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Happy New Year 2009!

Aloha from Hawaii!

Well, the New Year is almost here. This is a good time to rededicate ourselves to Karate training and refining our techniques and body dynamics.

Karate is not one style or system. Karate is all of us. Whether we practice Goju-Ryu, Shorin-Ryu, Kenpo, or Shotokan, we are all carrying on the art of Karate. From the youngest child to the oldest Sensei, each and every one of us is a thread in the great fabric of the art.

Karate does not exist in books or photographs. It only lives when we practice it. It is something to "do," not just think, talk, or read about.

Our dojo starts classes for the New Year on Monday. For my students, let's try our very best! And let's try to help our juniors too!

And most importantly, let's try our best to practice Karate in our daily lives -- to refine ourselves as well as our techniques.


Charles C. Goodin

The Sensei's Improvement

When you become a Sensei and perhaps even head your own dojo, it is easy to measure your progress in terms of the number of students you have, their tournament successes, magazine articles, television interviews, rank, titles, awards, etc. You can start to think in terms of the prosperity and progress of your dojo or school.

It is important, however, to remember your own progress as a Karate student. A Sensei is still a student.

The Sensei must also continue to work on himself, his kata, techniques, body dynamics, etc. Age is relentless. As the decades march on, our speed and strength decline. Unless we constantly refine and improve our techniques, we will fall behind the younger and stronger students. But if we are creative and determined, we can find ways to generate more power and speed using less effort.

It is ironic: age hurts us but forces us to discover the real gems of Karate.

If we do not work on ourselves, there is a risk that we will start to think in terms of the success of our dojo and students. This is important too, but without our own progress and improvement, we will eventually become dojo administrators rather than practicing Sensei.

The best Sensei I have met are the most demanding of themselves, and they train regularly (not just teach). They are working hard to refine their Karate, to make it the very best possible.

A Sensei is a student too, and must constantly seek improvement, even while running the dojo and teaching the students.

How much have you improved this year? How much will you improve next year?


Charles C. Goodin

Why So Quiet?

Some kind people have emailed or called to ask why I have been so quiet lately.

There are two main reasons. I have been catching up on things around the house and yard after our Hawaii Karate Museum book donation. I was actually a couple of years behind on some chores and projects.

Second, my eldest son, Chris, bought the house next to ours and moved in last month. I have also been helping him with his yard (restructuring it). It is so good to have our son and daughter-in-law right next door!

So I have been very busy, but in good ways.

Thank you very much for your concern.


Charles C. Goodin

Happy Holidays 2008!

Back row: Charles (2nd son), Cael (3rd son), Michele (daughter-in-law), Chris (1st son)
Front row: Natasja (daughter), Nayna (wife), Charles (me), Tomoe (mother)

Here is a letter I sent to some of my Karate friends:

This was a very eventful year for the Hawaii Karate Museum. After over 10 years of actively collecting and receiving rare and historic Karate books and journals, we donated the entire collection to the University of Hawaii. The collection, consisting of over 1,000 books and 1,000 journals, will be housed at the Hamilton Library and will be known as “The Hawaii Karate Museum Collection.” The rarest books will be in closed shelves, meaning they can only be accessed in a controlled room with proper identification. However, the majority of the collection will circulate. It will even be accessible to other universities and libraries in the US and worldwide. This was done in connection with the opening of the Center for Okinawa Studies at the University. Karate is a cultural asset of Okinawa.

Because of this donation, the collection will have a perpetual life. I feel that this best respects the contributions of the many Karate Sensei, students, enthusiasts, and their families who donated their priceless treasures to our museum.

We continue to maintain our artifact and photograph collections, and to pursue our research about Karate in Hawaii.

This year, a fantastic encyclopedia on Okinawan Karate and Kobudo was published in Japan. My Sensei is Okinawa, Sensei Katsuhiko Shinzato, was one of the three primary authors. Earlier this month, the Okinawa Times recognized the encyclopedia as the best book on Okinawan culture in 2008 and granted it the Okinawa Times Syuppan Bunka Sho award. Thanks to Shinzato Sensei, some historic Karate photos from Hawaii were included in the encyclopedia and I was able to contribute information about Hawaii’s early Karate pioneers.

My publishing efforts this year have focused on my good friend and senior, Sensei Pat Nakata. A multipart interview of Nakata Sensei by Graham Noble and myself appeared in Classical Fighting Arts. With Nakata Sensei and Mr. Clarence Tatekawa’s help, we also published articles and photo sequences of Sensei Chosin Chibana (Nakata Sensei’s instructor in Okinawa).

This has also been a sad year with the passing of Mrs. June Arakawa, Sensei Shozen Sunabe, and Mr. Tomotsu Teruya, among others. Mrs. Arakawa helped me and the Hawaii Karate Museum in more ways than I can possibly list. She told me who to go visit, and with her referral, people were willing to talk to me. Mr. Teruya was born in Hilo and told me about the first generation Karate instructors there, including his own, Sensei Seiichi Urasaki. Another was Mr. Sunabe, whose son lived on Oahu. I was able to locate Mr. Sunabe’s son, Shozen, and found out that he trained for 12 years with Chotoku Kyan, a leading prewar Sensei in Okinawa.

Each year, the elder Sensei, and even their own children are passing away. This is why it is so important to collect and preserve the old Karate photographs, books, weapons, articles, and stories. After her passing, the sons of Mrs. Arakawa were very kind to donate their entire collection of Karate photos and artifacts to the museum. Sensei Mitsugi Kobayashi (Higa Seko Goju-Ryu), who had already donated his book collection, also donated his photo collection this year. Many other kind people also donated books and photos.

Karate is practiced in daily life, not only in the dojo. As we refine our techniques, we also refine our character. This makes Karate meaningful.

Thank you very much for helping us with our efforts. If you have any books, photos, or other items you would like to donate (even in the poorest condition), please contact me.


Charles C. Goodin

Hawaii Karate Museum
98-211 Pali Momi Street #640
Aiea, Hawaii 96701

Tel: 488-5773
Email: goodin@hawaii.rr.com