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Winning and Losing

There is too much emphasis on winning and losing in some modern Karate schools. More emphasis should be put on escaping.

Karate is a civilian form of self-defense. It is not a gladiatorial form of sport, nor is it meant for warfare. In the civilian context, escaping from an attack should be considered a "win." However, we are conditioned to think that winning requires that we defeat an opponent.

If you are attacked by multiple opponents, escape might be the only option. I understand that the founder of Kenpo in Hawaii, Masayoshi James Mitose, taught the importance of escape techniques. The idea was not to go head to head, unless it was unavoidable.

Destructive Karate techniques should only be used as a last resort. At that point, there is a saying that a Karate expert fears his own hand -- he fears the consequences of the use of Karate.

Sometimes a real expert will lose on purpose, and in so doing, wins.


Charles C. Goodin