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Training Since I Was Born

I have stated this before, but it deserves repeating.

I am 50. My friend and senior, Sensei Pat Nakata, has practiced Karate since I was born. Our friend and senior, Sensei Bobby Lowe, has practiced Karate since Nakata Sensei was born.

When we get together to practice or for lunch, I am always overwhelmed by this generational reality. When I was born, Nakata Sensei started learning Karate. When Nakata Sensei was born, Lowe Sensei started learning Karate.

How can I consider myself in the same breath as such seniors? Of course, I cannot! I am just happy and honored to be in the same room and restaurant! I am honored to be able to pour their tea.

Don't get me wrong. I do not worship my seniors. I respect them.

Nakata Sensei learned from Sensei Chosin Chibana. Lowe Sensei learned from Sensei Masutatsu Oyama. They have the greatest respect for their Sensei.

Through our exposure to our seniors, we learn how to be good Karate students and better people. They do not only teach us techniques and applications, they teach us how to be.

I am sure that you have your own seniors who have inspired and guided your Karate training. One day you will become the senior -- perhaps you already are.

Sometimes we are too focused on success. How is success in Karate measured? By rank, titles, awards, tournament victories, the number of students an instructor has?

As for me, I look to the maturity and wisdom of a Karate senior, to his contributions to the art, to the students he has raised and inspired, to the strength of his character, and to his ability.


Charles C. Goodin