Karate Thoughts Blog

Contents   /   Email  /   Atom  /   RSS  /  

1700+ Posts... and Counting

Picking a Fight

A friend of mine visited me today and related a recent incident in which a guy tried to pick a fight with him at the airport. Fortunately, my friend was able to avoid the fight.

But I could not help but think how terrible it would have been for that guy to have picked a fight with my friend. He really is the wrong person to fight with! He has studied martial arts for well over 40 years and, in my estimation, is a really tough (and potentially dirty*) fighter. I suspect that the guy would not have had a chance!

* By "dirty", I mean brutally effective.

Here is the point. My friend does not particularly look like a martial artist. At the airport, he probably just looked like another frazzled and weary traveler. But he is a martial artist. If that guy had known about my friend's background and ability, he might have thought twice.

On the street (or wherever) we do not have the luxury of knowing who will attack us and their fighting skills. The attacker could be a weak fighter, a great fighter, a drugged up crazy person... who knows?

I mentioned in a post quite a while ago that I once escorted Sensei Morio Higaonna to his hotel during a visit to Hawaii. When we got to the front of the hotel, a man came up and looked like he might mean trouble. I stepped in front of Higaonna Sensei to speak to the man and fortunately he went on his way. But I could not help but think that he would have been absolutely crazy to attack Higaonna Sensei! I probably should have stepped aside and watched, but I had a responsibility as a host.

As martial artists, we probably think that most people would be crazy to pick a fight with us -- and that is usually right. But we should not underestimate other people. Sensei Pat Nakata once told me that one of the toughtest fighters he ever saw was a street fighter here in Honolulu -- a street fighter, not a martial artist.

We should not underestimate other people. Who knows? The attacker might be a serious martial artist or a great street fighter. Or he might be armed or have friends lurking out of sight. We should not be like that guy at the airport.


Charles C. Goodin