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Rules Applicable To Karate

The techniques of Karate are used as a last resort. I have often written about this. If this "last resort" is reached, what rules apply to the use of Karate techniques -- what things are illegal, outlawed, or prohibited?

I know that this seems like a simple question. But even the most brutal forms of combat you might see on television have at least some rules. For example, I don't think any competition allows you to grab two of the attacker's fingers and split them apart. This is a very easy and useful technique, but pretty soon all the competitors would have mangled fingers.

In Karate, once the state of "last resort" is reached, there are no laws or rules. It is literally "kill or be killed," or very near that. You must defend yourself and loved ones. The attacker is not restricted by any rules, and you cannot afford to be restricted either.

My point is that unrestricted Karate is quite a different thing than competition Karate or children's Karate. This may sound severe and it is. Karate is a very serious thing. It is no less serious than carrying a gun or a knife.

When rules are applied to Karate, the techniques become less and less effective, and more and more dependent upon size and strength. Rule bound Karate puts women, older, and smaller students at a distinct disadvantage when attacked by a larger and stronger person.

Imagine if someone gave you a gun and told you that you could only use it to strike the attacker, like a hammer. You might as well not have the gun at all, or at least you should get a better hammer.

Rule bound Karate is a bit like having an unloaded gun and being allowed to only say "bang, bang."

If you practice rule bound Karate, your interpretation of techniques will be limited by the rules. The Karate elders of old had no such restrictions, and their techniques reflected this.


Charles C. Goodin