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Bumping Heads

Some people respond to every problem and confrontation with violence or anger. They always "bump heads." Every little problem escalates to become a big problem with these people.

Sadly, some Karate students believe that this is the Karate way -- that a Karate student should never back down. There is a twisted saying that some aggressive people never met a fight they didn't like.

Karate should not make a student aggressive. The goal of Karate is to avoid conflict. Being skilled at self-defense does not mean that one should seek opportunities to prove it.

Ultimately, people who "bang heads" lose. A person might win this fight or that fight, but ultimately there will be someone stronger, faster, more skilled... or armed.

Discretion is usually the better part or valor.

It is one thing to fight to defend the life of a loved one. I agree with that. When your loved one's life is at stake, there is no holding back.

But too many people fight over trivial things. Your master is weak! You do not deserve your rank! You cheated in the tournament. You are an idiot!

Who cares what a crazy person says? And will fighting make his statement any less false?

I discussed this with my friend, who is an Aikido Sensei. I mentioned that I do not like to "bump heads" and would prefer to "slip" conflict if possible. He said, "that is because you were an Aikido student."

I do not think so. I believe that avoiding or slipping conflict is the way of all martial arts -- or at least it should be.

If you always bump heads, you will always have a sore head! And you will increase the likelihood that you will lose. It is better to slip the confrontation if possible.

Respectfully,

Charles C. Goodin