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Not Ready -- No Excuse

My daughter also practices Karate, so periodically I attack her -- like any good Karate father would do. I have done this since she was a little girl (she is now 17).

The other day I threw a punch toward her head and she missed the block (I did not hit her). She said, "No fair, I wasn't ready."

Thus, this lesson.

In Karate, you can never say, "I was not ready." It is never a good excuse.

In Karate, we have to be ready all the time -- all the time. We not only have to be ready, we have to be able to see ahead, to avoid problems. If you see a person lurking in the shadows up ahead, you probably should cross the street. But if you do not see the person, you will continue walking right up to him. And then it might be too late.

Karate is 70% awareness and 30% preparation... something like that. Training is good. Training is important. However, if you are hit in the head by a brick, what technique will you be able to use? All the training and skill in the world might not help at that point. But if you can react before the hit, you then might have a chance to use your Karate techniques.

Not being ready is no excuse. We have to be ready. We have to be aware of everything happening around us.

We also have to be aware of other people in other contexts. How do our actions affect others? Are we being considerate of the people around us? Sometimes an unkind word can hurt just as much as a punch (of course, in a different way).

When I used to practice Aikido, Sensei Sadao Yoshioka used to speak about a sixth sense. Awareness was an essential aspect of Aikido training. It is an essential aspect of Karate training too.

And don't worry, I have never hurt my daughter.


Charles C. Goodin

Demonstration Error -- No Big Deal

On Saturday, our dojo took part in the One Year Memorial Demonstration for Robert "Snaggy" Inouye held at the Hawaii Kotohira Jinsha. Our dojo performed Wankan, Rohai, and Sakugawa Nu Kun. See the program.

During the Wankan kata, one of our students made a wrong turn near the end of the kata. She corrected immediately.

During demonstrations, some instructors make a big deal about errors. I don't. I think they (errors) are funny. A kata is just a kata. In self-defense, conditions are constantly changing.

I always say that it is better to turn well in the wrong direction than to turn poorly in the right direction. It is quality of the movement that counts.

I told the student that if she was asked about the turn, she should say that the attacker moved and she had to adjust.

I have also noticed that with our body dynamics, it is really hard for us to do kata together, at the same time. We all move a little (or a lot) differently. It looks fine when one person demonstrates. But when two or more perform, I can notice the differences.

The demonstration was a real pleasure and a great way to remember Snaggy. The people we train with, in our dojo and others, become our family. In recent years, I have attended a funeral for a well-known Sensei, two funerals for Sensei almost no one knew about, two wives of Sensei, the husband of a Sensei, a student of a Sensei (that was Snaggy), and the son of a Sensei. It seems that many of us get together at funerals. This is because Karate is such an important part of our lives, and our fellow students and instructors become part of our families.


Charles C. Goodin

Gay Karate Students

I would like to set forth my policy about gay students who might like to join our dojo. Remember that Karate is an art that is several hundreds of years old and represents very traditional values.

My policy is to welcome all students who would like to sincerely study the art. Gay students are welcome. Sexual orientation is not something I would consider at all. I wouldn't "ask" and I wouldn't mind at all if the student were to "tell."

The main thing to me is that the student tries hard and is nice. I am worried about students who might be violent. I dislike lazy students. I like students who enjoy being in the dojo and training. None of this has anything to do with being gay or straight.

Our dojo is like a family. In fact, my wife and children are members of the dojo. Our students are part of our dojo family... all of our students.

Hawaii is known as the land of Aloha. We are a very culturally diverse place and we accept people with a lei and a hug.

There are state and federal laws that prohibit discrimination based on a number of factors. Even if there were no laws that guaranteed or required equal treatment of gay students, I would not discriminate.

Karate is a peaceful art of self-defense. We believe that life is precious and should be preserved. We are even reluctant to harm an attacker unless it is the last resort.

Gay or straight is not the issue for me -- being a good student is.


Charles C. Goodin