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Avoidance is 100% Effective

No Karate technique is 100% effective. There is always a margin for error. A punch or kick might miss or not have the intended effect. A person high on drugs might not even feel a good kick to the groin.

And even if a technique is executed properly, it remains possible to be hit, kicked, bit, scratched, or stabbed in the process.

In short, even the best technique is not a guarantee. Perhaps that is one reason that Karate is only used "as a last resort." One rationale for this is to prevent unnecessary violence and the use of force. We do not even want to injure an attacker. However, another reason might be that even a good Karate technique can fail. It is safer -- much safer -- not to use Karate and the scales only tip in favor of its use, "as a last resort."

One thing is 100% effective -- that is avoidance. If you can avoid a problem you have avoided the risks that a technique might fail and that you could become injured. If you cross the street because you see someone lurking in the shadows, that might prevent the attack from materializing. And if the attacker follows you across the road, at least you will have tried to avoid the attack, and will have some time to judge his intent and movements. But if you just walk in front of him and he attacks, then what?

I was teaching recently as was asked about striking to the throat. The questioner had been told that a strike to the throat was effective. My third son, Cael, was there. He practices Brazilian Ju Jitsu and MMA (as well as Karate). He said, "I get punched in the throat all the time. We can take it."

I tried striking Cael's throat area and sure enough, he could take it. He is very strong anyway, but has been conditioned to tense his throat when he is hit. He explained further that they get hit in face too.

A strike to the throat might be effective or it might not. I recognize that there are ways to strike the throat that a person actually could not take, at least not very easily. But even such a strike could fail.

Avoiding an attack is 100% effective -- if you can do it.

Avoiding an attack does not only mean crossing a dark street when you see someone lurking in the shadows -- it also means avoiding being in the dangerous situation to begin with. Why are you alone on a dark street? Could you have taken a safer route? Could you have waited for someone to accompany you?

Avoidance is not just a "last minute" thing. You should plan for safety.

Of course, attacks can happen, even to a careful person who has tried to avoid danger. In the case of the last resort, I say that you have to just open the can and let the monster out -- meaning you have to do everything and anything to protect you life and the lives of your loved ones. There is no holding back. A technique might work -- or it might not -- but you will have to try your very best. At the point of "last resort" there is not further possibility of avoidance. There is no weighing the likelihood of success and failure. There is only the necessity to act to protect yourself.

But if you can avoid such a situation, it is a good strategy to do so.


Charles C. Goodin