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Karate and Mental Health

I received the following question from a reader (S. S.):

"I have a suggestion for a Karate Blog post if you can find any information and or research into this. Karate students and/or teachers, past and present, that have had or still have mental health issues and how karate has helped them cope with their problem."
I'm very sorry, but this question is outside of my expertise (I am an attorney by profession). I think that the question might be better addressed to a Karate instructor who is also a psychiatrist or psychologist.

Speaking purely as a layperson, however, I can say that some of the Karate instructors I have met are the most well adjusted, kindest, and wisest people in the world, while some others are the craziest! Regarding the latter, some Karate instructors become extremely egotistical, petty, controlling, power hungry, etc.

One of the old time teachers explained to me that in the old days, an instructor could not simply hide behind his rank or title. An instructor who could not back up his Karate with fighting skill would be challenged and beaten. Most instructors, thus, were not boastful or arrogant as this would attract a challenge. Of course, some instructors were boastful and arrogant because they welcomed challenges.

Today, challenges are rare (even illegal) and instructors can pretty much boast freely. There are so few limits on the ego! Perhaps it was better in the old days.

When I state that some Karate instructors are crazy, I do not mean to equate that with mental health problems. They are crazy in the sense that they are out of control and have not pursued Karate for their personal development as well as self defense skills.

And, for every rough stone you find in Karate there are many more gems.


Charles C. Goodin