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Reinstating Itosu Sensei

This is a story.

A magical time machine was found in a Karate dojo and presto, out stepped Itosu Sensei who had been transported to the present. Also by magic, he spoke perfect English. Realizing he was in a dojo, he was curious to see how the art had developed.

But before he could go inside to watch an ongoing class, the dojo manager stopped him. "Are you interesting in learning Karate?" he asked.

"Why of course," said Itosu.

"Are you a new student or returning?"

"I guess I would be returning. I trained a long time ago."

"Well," said the dojo manager, "we have this policy for returning students."

"Oh, what is it?" asked Itosu.

"You have to pay monthly dues and dan promotion fees and annual certification fees from when you stopped training until the present. What rank were you?"

"I did not have a rank," replied Itosu, "but it seems that most of my students and even theirs have become 10th degree black belts."

"Fine," said the dojo manager, "we will say that you are a ten dan." "When did you train last?"

"That would have been in 1915," answered Itosu.

"1915! Well this is certainly my day. To reinstate you at your dan ranking, with the back tuition, back promotion fees, back annual certification fees, title fees, and of course back interest and late fees computed to 1915, that will be 10 million dollars!"

"10 million dollars just to watch your dojo?" asked Itosu.

"Fair is fair," explained the dojo manager, "we just can't have returning students pop up or come in from other organizations. We have to maintain the quality of Karate."

"Is that what you're doing?" asked Itosu. "Karate certainly has changed."

"Oh," said the dojo manager, "how much did you charge in your time?"

"Nothing at all. Students paid by their hard work and dedication over their entire lifetimes. I only had a few students."

"Well you see," said the dojo manager, "we are professionals now." "I have an MBA! Oh, and don't forget that you'll need to purchase a gi from our dojo store and the appropriate patches. A red belt will have to be special ordered. Don't worry, we get a quantity discount on those. But the embroidery will cost you extra."

With that Itosu Sensei stepped back into the time machine and returned home to Okinawa. And the dojo manager went back to work.

The end. Lucky that this is just make believe.


Charles C. Goodin