One Photograph

One photograph is worth a thousand words, as the saying goes, but is that really the case?

Recently a number of pictures posted on our web site were copied and used on a closed blog site questioning not only the quality of the students photographed, but also myself as one of five senior instructors who had passed them for promotion. While I am not going to attempt to defend myself here, it does beg the question; do we really profess to know the background, history, knowledge, personality etc. of anyone from just one photograph? Surely a photograph is but a moment captured in time and more possibly a reflection of the photographer’s style, rather than the competence of the person being photographed?

Without any background or personal knowledge of those we are criticising for their perceived lack of knowledge, aren’t we just being kind of arrogant and self-opinionated. Once upon a time weren’t we just starting out on that same journey every karate student takes when we become shodan (literally meaning beginning degree)?

I remember when I first became shodan and how little I knew compared to others more experienced around me and aspired to be like. What has happened that senior karate instructors no longer consider being humble a good thing?

Jundokan New Zealand Incorporated  (JNZ) is a non-profit organisation founded on the basis of like-minded people wishing to further their experience and knowledge of traditional Okinawa Goju-Ryu karate, particularly Jundokan (Miyazato Eiichi hanshi). If one were to take the time to look up incorporated societies on the company’s website and search for JNZ, you would be able to see the annual financial accounts. They are transparent for all to see and not, as some like to think, making anyone rich. In fact all JNZ instructors are unpaid for their time teaching (this is a requirement).

A wise Father told me when I was young; if you can’t say anything good about someone, then don’t say anything!