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Look Good or Be Good?

I'm taking a short break from Pinan Yondan but will return to it soon.

This is a story.

A Karate Fairy Godmother appeared to a student and asked him:

"Would you like to look good at Karate or be good at Karate?

The student was about to answer, when the Karate Fairy Godmother added:

"There is a catch. If you pick 'look good at Karate', you will look good to the public but will not actually be good. If you pick 'be good at Karate', you will actually be good but the public will not think so."

This is actually a very interesting choice. How would be pick?

In my own experience, the better a Karate instructor is, the more difficult it is for the public to recognize his skill. And sometimes the greatest skill is intentionally hidden. Remember that many 10th dans learned from no-dans, who learned from unknown hermits. Who is more skilled, the 10th dans or the hermits?

I think that the proper answer to the Karate Fairy Godmother would be:

"Skill at Karate comes from training, not making wishes. And in any event, looking good is not the issue, being skilled is. So if you don't mind, I will just train."


Charles C. Goodin