Vermont Bar Journal, Vol. 40, No. 2 Vermont Bar Journal, Fall 2017, Vol. 48, No. 3 - Page 13

JEB: Yeah, I was going to ask that. All adults or what kind of teaching? JG: All adults. And I have never charged to teach karate. I have never accepted a penny for it, I have always done it for free. JEB: Oh, wow. JG: The kind of attention that you need to give children when they start out was just not something that I was prepared to do so I never taught children. JEB: Right, and some actually send their kids just for other reasons, to get them to babysit or to deal with anxiety or whatev- er. JG: Yes, so the rule that I set down was that the minimum age would be 13, which was what it was in the dojo over in Oki- nawa, because Miyazato Sensei said that when children come to the dojo before the age of 13 they don’t really know why they are there. He said it was very impor- tant when he talked to a prospective stu- dent that they tell him why they are there. So, my class was purposeful. And in- tense. And it wasn’t an aerobics class. You had to come 3 times a week or else you weren’t going to learn the material and be able to get in good enough condition to progress. Many times, people would come in and watch a class and they would stay about 20 minutes and then they would walk out and I would never see them again. What they would typically say is “I need to get into better shape before I come to your class,” and what I would say is that is like saying ‘I refuse to go in the water until I learn how to swim.’ The whole reason you come is to get stronger. JEB: You were fully immersed at the age of 15. JG: That is exactly right. I have tried to keep training intensely because you always want to keep striving. Unfortunately, most people were not interested in what I was doing because I think they preferred to go to a commercial karate school with a work- out that is toned down, where they grade people every couple of months because they charge a grading fee, so it’s an income generator. So after 2 years they could stand around and have a black belt and say they accomplished something when they may have learned absolutely nothing. JEB: That is not what you were inter- ested in. JG: That is not what I was pitching. I will say that now, I have basically backed away from taking people in from the pub- www.vtbar.org lic unless they have a recommendation of some kind or know someone in the class. I have probably 10 black belts that have been with me for 20 years or more. They have progressed to the point where they do a considerable amount of self-study. I have a once a month session that I am do- ing now with my students which gives them things to work on. I am not there to give them a workout, I am not there to make their hearts race, I am there to correct their technical issues and that is what I am em- phasizing. Just trying to get what I know out of my head and to pass it on to them. ing in one’s own practice, one has to teach. I have been teaching a traditional karate class here in Rutland since 1996. I think is when I started. JEB: For the mental piece of it? JG: Well because everything good in my life, with the possible exception of my children, has c ome from karate, and that is not an overstatement. I feel such a debt to the great teachers that I have had. The fact that I was able to actually train with the top people in Japan and this country and get graded by them. So part of my obliga- tion to them is to pass this on, and pass it on as completely and accurately as possi- ble. I want to at least have 9 or 10 people who have seen me try to relate everything I know, if not retain it. JEB: Right, and could teach themselves. JG: Yes, and could teach others at some point, so that is kind of what my emphasis is right now. JEB: And it takes a lot of mental focus, especially the way things are today, you would think that there are a lot of people who cannot muster that kind of mental fo- cus. JG: Whatever your passion, you must focus on what you are doing, and dedi- cate some time to getting better, and I think that is something some people have a problem with. Now, for me, it has paid tremendous rewards, and I would say the philosophy basically runs my law practice. It has also kept me in good physical con- dition, so it has helped mentally and it has helped physically. JEB: I am wondering if you can relate it to the mindfulness programs we have been doing and trying to get people to be just more meditative and contempla- tive in their lives and in their practices, so that they can have the mental focus and be whole within themselves to be able to practice better. JG: Yes, I think that is certainly part of it, because the kata, which are the beautiful forms that karate practitioners do, are basi- cally moving meditation. Same thing with the forms in Tai Chi or any martial art and they were intended to be that way, so that is a huge part of what is going on. THE VERMONT BAR JOURNAL • FALL 2017 13