of Kyokushin: Yuzo Goda
40 Years Have Flown By!
"Perseverance is Strength"
by Yuzo Goda/Executive
Advisor of the International Karate Organization
I first knocked on the doors of Oyama Dojo when I was 18 years of age. The reason was simple: like many young men I wanted to be physically strong to beat people up. And the reason why I chose Oyama Dojo was even simpler: it was the closest to my home and monthly tuition was cheap.
At the time, training was vigorous at the Oyama Dojo. Kihon and Ido would last one or two hours after which Kumite class would finally begin. It was difficult to keep standing up towards the end of one session. We would all be knocked out unconscious by Senpais who would never think to be gentle on a Kohai.
I was baptized by the Oyama way as soon as I walked in the doors. My first session was Kumite. After training I remember my body would feel like "Jell-O", not being able to walk straight. I remember clearly even now, having to limp and lean on gates and walls just to get home.
Because of such rigorous classes, the number of students who stayed on would dwindle with each day. Most people would quit within three days. This was understandable. You were paying a monthly tuition, to be completely beaten up and, had to thank those who did that to you on top of it. Completely ludicrous! Those who entered with me, left one after another. But oddly enough, I never once thought about quitting. I think that was because the world of martial arts suited my style and way of thinking. I was filled with eagerness about going to class three times a week and getting my black belt.
That dream came true my fourth year. The night I received my black belt and certificate from Sosai Oyama, I remember being overcome with such emotion, I felt my eyes welling up in tears.
I spent 36 years training under Sosai. This year marks my 40th year with Kyokushin. I have learned many things during this time, but my first lesson was this -- perseverance is strength. Compared to others, I am physically small. When I began, I was not necessarily gifted in the area of physical exercise, yet over the years, as I continued to train Karate, I was able to attain a certain level of physical endurance and stamina. Furthermore, I was able to develop a mind that would withstand life's critical moments. This, I am sure comes from the fact that I persevered and stuck to perfecting my Karate.
It takes a great deal of energy to continue on in one path without going astray. This is the case when it comes to physical training. but even more so when it comes to training your will and spirit. There are moments when you must overcome obstacles that stand in your way, when you just cannot seem to accomplish your goal. Or, perhaps you are distracted by some outside seduction. And before you know it, your desire for Karate begins to wane. Finally, you quit. In my position as an instructor, I have sen dozens of promising students who left the Dojo in this manner.
In other words, I feel that with the martial arts or with sports in general, physical talent is secondary, perhaps even superfluous. What moves the body is the mind and the heart. If you move your body without a strong spirit and will, you will only learn something that is weak and easily destructible. If you want to attain the proper techniques, you must first have a firm heart and the will to endure. To attain such a spirit you must first learn to persevere through rigorous training. Through this, you will attain a strong spirit, and the physical strenth will soon follow.
There are many Kyokushin students who have been discouraged and felt they just can't improve, or perhaps are unable to commute to a nearby Dojo. I ask these people, Please go back to your roots. Remember how you first felt when you began Karate. Don't give up, continue on with Kyokushin. If you do, your path will be wide open and rewarding and your problems will be solved.
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