Saturday, February 4, 2012

For the Record

For those of you who don't already know, I own and operate a karate club. I'm not the instructor, but I do most of everything else involved in running a business. 

The club is now 27 years old, and once in a while I'm still blown away by someone who refuses to allow their child to join the class, no matter how much the kid really wants to come.  The reason is that the parent thinks karate is too violent. If they would just come in and watch a class before passing that judgement, they would see that it is not.  Hockey is violent.  Apparently soccer is too, though I'm still wondering how that happened.  Karate, on the other hand, teaches you  to recognize a situation before it gets out of hand, and to get yourself out of there.  And, of course, it teaches you how to do just enough to escape just in case you didn't leave fast enough.  One could go so far as to say that karate teaches that the first rule of self defense is to run.  It certainly teaches you to avoid violence if at all possible. 

I have seen, over the years, that karate teaches self-confidence, self-control and self-discipline. I have seen kids go from being painfully shy to starring in high school musicals. I have witnessed, time and again, how the kids from the karate class consistently win at the annual science fairs and speech contests.  From time to time I hear of fights that break out at the local school, but it's never the karate kids that are involved in them. They know better. 

If you are one of these people who has this preconceived notion that karate, or any other martial art, is violent, I suggest you take yourself to the nearest class, and ask if you can watch.  If the instructor doesn't let you watch, perhaps that's not a place where you would want to leave your kids anyway.  Find another dojo. But please, don't paint the whole martial arts concept with a single brush. Especially one that doesn't even have a basis in reality.  Violent?  I don't think so!

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