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The Objective of Karate

What is the physical objective of Karate? What is the reason we practice potentially destructive Karate techniques?

To me, the goal is not to win or defeat an opponent. I am not training for this reason. If someone attacks me, he is not an opponent -- he is a criminal. I have not agreed to fight, to a game. I am an innocent victim. I am a victim of this criminal.

My goal is to avoid being injured or killed. If I can run away -- great! If I have to defend myself, my goal is still to avoid being injured or killed. I am not trying to win or defeat the attacker. It may be that the only way to avoid being hurt is to injure or kill the attacker. If so, that is unavoidable. But that does not mean that I defeated the attacker. It is not a win. It is a terrible, but necessary and unavoidable thing.

The goal of Karate is neither to win nor to lose. These apply to other subjects. The goal of Karate (at least the self defense aspects of the art), is to avoid being injured or killed by an attacker. I am never a fighter. If someone attacks me, I am a victim. I am exercising my right to self defense... not fighting.

It's like catching a puhi (moray eel) and trying to take the hook out. You have to expect that it will try to bite you. It's not the eel's fault. It just wants to get away.


Charles C. Goodin