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Cursing in the Dojo (Don't)

What do these words have in common? The f-word, the s-word, the d-word, and the a-word (among others). They have no place in the dojo or in Karate events with children present.

I recently attended a Karate function where the punchline of a story was a compound swear word ("bs"). Children were present at this event, pretty young children.

As Karate teachers, assistants, and students, we have to observe rules of courtesy. But even common courtesy would tell you that swearing in the presence of children is not a good thing. It reflects negatively on the swearer, his or her Sensei, fellow students, and dojo.

There are so many positive ways to express yourself. The small handful of swear words are such a tiny part of the English language. Unfortunately, they seem to be a big part of some people's vocabulary.

Don't get me wrong. If a werewolf jumped out on a dark night and was about to attack me, I probably would curse.

But in the dojo and at Karate functions with children, we should be on our best behavior.

If a yudansha or senior in my dojo continually cursed in front of children and would not stop despite my requests, I would expel him... really. I want the children to look up to and emulate the yudansha and seniors, not learn how to swear.

I also understand that an accidental swear word might slip out (like when someone gets kicked in the groin). Accidents happen. I am concerned about people who swear as part of conversation. But even when hit, students should be courteous and in control of themselves.

If you get kicked in the groin, remember this old saying: "Even a tall man will bow down when he is kicked in the testicles." (I think it sounded better in the Ryukyu dialect.)


Charles C. Goodin