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Calm In An Emergency

The recent earthquake here in Hawaii, presents a good opportunity to discuss one of the important traits of a good Karate student -- the ability to remain calm in an emergency. Fortunately, there was no loss of life here, but it could have been much worse. We are often faced by emergencies, such as earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes, tsumanis, floods, acts of terror, or even violence in our schools.

Some people can not handle emergencies. They literally become part of the problem by losing control. They can become a risk to themselves and others.

In Karate, we learn to deal with unexpected attacks and acts of violence. We learn that we can better deal with such situations when we are calm and focused. In kumite, for example, we sometimes see students who jump around wildly. The public might mistake this for skill. But we know that the dangerous opponent is one who remains still and does not respond to our attempted feints (fakes). The same is true in Kendo.

During times of emergency, we must remain calm and decide what needs to be done. Here on Oahu, the shaking was not too bad, but the power went out for most of the day. My initial response was to start filling 7 gallon jugs with water. I figured that if the power remained off for long enough, we would lose water. As it turned out, the power returned later in the day and our water supply was not interupted. But my son, who lives in a highrise, did lose water as soon as the power went out.

We already had our supplies ready for possible hurricanes and bird flu. Thus, we had plenty of canned food, water, batteries, etc.

It is easier to be calm in an emergency if you are prepared for it.

The next time you are in an emergency situation, try to monitor your reactions. Are you calm? Does your breathing remain controlled. Are you focused on the tasks at hand. Can you help the people around you? Or do you become part of the problem?

Karate students should be able to remain calm in an emergency.


Charles C. Goodin