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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