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Errors -- Like Nuts

I am a real estate attorney. As such, I regularly review documents. I am even on a committee that prepares forms used by real estate professionals here in Hawaii. In short, I do a lot of very technical proofing.

One of the unspoken rules of proofing is this: if you find an error, look for the others. The fact that there was one error indicates a lack of care that suggests that there might be other errors.

I also do a lot of yard work. I am pretty skilled a weeding. A similar rule applies: if you find one weed, look for the others. If there is one weed, there will surely be others. And if you are sitting on the grass picking weeds, don't forget to look where you were sitting!

So how does this apply to Karate? When I see an error in an Karate student, it makes me look for other errors. One error suggests that there may be others. An error rarely occurs alone.

There is a weed that we call "nutgrass" here in Hawaii. I think it is actually called nutsedge. When you find it in the grass, you will just see a green shoot, possibly with a few leaves. It looks easy to pick. But actually, that shoot is just the top of the weed. It is connected to a nut in the soil, and that nut is connected to others. Picking the shoot doesn't do any good. You have to kill the nuts. The way you do this is to use the shoot as a delivery device for poison. Through the shoot you can poison the nuts.

Technical errors in Karate are a lot like nut grass. You only see the shoots, but there are nuts beneath the surface. You could correct errors all day, but it won't do any good unless you get the nuts.

You have to get the nuts.

There is another thing about errors. An error in one area can also indicate errors in others. In particular, if I find a student who does not properly observe courtesy, it makes me question his technique (and other aspects of his training). On the other had, if I find a student who properly observes courtesy, I will suspect that his technique (and other aspects of his training) will be just a good.

When I find an advanced student or instructor who is out of shape, I wonder about his training. If he trained well, would be be out of shape?

Like I said, you have to get the nuts. The errors you see are usually just on the surface. You have to dig down to get the nuts. Otherwise, the weeds just spread.

When a student makes an error, you have to ask yourself, "Why is he making this error?" Does he raise his shoulders because he thinks that is a good way to generate power? If so, it would be best to show him how to generate power with his core, rather than just yelling "Lower your shoulders." Even if he lowers his shoulders, this will not help him to properly understand power generation, unless you teach him.

Dig beneath the surface for the source of the problem. If you can get to the source, you can solve all the problems arising from it.


Charles C. Goodin