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This is a story.

A visiting Sensei from Okinawa was observing advanced Karate students perform kata. After each finished his kata, the Sensei would make a few comments in Japanese or broken English. He was accompanied by a younger instructor from Okinawa who would translate his comments.

The last student to perform was the highest ranking in the dojo but was very egotistical. After he proudly competed his kata, the visiting Sensei said, "Nokuru."

All the student in the dojo, including the last one who had performed the kata looked at each other. None of them understood the word.

The translator whispered into the visiting Sensei's ear because he did not understand either.

The visiting Sensei repeated, "Nokuru." He then spoke to the translator in Japanese who nodded several times and then addressed the students.

"I'm sorry," began the translator. "I thought that Sensei was speaking in Japanese, but he was speaking in English. He say that this student (pointing to the advanced student), has 'No clue'. His kata is like an empty dance and has no meaning at all. No clue."

The visiting Sensei nodded in agreement and repeated, "Nokuru."

The moral of the story is: being egotistical often makes you blind to your own cluelessness.

We should study and practice Karate with a sense of humility. Then we can more easily identify and work on our faults.


Charles C. Goodin