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Things You Do Not Want To Hear...

This is basically a joke, so please take it as such. Karate can be funny too.

Here are some things you do not want to hear when you perform a kata for an expert in your style:

  • Your gi looks very good
  • Your patch was sewn on very well
  • Your gi was very loud
  • You pronounced (shouted) the name of the kata very well
  • I like the way that you kiai
  • When you kiai, you really are not supposed to actually say "kiai"
  • I like the way that you bow (actually, that is a compliment)
  • Are you really supposed to slap your hands on your sides like that when you come to attention?
  • What kata was that?
  • You appear to be in very good shape
  • I have never seen a kata performed like that
  • You move from movement to movement too quickly
  • You have no feel for the kata
  • That was like an artificial flower, it looks like a flower but has no smell
  • What rank did you say you are?
  • Who is your Sensei?
  • Do you practice our style of Karate?
  • Are you OK? I thought that you were having convulsions.
  • You must have learned from a book because that kata has only 16 movements but you did it with 35 movements, the number of photos in the book
  • Do you have any idea what the movements in that kata mean?
  • The good news is that you can only improve after that
  • I am so glad that you are finished
  • I give you a 10... out of 100
  • I am literally speechless
  • Very pretty
Although this is basically a joke, I think that I have heard some of these comments in my life! Have you? And sometimes I wonder what people who observe kata are really thinking!

My Sensei here in Hawaii would sometimes try to do the kata like I had done it. It would be so frustrating for him to try to move incorrectly, but it was almost a little humerous to see him straining to do so. Actually, I found moving incorrectly to be very easy!

When I observe kata, I usually say, "Good, good, keep working on it." And when I first started learning from Sensei Katsuhiko Shinzato, he would almost throw a party every time I got a movement even 10% (maybe 5%) correct. He would say, "So, so, so!" and give a huge smile. He gave me so much encouragement!

If you are an instructor, it might be a good idea to avoid the comments on the list above. There are better ways to encourage students. And if you have to say one negative thing, try to say two postive things. My Sensei here in Hawaii, Sensei Rodney Shimabukuro, always said this, and he said that his Sensei, Sensei Tommy Morita, said the same thing too.

"Good, good, perhaps you can work on this..."


Charles C. Goodin