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Karate is Life is Karate

Updated: Nov 24, 2023

“Good wholesome guidance.”

That’s what Hanshi Don Owens (9th Dan with 60 years of training) from the World Japan Karate Association called Sensei Dwayne Weidendorf’s new book, Mojo from the Karate Dojo - Insightful Life Lessons.

I read it. I agree.

Sensei Owens is the teacher I train under every week via technology from BC, and Sensei Dwayne is a student of his in the same class. It took no time to see the Sensei Dwayne is upbeat, dedicated and positive. His own musings on his book are humble as he doesn’t profess to be writer, but I respectfully disagree.

A couple of things a good writer does are: teaches the reader something and reminds them of something. Mojo does both. It’s not a How-To for Karate training as far as moves and techniques go, but is a map between karate and life – lesson that Karate teaches us that we can translate into daily living.

“Always seek constructive feedback and be forever thankful to the donor. More importantly, always remember to pay it forward…”

So, Sensei is saying to ask for criticism and then to be thankful for it? Yes, and if you expect to get better, it is sound advice. Rather than feel slighted when someone tells you to lower your stance or keep your hands up in class, heed the advice and improve. His reminder is to show gratitude for what you’ve learned by teaching someone else.

Some of Sensei Dwayne’s thoughts are direct and require some rattling around in the brain: “Adversity and failure are good life experiences…” If Karate is about character building, you need the take some knocks. After all, you can’t truly appreciate the sunshine if you have never been chilled to the bone.

Speaking of character, we often use the term but don’t dissect it. Fundamentally, character involves all the aspects of a person's behavior and the attitudes that make up that person's personality.

What Mojo does, in its 44 chapters, is get you thinking about what you’re looking to get out of Karate (and how this can be reflected in your life), and it gives you some tips toward getting there.

This might sound lofty and philosophical, but that’s Karate. You can’t separate what you do in the Dojo form what you do on the street or at the office or home. At 17 maybe we’re training to perfect the jump in Heian Godan, but at 77 we’re probably still training because we have a deeper understanding of what Martial Arts are.

Not everything in the book is new – in fact, a lot of it isn’t - we may have heard it before. But, I’ve been training for decades now and I still found myself re-reading and underlining, because things stood out as reminders and verifications. The booked is pointed and makes statements on things Karateka can relate to.

Of course there are also statements like this: “The next time you have negative thoughts, its okay to feel and understand those negative thoughts.” This in in a chapter called “The Power of a Positive Mind.” Tell me someone who couldn’t use a bit of reading on that! Negativity in the Dojo is the same as negativity on the street: it’s harmful and useless.

I guess I love any literature that expounds the benefits of our amazing Martial Art, and I believe Mojo does just that.

What else I love is when a Sensei like Dwayne writes down what karate has taught them, and then shares that with us – for next to nothing, I might add.

Sometimes our reluctance to fail prohibits us from putting our thoughts out there or on paper; I believe every Karate opinion and theory has merit and should be examined (see chapter 22, “Be Open to Learning.”) If you’re ever thought you should get your opinions and experience on paper, I guarantee you that you should. It helps our Art thrive.

Thank you, Sensei, for this little handbook of insights and reminders.

Dwayne Weidendorf is the founding partner of Hoko Consulting

Mojo from The Karate Dojo: Insightful Life Lessons –

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