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Keeping It Real

Today I left work before lunch time to meet a representative of the primary financial sponsor of our exhibit, Karate: From Okinawa to Hawaii. I was grateful to the sponsor, and wanted to personally show the exhibit to its representative.

As we began the tour, just after the first few photographs, a visitor to the exhibit walked up and started to explain to me that Karate might be a good exercise, but is not a good form of self-defense. Karate students simply do not know how to use the movements. For real self defense, he suggested that I learn Shaolin Kung Fu, which is 2,000 years old. Fortunately, the representative was speaking to a university staff member at the time and did not hear the visitor.

So what did I do?

I found myself sounding just like my Sensei, and said, "Oh really?" (with an innocent intonation rather than a sarcastic one).

The visitor wandered off and I was able to successfully continue the tour.

But the visitor gave me a reality check. Here we were at a historic Karate exhibit -- a truly beautiful presentation of many one-of-a-kind treasures, and this man could only say that Karate is not effective. I'm sure that he did not know that I created the exhibit, or that I am a Karate student/instructor. He was just speaking his mind, which I respect.

But the main issue, to me, was doing a good job of showing the exhibit to the representative of the sponsor. I could not let the visitor distract or irritate me. Actually, it was sort of amusing... like when someone asks how many years you've practiced Karate, and when you say 30+ years, they then ask, "so are you a black belt?" When I hear this, I want to say, "I would hope so!"

It was an interesting day.


Charles C. Goodin