Karate Thoughts Blog

Contents   /   Email  /   Atom  /   RSS  /  

1650+ Posts... and Counting

Human Weapon Comment

This show brings up many issues that I am sure martial artists are discussing.

One is that the rules of any competition largely shape the outcome. High kicks work very well, unless kicks to the groin or knee are allowed. Grappling works well unless punches and kicks are allowed (it still works pretty well for some people even with punches and kicks).

In a self defense situation, there are no rules. There is also no official "winner" and "loser". If someone attacks you, you generally "win" if you can defend yourself, escape, or even talk the attacker out of attacking you.

When two competitors square off, there are rules and a way to determine the winner -- whether it is by points or who is left standing at the end of the match.

I had a teacher once. He told me about how he was picked on as child. Several boys would get together and beat him up. The best he could do was cover up and take the punches, or run away.

But later, he would wait to get each of his attackers alone. Then he would get even.

One on one, he was more than a match for any of the attackers. But as a group, they could beat him.

So his strategy was to survive the gang attack and wait to get even.

I am not saying that I agree with fighting. I am a very non-violent person. But the idea that there must be a winner and loser in a conflict is based on the sport version of Karate (or other martial arts). Once you buy into this premise, the self defense purpose of Karate is lost.

I also tell my students that you cannot beat a Judo expert using Judo, a boxer using boxing, or a Kyokushin fighter using Kyokushin principles. Unless you are simply superior, you must attack your opponent's weaknesses with your strengths and avoid his strengths.

If you simply stand there and punch and kick it out with a Kyokushin fighter, you will probably lose -- I am certain that I would! Similarly, I would not want to roll around on the ground with a Judo or Ju Jitsu expert. And if I were to fight an escrima expert with sticks, I would throw the sticks away and run as fast as I could!

The strength of Karate is that it truly was a mixed martial arts during its early day. Karate included a wide range of martial skills and techniques. It was broad enough to give its practitioners an advantage over most untrained fighter, and the ability to use a variety of skills against a trained fighter (to be able to grapple a puncher or punch a grappler, for example).

I am pretty sure that the final matches in Human Weapon wold be quite different if they allowed the hosts to use any techniques they desired from any martial art. Limiting the "fight" to the system of the opponent deprives you of any advantage.

Also, it is better to conceal your martial arts expertise. The opponent should not really know that you are a Karate or other expert until he is hit (or taken down, restrained, etc.).

I am often reminded that Karate was a jutsu (art) before it was a do (way). I do not see how sport fits within either framework.

Again, I like the Human Weapon series, particularly because the hosts are very respectful -- exactly how all martial artists should be.


Charles C. Goodin