Karate Thoughts Blog

Contents   /   Email  /   Atom  /   RSS  /  

1700+ Posts... and Counting

Beyond Style 8

My theme in this line of posts is that what matters most is who you learned from, what you learned -- and what you do with what you learned. That matters much more than the mere name of a style.

One of the things about styles is that one person is usually named as the founder and then there may be a line of instructors who succeed that founder. This makes it seem like the style owes its entire existence to the founder and his successors. This is a little bit like saying that American history is limited to its presidents alone.

It takes many people to make a style. Often, the founder is assisted by other seniors who might have trained with the same instructors as the founder. Often, other seniors, sometimes from other systems, also assist. Then there are the many students who become instructors over the years. Sometimes, the instructors are the ones doing most of the teaching.

If you are in the United States, the founder of your style, or his successor, might live in Okinawa or Japan. You might have never even met him!

Who did you learn from? I do not mean the head of the style, I mean your actual teachers. You probably learned from many people, even if only one signed your rank certificates.

I think about my Sensei and the many people who taught me over the years. I also think about their Sensei and theirs and theirs, all going back to the earliest Karate pioneers in Okinawa, and China before that. It is a great family of teachers.

Somehow this is lost, or at least not very well emphasized, when you define an art as a "style." There is more to Karate than the name of a style, a patch, a logo, signs, certificates, etc.

Remember who you learned from. Remember what you learned. And then ask yourself, what have you done with what you learned?


Charles C. Goodin