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The Three “R’s”

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I’ve mentioned before that my dad was a treasure trove of old trite sayings. While I often chuckled at the triteness, there was usually a lot of truth in what he said. In particular, when I was still in elementary school, he often lectured us (my sister and me) about the importance of education and book-learning. I can still hear him proclaim, “Wesley, I cannot emphasize enough, the importance of the three R’s…Reading, Writing,…and Math!” Well, two out of three ain’t bad.😏 Looking back, he was totally right, of course. All three R’s are systems of two-dimensional alpha and numeric symbols. Between the ages of 3 to 5 years old, we begin the process of learning how to interpret and use these symbols in increasingly complex ways. Each of us advances to where we don’t even “see” the individual letters, words, sentences or phrases. Whole visions, actions, and conversations effortlessly take shape within our minds. Through reading, we unlock the thoughts, philosophies, and concepts of great scientists, historians, statesmen, and novelists. We can engage the minds of philosophers, gone hundreds or thousands of years in the past. Through writing, we can express our opinions and analyses of reports and studies [...]

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“What Did You Learn in School Today?”

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Many years ago, I remember coming home from school and my mom asking me the question that every mom asks of their child, “What did you learn in school today?” This is standard maternal interrogation that all of us, as young kids, experience during the first few years of elementary school. My kindergarten and first grade classes were held at Jefferson Elementary School – right across the Honolulu Zoo, on Kapahulu Avenue. The following year, re-districting found me at Ala Wai Elementary School, where I began the second grade, sharing a table with four other children, including another young student – today, you call him Sensei Peter – we were just six years old when the semester started and actually learned the rudiments of grammar and arithmetic together.  Amazing to think that just a dozen years later, as college freshmen, we’d be learning the rudiments of karate together. In similar fashion, I can recall the day that Sempai Dave walked into HISKF to sign up himself and his six-year-old son Daylen, in an attempt to pique the young boy’s interest in karate. Back then, little Daylen was more interested in drawing and talking about airplanes. Many years later, and he [...]

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The Wrist of the Story – Kotegaeshi

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I’ve mentioned before that none of the HISKF sensei’s ever entered the dojo with the dream or goal of becoming a sensei one day – each was called to it by circumstances.  By happenstance, the 1970’s would find Sensei Peter heading up a dojo in Michigan, Sensei Wayne heading one up in Oregon, and me teaching a group in VAFB California.  This was several years before Sensei Trish was born, however, by the early 2000’s, she was teaching a group of college students in Pasadena, California. No one sought this out.  Sensei Wayne was assigned by the KAH to establish a dojo in Oregon.  Sensei Peter took over the reins of a dojo in Michigan when the original instructor PCS’d away.  Sensei Trish was asked by fellow students at Bible College to establish and lead a dojo.  I was similarly asked by a group of my airmen to teach them karate, but there is a backstory to this. My first real teaching experience was due to an inadvertent (and embarrassing) display of kotegaeshi.  Imagine a very cold Air Force office (on the second floor of an old barracks) where the “hot” water radiator is barely working and the mid-morning temperature in my office is [...]