Sensei McGibbon

To Rick it can be a form of protection for himself and those around him “I see it as a self-defense style, only used in defense, not in aggression,” he said. The mind is also benefiting. “It is all about the body and mind working together as a unit in control of your body’s actions.”

Rick relies less on his speed and more on his mind looking for what is to come next. “Because of training, I generally know what you are going to throw before you throw it. I’m not faster than I was in my twenties. But when I see the shoulder move a bit, it’s a punch coming. When I was younger, I did not always see the punch coming. I had to be fast, or I would get hit,” Rick said “As you get older, your karate changes and becomes more in-depth. You don’t need the things that break down with age because your training will support you.”

Martial arts have been well known to improve balance, mobility, stamina, agility, flexibility, endurance, strength, coordination, etc. The physical benefits go on. “One guy came up to me and said, ‘I’m 61. Am I too old to start karate?’ Well, no. Whatever you want to put into it is what you get out of it. And he got what he wanted out of it. It was great.”

Rick became a sensei when he discovered his teaching ability to transmit things he learns to someone else. “Rick is always willing to work with people. He’s a problem-solver. And he wants to see others achieve. You can tell it makes him happy to see you achieve,” Kate Gray, a student that’s been learning from Rick for about four years, said.

Rick still considers himself to be a student, practicing and learning among many other students. He claims that he is still far from his goal. “I always tell people the goal is to be the perfect grandmaster, with the realization that it is never going to happen. In Karate, the goal is irrelevant. It’s the path taken. If we look for perfection in martial arts, it’s comparable to a star in the heavens. We shoot for it every day. Every class, we strive to be a little bit better than we were, knowing we will never reach the goal. I have been at it 41 years. I am never going to reach the goal,” Rick said.

Everyone as a child is sure to fail in something. But Rick has eliminated the achievement of perfection, so it is OK to fail. “It’s how you learn,” Rick said. He proudly presents his black belt of traditional Shotokan Karate with honor and confidence. What he gets from training is worth so much more than the goal. “In martial arts, you are capable of whatever you want to be capable of. You get back your confidence,” Rick said.