Friday, 17 May 2013

Paper Tigers....hear them roar!

A slightly out of focus shot of Nakasone-san and me, circa 2005
I first met Nakasone-san in early 1984, back then his Shureido company was run from a tiny shop a few hundred yards along Sogenji dori from where Shureido stands today. I'm not sure why, but he and I have always gotten along very well, and whenever I visit Okinawa I stop by his store to say hello, have a coffee, and see what goodies he has for sale.

A few years ago I interviewed Nakasone-san as part of a series of short conversations I was collecting for research, and also to edit into a series of magazine articles. I never publish a whole conversation though: for a couple of reasons. Firstly, people sometimes tell me things they don't want their students to know, or they tell me things they don't want to appear in print for fear of litigation...and sometimes: they tell me lies!

Nakasone-san did none of these things, he's a gentleman in every sense of the word; but the second reason I don't publish everything people say during an interview is because that would be too easy for you...the reader! The Internet makes it all too easy for knowledge and information to pass from one person to another, and as a result a lot of you have become lazy; you no longer go to the source, you go to google instead.

But that's okay in my book, you do what you like; get your information second and third hand, build your knowledge on what other people said to someone else, people whose agendas you have no idea of. Accept whatever you read as fact, unless it doesn't happen to agree with information you have already accepted on a different web page; and express your opinions based on what you've heard about...but never experienced. But as you grow your understanding of karate this way, remember this; knowledge gained without personal experience is merely hearsay, and an opinion formed in comfort then expressed with passion, is little more than the roar of a paper-tiger!