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Dojo Guests

From time to time, we have visitors to our dojo from within the Kishaba Juku family. I always enjoy meeting other students. Usually, I try to teach them, to the best of my ability.

Initially, I try to get a feel for where they are in their training, what their strengths are, and what their weaknesses might be. Of course, we are all learning. I have weaknesses too. Perhaps that is a poor word. We all have areas where we need more work.

Usually, I will watch a student perform the Naihanchi Shodan kata. That is enough to get a good feel. You cannot fake Naihanchi. You can either do it, or you cannot it. It will reveal quite a lot about the student's strengths and weaknesses (areas that need work).

After that, I will usually work with the student using the Naihanchi Shodan kata. All students in Kishaba Juku know this kata, so it is a good choice.

The subject I will concentrate on will almost always be koshi. There is always work to be done on koshi. I also seem to have a simplified koshi pattern among Kishaba Juku instructors.

But... the point of this post is not about what I try to teach visitors. The point is what I do not get to teach.

In the rush to teach during a short visit, I have to concentrate on technical things. But if I had more time, I would spend just as much time and effort emphasizing two things:

  • That our effort in Karate has to be just as intense to avoid fighting and having to defend ourselves. We have to be careful, be aware, and defend only as a last resort. We have to do everything reasonably possible to avoid defending (not fighting). We do not initiate. And we try to avoid having to respond -- because the defensive techniques of Karate can be extremely destructive.
  • That our effort in Karate training is shallow if it is limited just to Karate. If the self discipline of Karate translates into our daily life, then Karate training is truly meaningful and useful. Being able to defend ourselves is good, but being a good person is even better.
Unfortunately, I am in such a hurry with visitors, and am so enthusiastic about trying my best to help them in a limited time, that these lessons are neglected. My regular students hear these types of lessons more often.

Visitors might get the impression that I am a body dynamics freak -- which is only partially true.

But I am comforted by the fact that our visitors will have certainly heard the above lessons or admonitions back in their home dojo. Kishaba Juku is not a commercial or political style. We emphasize traditional values -- and tend to be body dynamics freaks (in a good way).


Charles C. Goodin