Karate Thoughts Blog

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Severe Testing

I was just thinking... could you imagine testing in the Cobra Kai Dojo depicted in the Karate Kid movies? Of course, that is a fictional dojo, but what a stressful and negative atmosphere that would be.

But then again, the Karate dojo on mainland Japan in the years leading up to World War II would have been many time worse. I have heard that they were severe and savage. Failure in a test would mean that you let your comrades down, that you failed the group. I have heard that students who wanted to leave a dojo would have to kumite all the seniors first, and some did not survive.

I would not want to have trained in either type dojo. Savagery begets savagery and violence begets violence. Fortunately, my own Sensei have been enlightened saints by comparison.

I just want the students in our dojo to try to make themselves the best they can be. My friend and senior, Sensei Pat Nakata, likes to say that I am a very nurturing Sensei. I think this is even more so now that I am a grandfather. I have found with my own four children that being strict has its place, but being encouraging and supportive works the best -- and to teach by example rather than by edit.


Charles C. Goodin