Karate Thoughts Blog

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I was in Army ROTC when I started college. One of the things that I remember very clearly was the definition of leadership we were taught at a class:

"Leadership is accomplishing the mission, and keeping the group together in the process."
I'm sure that there are many other definitions, but I would like to offer this one for discussion by Karate instructors.

It is not enough that we are skilled at Karate and skilled at teaching Karate. We must also consider the dynamics of the group. If we yell at or belittle our students, how will that help to keep the group together? If our mission is to teach, leadership requires that we also consider the group.

You could apply this to anything. In a game of tennis, you might feel good if you win. But if you act badly and belittle or argue your opponent, what chance is there that the two of you will want to play again? You might have won the game, but lost the group.

In some dojo, the Sensei is like a god -- what he says goes, period. This is not leadership at all. As soon as the Sensei dies or resigns, the group will probably fall apart, or a new dictator will emerge, purge the seniors, and act like a new god.

We have to accomplish the mission (however that may be defined), and keep the group together in the process.

The Sensei should be the example for his students. He should inspire his students more than he commands them. For me, I hate to be told what to do, and will resent it even if I comply. But when I am inspired, I will try my very best to move mountains.


Charles C. Goodin