Studying Martial Arts To Learn How Not To Fight

by Alan Kandel

I have heard it said once that the greatest karateka (student) is the one that never has to use the karate skills learned in a real-life application. Maybe not these words exactly, but something to that effect.
This is a profound – and sound – thought. Think about it. One spends time – the better part of a lifetime for some – in study, learning one or more martial arts and then never, ever getting to apply any one or a number of techniques learned in martial arts training in real life? If this sounds counterintuitive, it’s not really.

Learning martial arts shouldn’t be for the purpose of testing out learned techniques on the street. To the contrary. Studying martial arts to learn how to avoid physical confrontation – that’s where it’s at! It is this ideal that martial artists should pursue.

Okay, but a person might be thinking: “What if there is just no other option – and that option being – to call upon and use what has been learned in the dojo (training hall or facility), expressly to render null and void what would otherwise be an unavoidable physical altercation?” All right, let’s expound for a moment.

I have heard and read about instances where people who have learned such martial arts skills have applied them in life. Some were with malicious intent, unfortunately. On the other hand, there are those times when the combative-art skills were resorted to only as a last resort and in doing so the actions were completely justified as in an act of self-defense, in other words.

Two such accounts were from students I once instructed.

According to what was shared, the techniques applied were summoned because no other method of conflict resolution proved effective and thus were used as a last resort. And that, from my perspective, is how it should be.

Still, I can’t help but wonder in the situations that my former students found themselves in, if working out whatever differences or disagreements there were could have been achieved with words alone. I really can’t say because I wasn’t there when the conflicts transpired. What I can say is that I will make the assumption based on what I was told that the two former students used good and sound judgment and the actions taken were the correct ones.

Aside from all this, there is good news and that is the situations were diffused and no one was seriously hurt. Yet, I am fully aware that working through differences using discussion rather than force is far better and the more preferable way to resolve conflict in my opinion.

Simply put, my whole message here is summed up thusly: Seek perfection of character, respect others and refrain from violent behavior. If others are respected and character perfection is sought, violence doesn’t happen.

Copyright © Alan Kandel. July 22, 2012.

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