The Importance of Humanity in Karate

Karate is made with the models provided by Kendo and Judo. It was meant to be a ‘style’ of Martial Arts itself but this never happened, maybe because of WW2, or maybe for some other reason. After all, the original school system gave birth to Shotokan-Ryu, Wado-Ryu, and Shito-Ryu. Goju-Ryu was developed much later and was accepted into the Okinawan school system many years after Itosu’s original karate program.

If there is no revision of Jujutsu to Judo, and Kenjutsu to Kendo, there is a chance that the art will not survive. They are not liked by the new society. Similarly, Okinawan ‘Te’ is unpopular and considered a violent activity by the general public, the more refined art of karate succeeds and is responsible for the continuation of this Okinawan Martial Art, albeit in other forms.

Sport Karate and the Pursuit of Wellness

You realized that education was the key and with education came humanity and understanding, and less need for civilian self-defense. Okinawa did not have the organized sport as we know it today, so training sports, such as karate, was a brilliant move of genius on his part. Karate will be a program of community training, an educational endeavor to promote humanity, and a return to brutal self-defense if necessary.

Unfortunately, karate has become a sport and recreational activity taught by those of high and low rank. Very few know what they teach and mainly focus on all the wrong aspects. Physical techniques are not well understood so the basics of kata are taught as the basis of karate. Human aspects are rarely discussed or taught through dojo kuns and paid lip services only.

Karate was developed in Okinawa, a small, backward country at the time, with very few people involved, but somehow we assume that they had developed a complete system that would allow one to defeat 4, 8 or more attackers. The secret of karate is common sense and a combination of physical exercise and intellectual study (bunburyodo).

One of the mistakes made today is selling Karate as a product, not something that can be traded like hamburgers. You pay for someone’s knowledge, skills, and ability to convey important information about how to get healthy, fit, compete in sports, and defend yourself. You pay a fee for educational services. It seems no longer important who you study from but in the end, the only rank you hold is personal knowledge and ability.

How can one teach humanity? By setting standards. I don’t think it’s really teachable but maybe it can be nurtured and maintained. It’s like thinking that karate builds character. If one has a bad character then it is impossible to change.

It is important to ensure that a sense of fairness and consideration of others is the benchmark of any karate class. If we allow training partners to punch, strike and kick just a few mm from our bodies, then we must have faith in their character and faith in their humanity.

No one likes to be taken advantage of and we are raised to have faith and trust in those in authority like teachers. Hypocrisy by karate teachers destroys that belief, especially in the moral and ethical realm. Poor instruction can cause karate to damage one’s character. Poor role models can influence students of all ages in the wrong direction.

Benefits Of Martial Arts That Can Be Applied To Daily Life

This is a huge responsibility in teaching anything, but especially karate. If misused the consequences can be very serious. Of course, karate practice doesn’t make anyone invincible but it can make a person dangerous to those without martial skills.

Students need to be taught very carefully about the effects of hitting another human being. Many people suffered serious injuries from being hit to the ground, not from the blow, but from hitting their heads on the hard floor. How can you give someone a loaded gun without instructions on why and when, and not be held liable if another human becomes disabled?

Fortunately, most humans are quite reasonable and human. I remember a case where a karate student was convicted of killing his own unborn child by kicking his mother in the stomach while she was pregnant! We all know karate instructors who have been charged with crimes against children.

If karate is taught like an aerobics class in a gym then there is a problem. Aerobics is about health and fitness, karate can be used that way but it still needs explanation and standards of behavior to be set.

Are you a karate teacher, sports coach or sports instructor? Is your teaching place a dojo, clubhouse or gym? All are valuable but you should not fool yourself or anyone else. If your skill level is low, admit it and don’t let others think you’re an expert. Otherwise, inadvertently, you give the experts a bad name.

Karate should be fun, that is, serious fun. One cannot pretend to be a Doctor, Dentist, Lawyer or karate teacher, these are all known as Sensei, someone who has reached a certain stage of understanding, not someone who has not surpassed the beginner stage.

Black Belt or Black and White Belt does not give the wearer the right to teach. They need to have in-depth knowledge of content and training in teaching principles. If they want to teach a light version of exercise, as some suggest, then they still need to know enough so as not to cause injury to those in their care.