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One Of Six

Sensei Mitsugi Kobayashi told me that when he went for his first meeting with Sensei Seko Higa, there were five other prospective students. They all started training together. One by one, however, the other students quit, leaving Kobayashi alone to train with Higa Sensei.

When I first heard this, I thought it was pretty amazing. Out of six students, only one remained?

But then I realized that for every Sensei, there may be dozens, even hundreds of students who started training but quit. For very senior Sensei, there could have been thousands of students!

Those of us who teach Karate, at whatever level, are the ones who did not quit, who stuck it out. In my case, I am certain that I was not the most talented, intelligent, or physically gifted student. Certainly not! I might just have been the most determined or even obsessed student, and also was lucky enough to have a family and lifestyle that allowed me to continue to train.

My dojo is small. We usually have only about twenty-five students and not all attend every class. But those students include several yudansha. When I see them, I do not just see one yudansha, I also see all the students who had trained but quit. Each yudansha represents so many students! When we have ten students and four or five yudansha at class, the dojo seems positively crowded!

Think back to when you started learning Karate and all the students who have come and gone since then. Ten? Fifty? A hundred? A thousand?



Charles C. Goodin