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Non-Violent Attitude

We often say that Karate should be used as a "last resort." This means that if there is a way to avoid a fight, we should do so. Only when it is necessary to protect ourselves or others should we use the techniques of Karate.

Some people might think that this is overly restrictive. What if someone is trying to steal your car? What if someone is calling you names? There are many instances when a person might want to fight or fight back.

But senior Karate instructors realize that the use of Karate could easily result in serious injury or death. Would you want to cripple or kill someone over your car or being called names? Certainly not! Only when your life, or the lives of others are at stake, should Karate be used. And there is always a chance that you yourself could be seriously injured or killed. This is why Karate is thought of as a last resort.

Sometime you might find a student who will say this outwardly but is almost looking for a fight. He will not start the fight, but is more than ready for it. "If that guy touches me I am going to beat his... butt!" Such a student is a fight waiting to happen.

Students should have a non-violent attitude. They should not be looking for a fight, or for an excuse to have a fight. They should not be waiting for someone else to "start it" so that they will be entitled to use Karate.

The attitude of a Karate student should always be negative -- "don't fight, don't fight, don't fight." With such an attitude, the student will look for excuses not to fight. Only when there are no other options with the student use the techniques of Karate, and then only to the extent necessary.

With a violent student, once the lid is removed from the jar it is difficult to put it back. One punch might have worked but a dozen just "happened?"

A non-violent student will be looking for opportunities to escape, to disengage from the violent situation. He will be looking for ways to get his loved ones to safety, not to teach the attacker a lesson.

This may sound very passive and weak. Please don't get me wrong. I believe that there are times to "unleash the beast." When it really is the last resort, a person must do whatever is necessary to protect his life and the lives of others. Until that point is reached however, a person should do whatever possible to avoid the use of Karate techniques.

Actually, avoidance and escape are Karate techniques. In that regard, Karate is used all the time. However, when it comes to the destructive aspects of Karate, they should only be used as a last resort.

Students should be taught to look for ways to avoid fights, not for excuses to engage in them and claim that they only reacted when provoked. Students should be taught to have a non-violent attitude.

Respectfully,

Charles C. Goodin