34. Isabelle Aubert’s Observations

Isabelle Aubert from UCSD wrote the following email to me after the test yesterday. I found it interesting and wanted to send it to all of you.

“I was thinking about the resolutions and I was wondering where they come from. I took Nuggets and looked up the answer! I ended up reading more than 3 chapters and I realized that probably many of the questions that I asked you (or that I was going to ask) are answered right there, in Nuggets! I have read it before but as I read it again, I find different answers. It is great! It also made me realized that you are excellent at applying resolution #10! In some of the questions that I asked you, you could have said: “Isabelle, why don’t you look up in Nuggets, page x, line y, the answer is right there, I have already explained this!” but you never did…When I was reviewing the resolutions, #8 grabbed me again. It is definitely my favourite (#9 and #10 following closely). I think that if I can live by #8, I will continue to have a very happy life!

These resolutions are very important to me and I thank you for bringing them into my life. At first, I admit that I was not too enthusiastic about learning them word for word, to the letter, it seemed very “rigid” to me (I had this problem with the hierarchy of the line-up when I started training). But as I learned the resolutions and as I “lined-up” for some years in the dojo, I understood the value of these exercises. They are great resolutions and because of them (and the art transmitted by Sensei N. and you), I feel that I am a happier (and even perhaps better) person now.”

So who was Baudelaire anyway?

The importance of the story is immense. It is the ember that has spurned my fire for decades of martial arts. Neville and Paul and Peter and Kathy remember the days of ceaseless pounding trainings in Hawaii under Sensei Miyaji. They were the inspirations of two decades ago when their enthusiasm for learning just one more technique, just one more kata, just one more concept was so intense that they fired me to near boiling.


Then in the 1980s there were the likes of George Rutherford, Dan Lewis, Terry Coleman, Julie (Krohne) Evans, who inflamed me to over-gushing enthusiasm again. Their “same” questions were new to me for they were questions from a new and excited-enthusiastic group. Bubbling effervescent enthusiasm…


Then in the early 1990s there were Devon Dods, Jack Lopez, Dan Cole and in the later 1990s Sherry Hill, Karen Levine, Ed Norton, Pat Hohl, Pat Molnar who wanted to know the “secrets of karate,” but who drove themselves towards physical excellence and intellectual understanding dragging me along in their enthusiasm. I literally flew thru the excitement of the days of their trainings on the wings of desperate raptors.


How do we sensei answer the same questions over and over again? It is because we answer a different question every time we answer a different student. Karate is not a science it is an art. It is not and organized body of knowledge; it is a knowledge of organized relationships…yes those from father-son, sister-brother, teacher-student, creator-dancer, to assailant-defender. You ask me any question, no matter how many times it has been asked and answered before and you will likely get a long detailed discussion of the intricacies and importances of the subject complete with un-annotated asides. Why? Because YOU asked me.


Do not fear that you ask questions that others have asked.

Fear that you do not ask questions that others have asked.

It is the young bucks and does in the dojo that bring it life. The old ones are its stability but not its fire. The one exception is when an old one or two taps the youths fire of the heart and screams….Yea!!! BAUDELAIRE!!!