Like most Karate Ka I have watched the Karate Kid films on a number of occasions over the years. Especially the first two movies which I really enjoy. Let’s be honest everyone loves Mr Miyagi… The affinity that we all have with him is not due to him showing off an impressive array of fancy flashy Karate techniques, far from it in fact. All is down to the wisdom of Mr Miyagi both in life and as a Sensei. The ever-wise words that he speaks are of course inspiring, but more than this, the way he conducts himself as a person is where his true value lies as a Sensei. On top of these traits, he not only has a great sense of humour, to the point of being loving and caring towards his student. But on the contrary, he can be very stern when it comes to his teachings and values too. The latter though being where many a modern-day Karate Ka would fail and fall at the hurdle. 

I tell you what Miyagi think! I think you dance around too much! I think you talk too much! I think you not concentrate enough! Lots of work to be done! Stand up! Now, ready. Concentrate. Focus power.

The above words from the clip in the first Karate Kid movie always makes me smile. Why, well Daniel San is getting well ahead of himself as a student, too big for his boots in-fact with an ego to match, so he receives a stern telling off from his Sensei… For me this defines a Sensei and Dojo of worth and the old school basis of teaching Karate, whereby there is no diplomacy, it is their Dojo their rules. Yes, there is still lots of elicitation of which Students are encouraged to work things out for themselves. However, there is no breaking of the Dojo rules or students feeling that one can do as they please, or act in any way that they so wish. I’ve actually had a few telling off from my Sensei’s over the years, which is to be expected. I say sorry, I reflect on things, look in the mirror then move on, it’s that simple. And I’m man enough to do that, anything less is just a sign of ones immaturity.

With a Sensei and Dojo of True Worth and Value, it is the Student who Needs the Sensei. But with the Contrary Value, it is the Sensei who Needs the Student…

I will leave you to think that simple Karate equation over for yourselves. 

Over the years I have seen many an adult Student leave a Dojo or move on from a Sensei for reasons like the above. A disagreement, failing a grading, a poor attitude, having a telling off, thinking that one knows best. Personally I always find it bewildering when students leave due to such reasons, especially so when they carry a bag full of lame excuses for anyone who is willing to listen or believe. When in truth, the Student should have stood up and moved on through what challenge was/is faced and in front of them, not back away. Isn’t this supposed to be an Art that is based off the codes and spirit of Bushido, or the Way of the Warrior!? 

Always remember that Karate is about destroying our ego, not building it up. And as a Student we have nothing that the Sensei of worth wants or needs. But most of all it is certainly not personal, it’s just about being corrected. As a Student of Karate understanding and value, we should see correction and being put right as a honour, and let those Students who are never corrected carry on along a wasted journey. As this is a process that has been tried, tested and used for decades by Sensei in both Japan, Okinawa and now afar.