Karate Fighting is Blast!
Had a student query me about karate fighting the other day, got me thinking. He wanted to enter a stickfighting tournament. Tournaments are fun, but they are different from the street, and the same.
Fighting on the street is chaos, a struggle for survival. It takes a while to cultivate the mindset that will stay calm in combat.
Fighting in a tournament is more controlled, you can focus on one opponent, and this requires a whole different set of skills.
First, you’re going to want to load your muscles for the forward and back motion. This is a constant adjustment of foot and leg angles to provide the best traction and the most leg thrust; you need to be able to go forward fasdter than he can block, and go back faster than he can hit; and you need to be balanced between them so you don’t get caught ‘flatfooted.’
Second, you need to hair trigger your mind. You aren’t going to go on reaction time here, you are going to have to go on your ‘reads.’
Third, there ain’t no third. Fighting is that simple. Well, maybe you should do a thousand hours of various training drills to cultivate the unique mindset required for controlled war. Or all out war, if you happen to be of the street fighting sort.
Oddly, I remember when karate freestyle became a corrupt game controlled by fighters with no respect, who just wanted to fight, who didn’t want to learn about themselves.
It was a tournament over in some small town above Richmond, California. This was back in the late sixties. I was fighting in the tournament, striving for pin point control, trying to get that moment of transition from thought to action into one blink. I looked over at the next ring, and the ‘Karate sensei’ was telling his white belt fighter to run across the ring and hit his opponent. And he did.
But this wasn’t Karate fighting, this was just fighting. It was the desire to win, with no appreciation for technique, and no way to better as a human being.
I didn’t fight after that.
And, after that fighting went full contact, and would eventually go MMA. Through all the years that impression, of the karate instructor just telling his beginning student to just hit his opponent, stuck with me.
I’m sure that white belt was abused, probably lost his teeth in some dark alley brawl, and has a gnarly opinion that people listen to. Unfortunately, that opinion is worthless, for it is based on fighting, and not learning how to get over fighting in your soul.
This has been about karate fighting.