Thought For The Week

Thought for the Week (Feb 2nd, 2003)

From Sensei Dale Adamson, San Dan

Mohawk Valley Karate Club, Little Falls, N.Y.


Onagaishimasu Hanshi.

Itis on a sad note that I have the honor of writing the TFTW. Once at Hanshi Scaglione’s class, Hanshi stress the goal to reach for perfection. Hit the target and don’t stop until the goal is reached. When breaking boards or blocks, the target is on the other side, i.e. the floor. We all understand that no one is perfect, but we can still set that as goal.

While teaching a class, Hanshi once said fight your own fight, don’t fight your opponent’s fight, i.e. if you as a karateka needed to defend yourself against a boxer, you should not fight as a boxer, but fight as you have trained for many years as a karateka. Hanshi would say, “If you miss your target, hit again and again until the target is disabled or until you can’t fight any more.”

I have two situations that I have seen where these thoughts are demonstrated.

Seven young men and women died on 2-1-03 when the space shuttle Columbia disintegrated while returning to Earth. All total, 17 astronauts have died in the efforts to advance science and mankind. There have been 144 NASA missions and only 3 accidents. They knew fear and they controlled it with understanding and courage that they had learned through years of training and sacrifice.Their lives as scientist and adventurers ended, doing what they wanted to do, reaching for perfection.

The other is more closer to our every day lives. I have watch with great interest a local JV basketball team. I used to think that these boys practiced several hours a day in order win a game. I would watch them play their games and each time their teamwork was better. They won most of their games. One game however comes to mind. It was particularly close in score, the teams were equally matched. At halftime, I stopped one of the players and asked him what was wrong. He was upset with some of his teammates and especially his own playing. He told me “I need to play smart”. I was then reminded of the teaching of Hanshi, and I reminded him. I said yes, “you need to play smart, but you need to play your game, your style, not your opponent’s style. You can win if you stay focused on your training”. The short version of the game is this; the teams returned to the court after a 15 minute break, our JV team played a completely different game. They played their game. Even when there were only seconds left, they would steal the ball and go for the basket, undaunted until the horn blew. They won that game. I will never know whether those few seconds of our conversation helped or not, but this team now reaches for perfection with every game and practice. By the way, this particular basketball player still studies Shorin ryu Karate.



Dale Adamson, San Dan.