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The Main Thing -- Last Resort

Yesterday I asked my daughter (who is 17) what she would say if someone asked her what the main thing is in Karate. She replied, "it is used as a last resort only."

That was a good answer!

We also say "Karate ni sente nashi" or "there is no first attack in Karate." But not attacking first is not the same thing as a "last resort." If someone punches at me and I counter, that might satisfy the "no first attack" maxim. But was it "a last resort?" Could I have avoided the strike, blocked, or could I have taken action to prevent the attack in the first place (like crossing the street)?

If someone pushes me, should I kick him in the groin? Perhaps I should just let him push me and then walk or run away. I guess it depends on the push.

I know that situations are always different, but the way we teach the art, Karate is used as a last resort only. (And when it is truly "a last resort", the can is opened and anything goes.)

My daughter is correct. Good answer!

Respectfully,

Charles C. Goodin