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Potential

When a student joins our dojo, I always feel that he is full of potential.

But each student has a different and unique potential. Many factors affect how much of their potential each student will realize.

The first factor is pretty obvious. If a student quits after training for only a short time, he will certainly not have realized very much of his potential at all. Karate takes a long time to learn and a long time to refine. By a long time, I mean about 20 years to get to the point of being "pretty good" (or something like that). Certainly after 20 years a student will still have a long way to go. Refinement probably takes the rest of the student's life.

Some students have physical limitations. With determination, students can do remarkable things.

Some students begin training when they are already older. If it takes 20 years to become "pretty good", what does this mean to a student who begins training at 60? Can a student who begins training at 60 realize as much potential as a student who beings training at 11? Certainly the 11 year old can look forward to the possibility of more years of training.

Personally, I adjust my expectations based on the totality of each student. I measure "potential realization" on a case by case basis. I do not compare students, except that I am more impressed by how much of their own potential each student realizes, and by the obstacles that each student has had to overcome.

Over the years, I have had students with tremendous potential who have done nothing with it. I have also had students who were not very athletic but became skilled in Karate due to their hard work and determination.

In the long run, what counts is how a student can apply what he learns in Karate to his daily life. A student who can do that has realized something special indeed.

Did you notice that I have not spoken about "potential" and "potential realization" in terms of rank? That's right!

Respectfully,

Charles C. Goodin