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Stepping Out Of The Ring

This afternoon, I discussed the issue of stepping out of the ring during kumite with two senior Karate sensei. One of them mentioned that he was taught that stepping out of the ring was like falling off a cliff. As such, any points scored by the person who stepped out of the ring, after he stepped out, would not be counted. How could anyone score a point while falling off a cliff?

The other sensei in our discussion agreed. I too recall hearing such things when I was a much younger student. Stepping out of the ring is like falling off something.

This reminded me of a high school incident. I attended Radford High School in Honolulu. One day, my friends and I, all of whom practiced Karate, were goofing around on the bleachers at the football field. We were about half way up the bleachers, perhaps 10 feet of the ground.

One of the my friends was practicing kicks. He would kick, step back, kick, step back... Well, he was near the edge of the bleachers and sure enough, on his last kick he stepped back right off the edge. His right leg scraped against the side of the rough wooden edge, from his ankle all the way down to his groin (almost). He barely caught the guard rail. It really hurt.

It all happened so quickly. One minute he was kicking and the next he was down and in pain.

Lucky thing it was not a cliff!

I can tell you for sure that he could not have landed a good kick or punch while he was falling off the side of the bleacher. He was just fortunate not to have been badly hurt.

So when they say that stepping out of the ring is like stepping off a cliff, you should heed the lesson and the warning. You have to be aware of your surroundings at all times. How can you defend yourself when you are falling off a cliff, bleachers, or into a hole?

What your step!


Charles C. Goodin