|An old house in Tsuboya, Okinawa|
As we parted, I was left wondering how such a thing could happen. How a nice young man could know so much but understand so little. As I said in response to a comment he made...."I suppose that's a matter of perspective; you see only what you're able to." I was at pains to be nice and not to burst any bubbles, but it was difficult not to walk away feeling disappointed that the general public were being introduced to the martial arts at such a low level.
I have no problem with people teaching for cash if that's what they chose to do with the training they have memorized, but, I'm reminded of one of the students at the dojo whose son has a pet cockatoo. The bird has a wide vocabulary and talks with near perfect diction: but it can't speak! It can't hold a conversation or extrapolate ideas from the things you say to it...it just gives an appearance that it can. A bit like karate instructors do when they begin to seek cash.
Apparently there are now 100 million karateka in the world, according the the latest statements coming from Okinawa. If that's true, I have to wonder how karate became so diluted.I also wonder (but not too often), how many are practicing karate and how many just look like they are. I'm not sure if the cockatoo knows he can't really speak, but the young man I spoke with today clearly believes he can teach.
All day, I couldn't get this out of my head....