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Rice Plant Design

This is a follow-up to my post, Atama Wo Sageru.

The symbol of that post was the rice plant, which "bows" when the rice grains are mature. I was thinking about it and I remembered seeing old Karate patches that had the design of rice plants for this reason. Recently, I have not seen this. Perhaps the rice plant imagery was more meaningful to our elders.

Also, few of us living in the United States ever get to see rice plants. I don't think I have ever seen any here in Hawaii. But when I was a child growing up in Misawa Air Force Base, Japan, I remember seeing miles and miles of rice paddies (off base, of course). So for people living in that area, the imagery of the rice plant would be very meaningful.

"Atama Wo Sageru" reminds us that with maturity comes humility. My good friend and senior, Sensei Bobby Lowe, when describing an arrogant person sometimes says, "That guy has an I problem." When he says it, it sounds like he is saying "eye problem," but then he clarifies that the person is always talking about himself, "I, I, I".

As instructors, we should strive to set good examples for our students. If we are humble, they will learn that that is the way for seniors to be. But is we are egotistical, they will learn that too. We should always remember that we teach by our actions, not only our words.

Anyway, all this talk about rice has got me hungry for a musubi!


Charles C. Goodin