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"I Trouble"

I was a friend of Shihan Bobby Lowe, who recently passed away. I was not his student and was a member of his "lunch buddies." Even though I was 30 years his junior and his junior in Karate by just as much (or more), I got to speak with him on a comfortable level, because he respected that even though I was a junior, I was the Sensei of my own dojo. Sensei tend to treat other Sensei as equals. At lunch, we all addressed each other as "Sensei," which could sometimes get a little confusing. I was also a member of the Hawaii Karate Kodanshakai and Hawaii Karate Kenkyukai with Lowe Sensei.

I am explaining this as background. I got to speak freely with Lowe Sensei, even though I was his junior.

In all my conversations with Lowe Sensei, I never heard him speak negatively about another Karate instructor or student. Never. He said good things about people, but never anything bad.

I'm sure that he met all kinds of Karate people, some good, some bad. But if he had a negative impression, he kept it to himself.

The only thing he ever said was that a certain person had "an eye problem." At least that is what I heard. So I inquired about this person's eye.

Then Lowe Sensei explained, "that person is always talking about I, I, I. He has an 'I' problem."

Lowe Sensei was funny like that. But his comment was very to the point. The lesson: don't be egotistical.

In his last years and months, Lowe Sensei would often call me to ask about the health of other Sensei. He would also always ask about my wife, who had suffered from breast cancer in 2007. He always thought about other people, even when his own health was failing.

Lowe Sensei was one of the most senior post World War II Karate Sensei in Hawaii. He was a great supporter of the Hawaii Karate Museum, and a mentor and example to young instructors such as myself. We both also liked tapioca pudding, which I'd get for him at buffets.

I will certainly miss Lowe Sensei... and continue to learn from his life and example.

I'm sure that there is lots of tapioca pudding in heaven.


Charles C. Goodin