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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