Practicing classical Japanese karate in a safe and collegial setting.


You Can’t Learn it in an Afternoon

So many people or schools offer self-defense seminars. Many of them are excellent – I have delivered a number of courses and workshops over the years myself. But I always do it with some trepidation because I fear giving the participants a false sense of security. I would hate to think that someone leaving my two-hour seminar actually believes they have the tools to protect themselves in a violent altercation. They will have a few neat tricks, sure, but I make it a point to remind them, repeatedly, that they will not be indestructible killer ninjas after spending their afternoon with me.

Allow me to illustrate my point:

Imagine you were asked to deliver a short lecture on an obscure topic you know nothing about. Let’s say, the “Economics of Medieval Japan” and you have two hours to prepare. This might seem daunting at first but you have resources at your disposal. Perhaps you start with a Google search or see what Wikipedia has to offer. Then you make a trip to your local library, or perhaps you have the luxury of having access to a post-secondary institution with a Department of Economics, or even better, Asian Studies.  If you are really lucky, you might track down a professor who specializes in this stuff and is willing to chat with you. The point is that you have the tools to put together a slick, five-minute talk on this topic and dazzle your audience. However, your superficial knowledge will not allow you to field questions, provide further insight, or engage in meaningful dialogue on the topic. To fully engage with your audience, you would need many years of study and research – in other words: be an expert. The same applies to self-defense training.

Classical goju ryu karate-do is a complete and thorough system of self-defense

Your two-hour self-defence course (even with the most qualified specialist) might have been fun, entertaining, educational, and even practical. It might even give you the tools to escape a difficult situation but what happens when you attacker persists? What would you do when your small bag of tricks is empty? To defend against a determined attacker, you need the skills and depth of experience that only come with many months or years of practice – in the same way that expertise in the field of the Economics of Medieval Japan takes time to acquire.

Classical goju ryu karate-do is a complete and thorough system of self-defense that is highly practical and effective. One of the reasons it takes so long to learn is that it allows time for practice a consolidation of knowledge. Karate offers a fighting method that is highly adaptable and allows the practitioner to adjust to any situation. There is no “one size fits all” solution to a physical attack nor is it possible to have trained for every possible scenario. I once read an article about assailants in London England sneaking into public washrooms, grabbing their victims by the ankles while they sat on the throne, and dragging them under the door to mug them. The big book of karate techniques does not have a pre-designed solution to this particular situation – but it does provide the tools for a karate student to orchestrate their own defense and escape.

The Charles Fink Karate Dojo follows a time-tested curriculum that brings students from novice to expert. By training using a robust system such as goju ryu karate, students equip themselves with a wide range of tools, knowledge, and skills needed for self-defense – the hope is that they never have to use them.

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