I have to admit that some of the Karate instructors I have met over the years were heavy drinkers. Drinking seems to have been an accepted thing in Japan, particularly for businessmen.
However, abusing alcohol can lead to illness and even death. As Karate students, we should be careful to avoid behaviors and things that are bad for our health or can lead to unsafe situations. Here are some things that might be avoided by not drinking alcohol:
- You will not get drunk. You will not wake up the next morning having forgotten what you said and did the night before. Even if you forget, others will remember. Some people might forgive your drunken behavior. Others will remember it and hold it against you.
- You will not get ticketed for drunk driving and lose your license. You will not drive drunk and endanger others and yourself. Even if you only injure yourself, your injuries could make you lose your job or have to drop out of school.
- You might avoid dangerous locations. Places where people drink can easily become violent. One of my son's has two friends. Not long ago, they were attacked by twelve mem outside a nightclub. One of the old time Karate students here in Hawaii told me that his Sensei always warned him against drinking for this reason.
- You will not get into a situation where drunkenness diminishes your discretion. It is not possible to estimate how many young women become pregnant due to drunken behavior. Teen pregnancy does not only affect the young woman. It also affects the father, the couple's families, and the child. Unprotected sex as a result of drunkenness can also lead to sexually transmitted diseases, some of which could even be fatal.
- Here is a story. A high school girl got drunk and as a result got pregnant. She was extremely smart. However, due to the pregnancy she dropped out of high school. Her boyfriend dropped out of school too and took a low paying job. Neither got to go to college and had a hard time making ends meet. They could not provide for their child in the way they would have liked to -- in the way they might have if they had been able to stay in school and get better jobs. Don't let this be your story.
- You will save a lot of money. Alcohol is expensive. It is better to save money for your education.
- You will not progress from one form of alcohol to another, and to drugs. Beer can lead to hard liquor. Alcohol can lead to marijuana and hard drugs. Drug use is illegal and can lead to a criminal convictions. The best way to avoid alcohol and drug abuse is not to start.
- You will not neglect or abuse your family.
- You will not have to make excuses and miss work.
- You will not have to spend time with a bunch of friends who drink all the time. If you drink because your friends do, perhaps you should think about the company you keep. You should not have to become a drunk just to be with other drunks.
- A limited amount of alcohol consumption, by adults, at the right time, under controlled situations, may be acceptable. But how much, when, under what situations? Karate students are not "normal" people. Experts in self defense and "fighting" have unique, dangerous skills and must avoid losing control. It is not possible to maintain such control when drunk.
- You will not set a bad example for your own children. We had a guest speaker come to our dojo in November 2007. He was from the Coalition for a Drug-Free Hawaii. One of the things he said stuck in my mind. He said, "what is your child supposed to think when the beer is in the refrigerator next to the beer?" That's right. What is your child supposed to think? If you were that child, what would you think?
- You will not spend time drinking and can use that time for healthy and productive activities.
Please visit our Karate-No! Program (Karate students say No! to drug and alcohol abuse) website.
Charles C. Goodin