camps, Okinawan camps, Filipino camps, etc.

She described a conversation she had with another lady who had apparently promised to do something but has never done so. So the older Japanese lady said, "She was so kuchi!"

"Kuchi" means "mouth" in Japanese. A person who just talks but does not do something is "so kuchi."

This reminded me of "kuchi bushi," a "mouth warrior" -- someone who only talks Karate. See: Okinawa's Bushi -- Karate Gentlemen.

But a person can be "kuchi" about anything. All talk and no action.

Hearing this very nice lady speak brought a smile to my face, and made me remember to always try my best to follow up my words with action.


Charles C. Goodin

Mario McKenna's YouTube Videos

I just noticed that Sensei Mario McKenna has uploaded many videos to YouTube. He writes the excellent Okinawa Karate & Kobudo Blog. Please see:

For students of Kishaba Juku, you will notice that Mario has uploaded some Matsubayashi-Ryu kata video. I recognize several of the instructors, many of whom have since gone off in their own directions. But the video seems to be from a pretty big demonstration. I don't know the year or location.

Watching Matsubayashi-Ryu kata performed by these instructors had an interesting effect on me -- it made my back hurt! My posture was very poor when I was a student of Matsubayashi-Ryu. As a result, I often had a sore back and neck. Now (knock on wood), I rarely have such problems, and if I do it is likely from lifting weights rather than Karate practice.

As you know, I do not refer to many online videos. However, McKenna Sensei is very reputable, and I think you might enjoy viewing his very interesting collection.


Charles C. Goodin

Tired From Training

Recently, I met a student who used to practice in a former dojo of mine (one where I also used to train). We had not seen each other for some time and she asked if I was still teaching. I answered that I was and she said, "Oh, that must make you tired."

I replied that on the contrary, training gives me energy.

Sure I get winded when I train hard, but it makes me stronger. The more I train, the more I can train, and the faster I can recover.

Training gives me more energy and more time. This is because being in good shape makes it easier for me to focus and work hard. I can get more done in the limited time I have in the day.

Sometimes it is hard to make time to go to class. There are always things to do. But I always feel good after training. I never regret it. It is good for me personally, and I also feel good teaching other students. I feel great when anyone learns something new, especially when a student does something they never thought they could do.

I still train because I enjoy it so much. It makes me healthier and sharper. This is especially important now that I am in my 50s.

I do not get tired by training -- I get tired when I don't train.


Charles C. Goodin

About Sensei's Sensei

In Sensei's Sensei..., I wrote about the situation in which there are multiple levels of Sensei in the same dojo or group. I suggested that it might be good to have terms like the ones used in some Chinese martial arts schools. There, the teachers are referred to in terms that are similar to family titles.

In Japanese dojo, titles tend to be hierarchical. We have titles like Sensei, Osensei, Soke, Hanshi, etc. These are not family based -- they are based on a vertical progression. Of course, the term Sensei applies across levels. A Hanshi will also be a Sensei.

My point was not that we need more hierarchical titles. I personally do not like them. I have written many times about my views concerning rank and titles.

When I say that it would be good to have a term that connotes that a person is the friend of the Sensei, and thus is like an "Uncle Sensei," I mean that this would be good because it shows the relationship. When students hear that a person is an "Uncle Sensei," they immediately know that they should show this person the same respect they show to their own Sensei.

A Grandfather Sensei would be the student's Sensei's Sensei. Naturally, a great deal of respect would be owed to such a Sensei.

But I am not suggesting that this would be the type of title that people would wear or get certificates for. It would be a title showing relationships.

Lacking such titles, we will have to be happy ambiguously calling everyone "Sensei." And, of course, Sensei is a title we should all work very hard to deserve.


Charles C. Goodin

Sensei's Sensei...

In our dojo, my second son is the Sensei. I am his Sensei. My Sensei (here in Hawaii) may return to the dojo later this year. I also have a Sensei in Okinawa.

So who is the "Sensei?"

In the dojo, the students call my son Sensei. They call me Sensei too, and would call my Sensei Sensei too. We are all "Sensei."

I think that it would be nice to have terms that showed the father, grandfather, greatgrandfather progression. In Chinese martial arts, this is sometimes shown by the terms sifu, sigung and sijo (as I understand it) . I do not think that there is such a geneology based system in Japanese martial arts.

You can also have uncles. My good friend and sensei, Sensei Pat Nakata, is a Sensei. I call him Sensei. But he is not my students' Sensei. He is like their uncle. He is the senior and friend of their Sensei.

Don't get me wrong. I don't like titles and am not suggesting that we need more. I just wish that there was a simple way to clarify the Sensei role when there are multiple generations in one dojo.

But then again, "Sensei" is an excellent term and a title we should all aspire to. To be a good Sensei is the most we can hope for.

When I am not sure of the correct title, I always try to call my seniors "Sensei."

Does this make sense?


Charles C. Goodin

Bench Press

Tonight I tried to set a new personal best in the bench press -- 205 pounds. I got the bar down to my chest fine! Thank goodness my second son Charles was there to spot me.

I will have to work up to that weight. But I am working on it.

When I hear about people benching 300 or even 400 pounds I just shake my head.

I always say that I may not be able to bench 400 pounds, but I could bench 100 pounds 4 times. Sometimes it is not how much you can lift once, but how much you can lift cumulatively. In Karate too, it is not about practicing well once, but about practicing regularly all the time.

Still, I would have liked to have hit 205! My third son weighs about the same as me (170) but can bench 245. It is really challenging to try to compete with my sons! Even though I almost always lose, I win!


Charles C. Goodin

Book Donations

I have just listed three new books that were donated to the Hawaii Karate Museum. Two were donated by a Karate Sensei and one was donated by the book author (he is also a Karate Sensei).

Please see: seinenkai.com and click on the What's New? link.

I cannot tell you how much we appreciate book donations. We make a point to name the donors of each book in our collection. If you review our collection (several hundred books), you will see that many have been donated. I am especially honored when authors sends us their new books. It is an honor for us to receive them.

I should let everyone know that we have recently acquired a Karate-Do Kyohan by Gichin Funakoshi. I appears to be a 1935 edition, and may actually be a first edition. We have our fingers crossed. The book is being sent from Japan.

From time to time, people adopt our books. We acquired this book with Museum funds. It was not donated. If you would like to have you name listed in our collection as "Acquired with a donation by 'Your Name'", please contact me. This is an expensive book, and such a listing would cost about $700. I realize that this is a lot, but this is also a very special book, especially if you are in Funakoshi Sensei's line of Karate.

Funakoshi Sensei wrote five books (that we know about). So far, our museum has acquired originals of three of these books. Of course, we are trying our best to acquire them all.

For all of you who have donated books to us, a heartfelt thank you. When you review our collection, you will see that we have some very well-known donors. We also have many donors, who may not be well-know, but deeply respect and support Karate, its history and traditions.

As for me, I am like a little ant. A little here and a little there, and the collection grows. I am a book ant.

Thank you very much again. I keep waiting for someone to donate Motobu Sensei's two books (originals). That would be something! I have not even seen originals of them. Perhaps before I turn 60!


Charles C. Goodin