Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Today's Quote: Goodin on The Way of Karate

I have nothing to add.

Karate is a civilian art of self defense. It is not a fighting art. It is an art to defend yourself and loved ones. The greatest virtue in Karate is to avoid violence. When violence cannot be avoided, Karate techniques are used as a last resort, and then only to the extent necessary to escape and protect life.
If you ask me who was the greatest Karate man, one name I would mention is that of Shosei Kina. In the ending days of the Battle of Okinawa, he risked his life to go out and speak to the advancing American troops. The Americans suspected that Japanese soldiers were hiding in the village. If so, they would have the village bombed or targeted for artillery. Kina Sensei was an expert of both Karate and Kobudo. We went out and met the Americans. An interpreter was called. It was a young man who had been born in Okinawa but raised in Hawaii. The interpreter instantly recognized Kina Sensei as his former Sunday School teacher.

Because of Kina Sensei's bravery, the village was spared. He risked his life -- it was known that other Okinawans who ventured out to speak to the Americans were killed.

Kina Sensei was a great Karate man because he risked his life to save the lives of others. He was great because he placed peace above violence.

One of the maxims of Karate is that "The hand is a treasure in the pocket." Gichin Funakoshi often said that "There is no first attack in Karate." Sokon Matsumura said that "Karate teaches one how not to use the hand and feet in a fight." How not to use.

The greatest Karate man is one who could avoid violence and preserve life. The greatest Karate man is one who valued peace.

As Karate students and instructors, we should always emphasize peace. When violence cannot be avoided, then Karate techniques must be used to the extent necessary. But this is a last resort. Karate people should not be looking for an excuse to fight.

Who is the best fighter? Perhaps it is the person who can fight against injustice, bigotry, and discrimination.

You can see why my quotes don't usually make it into shows about Karate.


Charles C. Goodin, in Emphasize Peace

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