After one of our recent daily training sessions in Okinawa, one of the students mentioned that they had never been taught a Ryusyokai Dojo training drill in this particular way before by Senaha Sensei. This despite having trained under Sensei on many occasions. He wrongly perceived that he already knew the training drill in question quite well. My reply was simple and to the point “Senaha Sensei will only teach you more when you are ready, and you were not ready before”.

The thing with Karate is this… And it’s something that many Karate Ka fail to grasp or understand. You can only move forward or advance when you are ready both physically and mentally. There is no skipping of this simple process regardless of years of training behind you or grade held, you are either ready or you are not. Many Karate Ka believe that because they are a Dan grade they can go straight on to practicing advanced teachings without fully understanding the basis of the Art. Sorry, but it doesn’t work like that. And I’m not talking about learning a new Kata here either. You cannot go from A to Z in the alphabet and skip all of the other important letters out and put together words, can you? No! Well don’t think that you can do the same with Karate. You can only advance when you are ready! And always remember this. Lack of regular training and a having a closed mind are the biggest setbacks of Karate Ka, and generally this trait is within Dan grades.

A lot of the older Karate Sensei will teach in layers. So, you need to slowly move forwards one step at a time, one day at time. And as a serious Karate Ka you must always practice what you have been previously taught regularly, be both patient and sincere towards your Sensei. Or why would he teach you more…

I remember my first meeting with Senaha Sensei, a couple of decades ago now. After sincere requests and introductions I proceeded to attend a few initial training sessions at his Dojo in Tomishiro, Okinawa. About a week in and after one of the training session, Sensei spoke a few words to me which were wise and to the point. “Jones San, if you wish to come along to train at my Dojo in Okinawa and do the Karate that you do, this is fine. Or do you wish for me to teach you”?  Of which my answer is now clear to see.

There are many Karate Ka who would or do get very little at all from the experience of training in Japan or Okinawa. Generally, because they already feel that they know more or better when it comes to Karate. If only they would open their minds, then they would realise how much more there is to experience, discover and explore from this wonderful Art…