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Soke Detector

By profession, I am a real estate attorney. I prepare documents to convey real property from one person to another. So I spend a lot of time reviewing real estate contracts. Because of the nature of my work, I am always reading and also looking for errors.

One term found in the Purchase Contract generally used here in Hawaii is "smoke detector". If a property includes smoke detectors, this item would be checked. But I recently realized that with the deletion of a single letter, this term would become "soke detector."

"Soke detector?" That got me thinking. How many soke, hanshi, and/or 10th dan of Karate are there in the world? Of course, some people could have one or more of these titles.

I honestly don't know the answer to this question, but I would bet that there are quite a few. Perhaps 20 to 30? Even more? 100?

Now how many soke, hanshi, and/or 10th dan of Judo and Kendo are there in the world? While I believe there are several hanshi, I do not believe there are any living 10th dan. I think that they stopped giving that rank. And I do not think they generally use the soke term either.

So why has Karate garnished so many high titles and ranks? And I have only scratched the surface on titles. There are so many... and countless variations and combinations. And each organizations seems to be free to bestow their own brand of honors.

Well, so far there is no N0bel Prize for Karate. Hawaii did well this year with the peace prize. Perhaps one day we could win the Karate award too!

In my book, the highest and most esteemed title in Karate, one we should all work very hard all our lives to deserve, is "Sensei."

It is funny how the first five letters of this Japanese word spell "sense" in English.


Charles C. Goodin