Karate Thoughts Blog

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Karate in the Olympics?

I am sometimes asked if I think that Karate should be an Olympic sport.  This is just my personal opinion -- no.

I love watching the Olympics.  I actually am watching it right now.  I admire the athletes, their coaches, and their dedicated families.  Of course, I cheer for my country, but I think that the Olympic spirit transcends national borders.

But... to me Karate is not a sport.  It is not something where one person can beat or do better than another.  Karate is about self-defense, about an unexpected attack.  It is not a contest.  It is not a performance art.  It is not a political thing.  It is not a business.  It is not about rank, titles, trophies, or even medals.  It is not even about a pat on the back

In the process of training in Karate, the character is developed.  There has to be training, then there can be character development.  Through the mind's control of the body, through sweat and dedicated effort the character is forged.  They don't give medals for that, but maybe they should.

I am still holding out hope that someone will win the Nobel Peace Prize for work in Karate.  That would be something!

I respect that there are people who think that Karate should be in the Olympics.  I just happen to have a different view.

I was speaking to my friend and senior Sensei Pat Nakata. I said something like "it is too bad that when we finally start to understand Karate, we are already getting older and weaker."  He replied that a Karate man's prime is in his 70's.  I agree with that.

But any any age, Karate is based on training.  To some extent, anything other than training is just a distraction -- even my research and museum work.  My Sensei here in Hawaii, Sensei Rodney Shimabukuro, has always told me that my training must keep up with my research.  I must never be just a "book" or "mouth" Karate student.  Training must come first.  Then other things such as research are OK.

Good luck to all the athletes in the Olympics.  Since I am old enough to be the father of most of them, I would also say, "Keep safe."


Charles C. Goodin