“The 100 Deadliest Karate Moves” – The REAL Meaning of Karate

By Jesse | 65 Comments

Last week, while browsing some Karate books, I found a really interesting book.

It is in English, and on the front page it says (with big bold letters): “The 100 Deadliest Karate Moves”.

Dude… I just had to read a little!

I won’t do a review though. It’s seriously not necessary, and you will understand why in a second. But let me quote a little. If you are a sensitive person, you might want to skip this.

First, let’s look at some of the techniques the author thinks are especially good for self-defense.

I have not made anything up.

This is straight from the book:

15: Side Kick to Throat
Damage; crushed throat, broken Adam’s apple. Result: attacker will die unless given immediate medical attention.

16: Side Kick to Jaw
Damage: broken jaw, loss of consciousness. Result: attacker will be knocked out for several minutes, require medical attention.

19: Side Kick to Heart
Damage: crushed or cracked chest, broken sternum, possibly stopped heart. Result: attacker will be unable to breathe for several minutes; may die.

20: Side Kick to Back of Head
Damage: broken neck, loss of consciousness. Result: attacker will be knocked out, usually permanently crippled; may die.

23: Roundhouse to Temple (toes directly contact temple)
Damage: cracked skull, nerve damage, blood stoppage to brain. Result: attacker will be knocked out, may go into a fit or delirium.

33: Knee Drop to Heart
Damage: heart will be stopped, rib cage crushed, lungs punctured. Result: attacker will usually die unless given immediate medi- cal help.

34: Stomp to Heart
Damage: stopped heart, cracked or crushed chest, punctured lungs. Result: attacker will usually die unless given immediate medical attention.

36: Stomp to Throat
Damage: crushed throat. Result: attacker will usually die unless given immediate medical attention.

Okay, now you get the idea.

Hilarious!

But, a Karate book wouldn’t be complete without some street fighting applications, right? Right. Well, the book has loads of those!

I quote (this is exactly what the book says):

Situation One: You are standing by your car ready to get in when an attacker with a crowbar tries to kill you. Response: You have several courses of action. You may turn quickly and snap a FRONT KICK into his throat.

Situation Two: You are getting into your car with your wife when two thugs attack you with a crowbar, trying to kill you. Response: You both react with kicks; the man with a SIDE KICK to the face; the woman with a BACK KICK to the groin. You then finish them off with STOMPS to the throat and neck.

Situation Four: A woman is walking down the street when a would-be rapist grabs her. Response: She reacts with a ROUNDHOUSE to the groin. She continues to turn and thrusts a HEEL KICK to the throat, kicking him down where she finishes him off with a STOMP to the head.

Situation Six: You are at the cash wash when two men jump you and manage to grab you. One gets you into a bear hug. Response: You react to the one in front of you with a SNAP KICK to the groin.Then you do a REAR LIFT KICK to the groin of the man holding you.The come around with an ELBOW SMASH to his face, knocking him down.You finish him with a STOMP to the face, with the other one you use a SHUTO to the throat [picture of you kneeling down and executing the unconscious attacker with a SHUTO to the throat].

Okay, that’s enough.

Are you feeling sick? Or are you rolling around the floor laughing? I was, when I read this the first time. And mind you, you haven’t even seen the illustrations yet (everyone wears Speedos)! By the way, very important fact (as stated in the book): the author is a 5th degree black belt, and holds a Dr. title!

Well…

Here’s what I think:

This is not Karate.

Sure, the techniques might be similar to Karate techniques. The Japanese terminology used here and there (shuto etc.) might be similar to Karate. The book might be similar to a real Karate book and the author’s degree might be similar to a Karate degree….

But the rest is just…

Killing.

In fact, if you ask me, the book should really be titled “The 100 Best Moves For Killing Somebody”!

Don’t you agree?

Mr. Miyagi would be very disappointed in you…

And besides, when is (for example) “#20: Side Kick to Back of Head” ever self-defense?

To me, Karate is nothing but pure self-defense.

And hey, if you are standing behind somebody, and somehow manage to whip up a side kick (in your tight jeans), to the back of somebody’s head, that’s not really self-defense. I mean, c’mon, how is the back of somebody a threat? Just run the heck away?!

(If you really must attack people violently from behind, why not just kick them between the legs? Or simply trip them over? Or choke them? Or bend their arm the wrong way? Or sweep their legs away? All of those, combined (!), are waaaaay easier (and more humane!) than doing a side kick to the back of the head. Just sayin’.)

And yo… do we even have to mention the rest of the techniques?

Stomp to the head, heart, throat, face…

That’s not anywhere near Karate.

In fact, it’s etaraK.

The opposite of Karate.

Yet… I must admit something. I have seen those exact moves in demonstrations here in Okinawa, the birtplace of Karate. No, I am not kidding.

There is ONE certain big organization (no names mentioned) that always finishes their Karate (self-defense, remember?) demonstrations with violent stomps to the head, throat and groin of the downed attacker. Apparently, they think this is Karate – the “peaceful way of the empty hand”.

Well, I think it’s disgustingthe “violent way of the empty head”.

To put it another way, my own Okinawan Karate and Kobudo teacher (holder of the hanshi 10th dan degree) sometimes says this (in very basic “Japlish”):

“Karate and Kobudo is not for killing. Because after the fight, you can be friends.”

He truly believes that Karate and Kobudo (Kobudo is the art of using those deadly, sharp weapons, remember?) is used to help people who have ‘swayed off’ the path of peace. The idea is that you just use a little force, simply to bring them back to the ‘right’ path again, and then you can continue to walk it…

…together.

Personally, I think that is a great philosophy.

And that, to me, is what Karate should be all about.

___

PS. And if you ever feel the need to read a REAL Karate book, just read this.

About the author

is a self-titled Karate Nerd™, best-selling martial arts writer, unreasonably handsome elite athlete, autodidact, karatepreneur and carrot cake aficionado. He really thinks you should become a Karate Nerd™ too.

65 Comments

  1. Oliver

    June 22, 2009 at 2:37 am

    So true…

    By the way, I just have to ask -- what was the #1 deadliest attack? :D

  2. Jim

    June 22, 2009 at 2:06 pm

    …sometimes you have to be cruel to be kind…

    • jen

      March 19, 2014 at 12:03 pm

      wow man but don’t forget this showing pain is showing weakness to your opponent

  3. Jesse

    June 22, 2009 at 4:14 pm

    @Oliver:

    They were not ordered like that, it was just “here are the 100 most deadly moves”. All of them are number 1!

    @Jim: Sure, but there is a limit to cruelty too.

  4. Chetanya M

    June 26, 2009 at 11:45 am

    When someone slaps u at the back of ur head,what should you do?what would be your immediate response?

    • Szilard

      November 23, 2010 at 8:31 pm

      Well, if they slap me with a sidekick in the back of my head, I will slowly collapse to the ground. There are several more techniques that executed at the back of my head would trigger the same deadly response from me. Now if it is just a friendly slap, then there is no need to get violent. Friendly slaps to the back of the head were everyday signs of comradery in the army. Now if it is an attack, but it got so messed up that I survived it, I mean come on, the guy has a clean shot at me from the back and can not take me down, then I clearly have nothing to fear, just turn quick by stepping away, and do some simple control moves, chances are this assailant will have some more self-defeating moves in his repertoire, so it is more of a concern not to hurt him too bad in the process, than winning the fight.
      We got once a lecture from a lawyer and a policeman in the dojo. One of the point they came up with was that if you kill your assailant, the tables might turn in court if his family has a good attorney. The best is some kind of attack that disables him but for the general public doesn’t seem to be much. for example kicking repeatedly in the outside of the thigh is good; while kicking in the throat is very bad. The less intention of killing and crippling can be read into your moves, the better your chances are if it gets to a court. And it gets to the court surprisingly often. The bad guys are sore loosers.

  5. Jesse

    June 26, 2009 at 12:51 pm

    @Chetanya M:

    I think the natural response is to bend forward a little, raise both hands and turn around?

    I don’t understand what that has got to do with the post…

  6. Bengan

    June 26, 2009 at 8:51 pm

    If someone slapped me on the back of my head I would probably…

    turn around and BREAK HIS FACE WITH A HEADBUTT while I GRAB HIS NUTS AND TWIST EM THE F*** OFF followed by GOUGING HIS EYES OUT WITH MY THUMBS and then right on the spot SNAP HIS NECK OFF. After that I would of course SIDE KICK HIM TO THE THROAT, because that is karate, AND WHEN HE LIES THERE CRYING IN PAIN I WOULD STOMP HIS HEART OUT and finish with a KNEE-DROP on his forehead.

    I think I learned this from a book… ;)

  7. Kj

    July 6, 2009 at 12:20 am

    Jesse I think you have been misguided.

    Yes I have read this book and felt it was a boat load of crap but it did have some information which is true.

    Although your comments on karate are very negitive.

    Karate originated from okinawa and the techniques in karate are meant for killing.
    Infact the principle of karate is one hit one kill.

    Does not always mean you have to kill your opponent.

    you have the choice to either put your opponent in a lock, stun him, break his bones, or even kill him but that is your choice.

    I am not trying to justify this book but the title did mention deadliest …. i have seen the other books from this same author and most of them make me want to laugh cause i know for a fact he wont last in a real street fight with opponents with knifes and guns.

    But you cannot generalise the idea that karate is not violence.

    Karate has and will always be violence.

    Martial arts… means the art of killing not making friends

    peace

  8. Jesse

    July 6, 2009 at 2:29 am

    @Kj

    I’m sad you feel that way.

    • stealth is my aka for pilot and things

      January 23, 2014 at 12:12 pm

      i kno ur right that karate made for self deffense but i dont kno karate i learned some very little basics but i kno street fighting and enough to defend my self but would love to learn karate and i kno its not ment to kill just to get out of danger c i fought to prove to help my freinds and fam to not be harmed never killed the attacker i knew it was wrong to kill ur opponent because what u said its not good to kill unless u are in a war zone like military but i would like to learn karate if u could help me find some one in lynn ma thats good to teach i like to kno t u but alot of people think karate is about killing not defense i kno ur right some people dont under stand it so dont let him bother u his opinion is wrong but that guy learn that the hard way trust me karma works in mysterious ways

  9. kj

    July 6, 2009 at 9:06 pm

    And I for you feel that way.

  10. Oliver

    July 7, 2009 at 12:07 am

    Kj,

    Karate is not made for killing, karate is made for surviving.

    The army teaches how to kill. Karate was trained by civilians who wanted to defend themself, these civilians (peasants/merchants etc) were not taught to kill but to survive. They didn’t fight any wars or battles.

    The samurai on the other hand, who were in the army, or todays soldiers, are being taught to kill. (and they are not being taught karate)

  11. Jesse

    July 7, 2009 at 1:45 am

    @Kj

    Karate was not made for killing, but can certainly be used for killing (as we see in the “100 Deadliest…” book). The original purpose was purely from a civilian self-defence point of view.

    If Karate is about killing, then half of Harlem’s ghetto would be Hanshi 10th Dan, and the first person on Okinawa with a gun would be the greatest Karate master who ever lived.

  12. James

    July 18, 2009 at 8:15 am

    Haha very well said regarding the harlem ghetto. I think that the philosophy you mentioned before about getting people back on track through karate is one that all true practitioners should consider before confrontation with an opponent. I do think that when someones life is in danger that a side kick to the throat may become necessary but that avoiding such violence should be the first option. By the way great vids on youtube and great articles.

  13. Jesse

    July 18, 2009 at 9:55 am

    Hi James,

    Thank you!

    • John

      February 24, 2011 at 7:17 am

      Actually, because karate contains these techniques, it truly is considered karate. Karate may have not been made to kill, but it can be used if you have nothing else. There are some messed up people who stop at nothing but to kill a person. The pain they feel is different than what we would feel (if they’re insane). If there is no other choice, then I would strongly suggest using a move to kill. Even if it does go against your personal definition of karate.

  14. Dehdesh

    August 15, 2009 at 5:01 pm

    Methinks this is more like the martial side of martial arts.

    If I may throw out a hypothetical situation.

    Your only transport is by foot. You are attacked in an alley. Here are the first 5 choices that come to mind (not in any order).
    1. Kill
    2. KO (which could result in option 1 do to brain bleed or suffocation [if submitting them] etc.)
    3. Incapacitate (risk of death by blood loss)
    4. Hide (probably the best choice if you don’t want to damage your attacker, but he doesn’t really learn anything accept “Well, maybe I can get the next guy” either that or he finds you)
    5. Weapons(tazer, pepper spray, surroundings. May result in having your cards played against you)

    Options 1 and 2 are usually the most obvious choices due to the fact that they can be achieved by simply striking in “soft” spots, or choking off vital air supply to the brain.

    Option 3 is less obvious, but can easily be achieved. It is hard to chase someone with a broken leg. After having taken him to the ground (There is a bunch of ways to do that). Simply slip your leg inside your opponents leg (this is similar to “leg riding” in wrestling, except you slip your opposite leg into your opponents leg). From there pull his ankle to his butt. the tibia and fibula should make a funny popping sound if done correctly. This prevents the opponent from chasing you when you go to run away, and he will have to go through plenty of surgeries and muscle rehabilitation before he can attack anyone ever again. (If he ever thinks about attacking anyone ever again) Also, call an ambulance for him so he doesn’t end up dieing of malnutrition in an alley

    Option 4 is obvious, but less likely to work. If he’s faster than you he will see where you try to hide. If he finds you and you’re back is not to a wall he may try to attack from behind. You can rough him up a bit and hide, but that gives him more incentive to find you if you don’t do enough damage to scare him off. Although there are plenty more variables to consider.

    Option 5 is great if you can keep your opponent from using your weapons against you, which shouldn’t be a problem if you know how to use your surroundings as a weapon. If you have poor grip don’t use weapons as your opponent will probably be able to take them from you.

    Note that all this data was written at 8 A.M. and I have not yet went to sleep since Friday so I may have overlooked several variables, and this post could probably use much improvement. I’m sure breaking a bone isn’t the best choice, but I can’t think of anything better at the moment. (Gah I need to go to sleep)

  15. Dehdesh

    August 15, 2009 at 5:12 pm

    and the first person on Okinawa with a gun would be the greatest Karate master who ever lived.

    Also, I noticed “GUN” which does not fit the “empty hand” quota.

  16. jack

    August 24, 2009 at 8:13 pm

    Hello --

    Just stumbled onto your site and couldn’t resist replying to the idea proposed above.

    I studied Goju-Ryu more than 50 years ago, under Sesnsei Toguchi Seikichi, in his original dojo on Okinawa. Sensei Toguchi was one of the most peaceful and uncombative persons I’ve ever encountered, but he certainly taught a lot of deadly techniques. He had been taught those techniques, by the way, by his own instructor, Sensei Miyagi himself.

    Many of those techniques were taught at first in slightly different, less destructive form, then later if the student seemed stable and trustworthy, more serious variations on the techniques would be taught which were extremely destructive. As the student progressed into the more advanced techniques, he would be taught the actual, seriously destructive forms without first going through the preliminary, less destructive application.

    That’s why there was no such thing as karate competition on Okinawa at the time — at least, not in Goju-Ryu schools. The idea was that students would become reflexively capable of employing whatever level of violence was necessary to defend himself against attack, without having to first consider whether he was in a real fight where there were no rules, or in a tournament where he would have rules to obey.

    Later on, just as Judo was a transformation away from the most destructive techniques of Jiu-Jitsu, karate began transforming itself away from its most effective techniques, in order that there could be competitions, with rules.

    Whether one wishes to study karate in its original, destructive form, or on the other hand wishes to study karate in its less destructive, competition form is up to the individual, and I would criticise no one for choosing to teach, or to study, either type. I don’t think it’s correct, however, to suggest that in its original form, karate was anything but a terribly destructive art, capable of inflicting serious damage and/or death.

    Just one other comment; although seriously out of practice after many years away from the dojo, I believe that I am still capable of defending myself, and of inflicting serious or deadly damage if necessary. However, I also believe that if I were ever to enter a competiton I would be beaten badly, as I would have to forgo my most effective techniques, and would have to constantly be thinking about what I would and would not be allowed to do against the opponent, rather than just reflexively defending myself to the best of my (now admittedly diminished) ability.

  17. deera bazooka

    August 26, 2009 at 10:01 am

    that’s… gross.

    karate is self defense and karate teaches us to be patient and not to kill people unless we really had to. like war or something.
    but if we accidentally killed someone only by some karate moves, there’s nothing much we can do. after all, the world now is very dangerous. you can’t trust people very, very much. you have to be alert. and sometimes we have to kill for self defense. but it’s better if we only traumatize the person who’s trying to attack us. only use killing when we really need to. :-D

  18. Michal

    January 23, 2010 at 11:43 pm

    whers the rest of the moves

    • Jesse

      January 24, 2010 at 5:49 pm

      In the book.

  19. Chris

    April 14, 2010 at 9:21 pm

    Good point about the kick to the back of the head!

    I have only been training (shotokan) for 9 months, but I am absolutely loving it (hence discovering the videos of Karate by Jesse on Youtube) and very much agree with the idea that it should be used for defence and isn’t “violent”.

    “Violent” implies aggression, which is not what karate is about, the way I see it. I’m finding it is simply providing me with more confidence. Both for life in general and for those nights when I might be walking back to mine from a night out. I’m not going to be looking for a fight, but if someone should try any monkey-business I’m far less likely to go to pieces!

    Also @Jesse, I wouldn’t consider your comments on karate to be “negative” because you say it shouldn’t be used for killing (see Kj’s post), I think that is a positive way of describing karate. Well done!

    Your site has me well and truly transfixed!

  20. Batman

    July 1, 2010 at 2:50 am

    I remember getting this book in ebook pdf format years ago. Couldn’t read the whole thing. I found it laughable, but now I’m a touch more mature, I do find it sickening. There’s a lot more to martial arts than hitting/injurying/killing/EXECUTING (shuto to the throat of a downed opponent??) people who annoy you. The author, doctor and black belt or not, has seen far too many movies, and not even good ones..

  21. mark

    July 4, 2010 at 1:45 am

    surely the single main aim of any military martial art is to defeat an enemy/attacker/opponent in the shortest time causing the maximum damage thus eliminating the threat to you .and giving you the fitness skills stamina to do this . unless you are doing it for fitness or mental well being and are ok that your techniques are not something your life can depend on should the need arise,

    • Tibz

      July 4, 2010 at 11:36 am

      I disagree. First the point of martial arts is to defeat an attacker, and not any enemy or opponent. At least thats my point of view.
      Secondly, there is no need to inflict maximum damage to the attacker in order to eliminate the threat. Jûdô and Aikidô are perfect examples of this in my opinion; as powerful as they can be, the attacker is controlled “peacefully” without having to resort to things like a kick to the head or a shuto at the throat.

      • mark

        July 4, 2010 at 6:27 pm

        the need to end any conflict quickly is a main aim surely, if we say we are not using the arts for military reasons and a self defence situation needs the use of skills i still feel that ending the fight quickly and effectively first is of importance, restraining someone intent on doing you harm is harder than you may realise training in your safe dojo and what happens when your attacker has friends that may join in, can you restrain them all effectively ..i think not, its the same as the bjj ill choke you out argument, yeah while getting a kick or stamp on the head from a would be attackers mate who has no moral code to work to,

      • Rick

        October 18, 2012 at 10:09 pm

        I am a Goju Ryu Karateka, I have been practicing martial arts for six years. At my dojo, we see Judo, Brazilian Jiujitsu, Box, along with Karate, in order to compliment it. I have also practiced Wing Chun, and Shaolin Kung Fu.

        I’ll start by commenting how disgraced I am when I see people speaking of karate like it has been portrayed in the movies. The creator of this thread even said karate means “peaceful way of the empty fist”, that is not correct. Karate was developed in the Ryukyu islands (Okinawa) and was originally called TE, which simply means fist or hand, then it was called chinese hand when it adapted chinese styles to perfect it, although it was later changed to kara(meaning empty)te. A very notable style was Naha-Te developed by Kanryo Higaonna, which is an original okinawan style that is now Goju Ryu.

        Unlike what the creator of this thread has stated, karate was originally intended to utterly destroy enemies with no mercy, and was used to fight the Japanese when they invaded Okinawa. What the creator probably speaks of, is Bushido, which is not part of the original karate, it was brought to Okinawa by samurai. I am very unsatisfied with ignorance regarding karate when people suggest it is a peaceful martial art like portrayed in the movies. Most of the techniques are built around methods of destroying the opponent by blinding them (Ippon Ken, Nukite, Washide, Nakadaka Ken, etc)using wrists are weapons (kakuto uchi) and elbows, knees, you name it.

        Judo is not peaceful at all, do you have any idea how badly the opponents are damaged when they fall on pavement? The judo techniques still hurt when done with tatami, people have died in competitions and training or have broken their necks, they had to make some techniques illegal due to the danger in involved in the techniques, such as Daki Age, Kawazu Dake, Kani Basami, etc.

        Please get your facts straight.

        • Darshan

          October 19, 2012 at 2:35 am

          I agree with you, a true martial art need violence and
          self-defence is only an illusion.

          (Look at my comments above)

  22. Chris

    July 4, 2010 at 1:00 pm

    I’m with you Tibz. First off I wouldn’t describe karate as a military martial art as it was originally developed by monks in India for self defence if I remember correcty.

    Secondly, you can stop an aggressor without inflicting max damage. A good kick to thensolar plexus will have someone on the floor for plenty long enough to let you make your escape without killing them.

    That said, if someone was attacking my girlfriend i would do what it took to make them
    Stop.

  23. DojoRat

    July 6, 2010 at 7:41 am

    It is easy to see why most people, whether or not they practise martial arts are reluctant to causing another human being injury that could maim or kill. That is why normal sane people are disgusted by what is shown in the book. It may be disgusting to contemplate, but this book has essential information. This book is not for everyone and I would not recommend it for beginners or immature karateka. It is important to know what kind of injury a technique can cause in order to judge if the defense situation calls for it. There is a very big difference between a mugger and someone or a group hell-bent on killing you. The techniques in the book are quite obviously meant to be used in only the most extreme cases of assault where the attacker`s intent is simply and purely the bloody murder of yourself or your loved ones. Killing or maiming techniques like the ones shown are rarely needed(unless you live in a very violent environment or a war zone) as most attackers can be stopped with just enough pain to make them give up. Especially if they are `normal and sane` people whose intention is anything less than murder

    • mark

      July 6, 2010 at 11:37 pm

      i agree with the above and would add that practising techniques without the knowledge and understanding of the damage they will cause could have very bad consequences..

      nerve damage, main artery damage ect could all result from improper use of a seemingly simple move,

      i understand this book was not intending teaching this and was a bit thug ish in its direction but felt the point close to topic,

      • DojoRat

        July 7, 2010 at 4:45 pm

        Perhaps the `thuggish` direction of the book was intentional to emphasize the type of threat that would call for maiming or killing an attacker and the relative ease of doing it with techniques that are commonly learned and practised in martial arts often without realizing their potential. An intermediate or advanced martial artist with no idea of the damage he can potentially inflict and difficulty controlling himself is more dangerous than an expert with fighting experience who know exactly how easily and seriously he can destroy another human body.

  24. Dan

    August 31, 2010 at 2:21 am

    How is the side kick to the back of the head reprehensible, but according to you Motobu’s kick to the spine to an attacker who threatened him at dinner was arguably alright? Just saying.

    • Jesse

      August 31, 2010 at 12:14 pm

      I definitely think Motobu’s kick to the spine was overkill! I mean, he wasn’t like the rest of us. But on the other hand, his opponent was armed with a butcher knife…

      And oh, he is a Karate legend, so we can’t argue with anything he does ;)

      And kicking to the head is just pointless when you can easily kick to the back/groin with nearly the same result.

      But you have a point!

  25. Igors

    January 1, 2011 at 7:25 pm

    This book was printed during Karate bum! about at 1960′s and arranged to be sold as much as possible.
    I think this is essence of this book, not to be the handbook for Karate trainings.

  26. hans

    March 24, 2011 at 10:51 am

    Dr. Ted Gambordella has his own website. Checked him out. He appears to be a sucsesful businessman.

  27. Raddon

    June 8, 2011 at 12:47 am

    I would venture, in my humble opinion, that this IS in fact karate. As much as any other aspect or viewpoint. The idea of refraining from harming others, even those who may in the eyes of some deserve it, is a noble one which I agree with and wish everyone the world over subscribed to. But I do believe that many erroneously see karate as a moral guidebook that incorporates these additional ethical stances that were possibly never intended, and certainly don’t exist in comparable systems. Eastern martial arts are often taught side-by-side with these venerable moral standpoints, possibly due to their historical linkage with Buddhism & eastern philosophy, but does that make it an inate part of the arts? To compare, modern firearms techniques/systems have no higher ethical ideals in them as they are used as much by terrorist organisations as by our brave police & armed services. Don’t get me wrong, I think these ideals are fantastic and should be more widely taught in martial arts and indeed everywhere else, but I don’t believe they are such an indigenous part of karate that they make a kekato-geri to an unconscious assailant (as wrong as it may be) NOT karate.

  28. Raddon

    June 8, 2011 at 1:01 am

    As an aside, we also don’t know who the book was intended for (this is a longshot, but just to illustrate my point…). Ok, its probably intended to be read by an everyday person who may be accosted by a thug on the street (in which case, behaving in a manner described in the book blurs the line somewhat between you and the thug). But what if the book was being read by a soldier- an infantryman destined for Iraq or Afghanistan who’s job it is to protect the many by fighting the few; a few who’s aim will undoubtedly be to kill him? When facing such a situation (brushing aside the issue of why he does not have his weapon), would kicking his opponent in the spine still not be considered karate? Even though the alternative is certain death from an opponent whom at that moment you are the only thing standing between him and doing more harm to other people?

  29. samara

    June 21, 2011 at 9:49 am

    hi everyone this is so funny all of this

    i just wanna say; holy jeez, u are all phsyco!!

  30. paul pettett

    July 12, 2011 at 9:41 am

    if any one attacks you… lethal response should be the only response.

  31. jack

    July 24, 2011 at 10:43 pm

    It is not in my usual nature to make characterizations about people’s personalities, but after following this conversation for quite a long time now, I have to say that it seems to me that the world of karate has been heavily infiltrated by some horribly unrealistic, and astonishingly prissy persons.

    Look – karate, like most asian martial arts, was created for the purpose of survival in a violent, kill-or-be-killed world. There were bandits, rapists and even worse, there was no such thing as 9-1-1, and the police, if any existed, were there to protect the wealthy and powerful, and to put down the rest of us. Karate, along with the other forms, was created to enable the targets of violent assault to meet that violence with greater violence, to meet murderous assault with faster – and deadlier – response.

    Unfortunately, many who know karate only in its more recent, tournament form, rulebound and with all its most destructive and deadly techniques forbidden, view it as a contest in courtesy and gentility.

    There have been great karate masters – notably Sensei Seikichi Toguchi, who both valued and taught courtesy and respect, but who viewed those characteristics as proper lifestyle elements especially for martial artists who had achieved mastery of those most violent, destructive and deadly techniques, not as substitutes for them.

    Look – suppose we’d been part of the first wave at Omaha Beach. The defenders of the Reich are pouring intense fire down upon us from heavy machine guns and mortars. Suddenly, we find we’ve got one of the machine gunners in our sights. Does anyone on this forum think that the appropriate thing to do would be to skip a round politely off the top of his helmet, so as to encourage the gunner to stop what he’s doing and be nice to us, or would it be to put one between the fellow’s eyes, however distasteful we might find such an act?

    Karate had its origins in deadly violence. Its original techniques, like its original intents, were intensely violent. To pretend otherwise is to ignore history.

    I have no quarrel with anyone who prefers to study karate techniques and then to decline to use them to their fullest potential. As for me, if I am being subjected to deadly attack, with help from the nearest SWAT team mere hours away, I will feel no compunction whatever against using the most destructive and deadly techniques in my personal arsenal, until the threat has been neutralized.

    To each his own, as far as utilization of the art is concerned. But again, it is simply wrong to claim that deadly violence was not at the start — and at the heart — of the Okinawan combat form which came to be known as karate.

    • Jesse

      July 25, 2011 at 5:15 am

      This is a really old article, but comments keep pouring in. Funny thing is, I asked Nakamoto Masahiro, hanshi 10th dan (and one of Okinawa’s most prominent Karate & Kobudo researchers/authors) the other day about this subject, and he quite bluntly told me that the top reasons Karate was never made for “killing” was because 1. Okinawa is such a small island and 2. everyone has huge families. Kill somebody and you will quickly have fifty relatives to that guy hunting you down in no time, resulting in a vicious cycle of revenge. Teach the guy a lesson instead, and he will be too humiliated to ever mention the incident to anyone!

  32. Darshan

    August 16, 2011 at 3:28 am

    “Are you feeling sick?” NO! I’m laughing!

    Before being pointlessly violent these techniques are almost impossible to apply in a real fight!

    And the photos are amazing! look at “Eighty-Seven: Punch to Temple” look his wrist! punching that way will crack it! or the “Sixteen: Side Kick to Jaw” and “Forty-Two: Heel Kick to Temple” where he is leaning on the wall for balancing
    LOL even he can use his own techniques! who is this guy?

    Thank you! now i have another book in the “funny & useless” folder.

    PS: sorry for my English

  33. Darshan

    August 16, 2011 at 5:11 pm

    and… about the violence debate… Karate IS violent, any martial art is violent.
    A wingchun master once said this:

    Self-defence is only an illusion, a dark cloak beneath which lurks a razor-sharp dagger waiting to be plunged into the first unwary victim. Whoever declares that any weapon manufactured today,whether it be a nuclear missile or a .38 special, is created for selfdefence,should look a little more closely in the mirror. He is either a liar or is deceiving himself.

    Wing Chun kung fu is a very sophisticated weapon – nothing else. It is a science of combat, the intent of which is the total incapacitation of an opponent. It is straightforward, efficient and deadly. If you’re looking to learn self-defence, don’t study Wing Chun.

    It would bebetter for you to master the art of invisibility.

  34. José de Freitas

    September 19, 2011 at 7:35 pm

    I think one of the misunderstandings about the martial arts has to do with the goal of each martial art. Basically, Self-defense is different from Dueling and different from Combat. Combat is war, and anything goes, so mostly it’s weapons and killing, if needed, your enemy. Dueling can have many levels of violence. Self-defense is the opposite, the goal is to survive the fight, not to prolong it or to engage in “dick sizing contests”. Karate faals somewhere between self-defense and dueling (or “fighting” if you will, with rules and expectations). It’s a civilian system. It is meant not to kill -although it can -- but to survive. It is not meant to WIN. It is meant to SURVIVE. Period. Like most chinese civilian systems (ie. most systems of gongfu today).

    You guys should read Rory Miller’s Meditations on Violence.

  35. Dave

    November 10, 2011 at 3:35 am

    Late to the part i know…

    i’ve seen a number of books like this over time and i agree with Jesse in that these books dont embody the essence of karate-do

    notice i mentioned “…do” ie the way of the empty hand as opposed to the jutsu/jitsu suffix.

    the reality is that most karateka are not in a position to kill anyone with one technique, or even a few. i say most, sometimes you can be unlucky. those “one punch, one kill” people need to have a serious look at themselves, what motivates them and what their intentions are (join the foreign legion, theyre always killing people somewhere around the world)

    as for how much to retaliate, enough to effect your escape and proportional to the violence being enacted upon you is a fairly safe bet unless you fancy sharing a prison cell with a fellow called Bubba!

    sometimes fatalities occur despite the best intentions, these matters are for the judicial system. as for the rest of the time, just like we control the impact of our technique in the dojo, use some discretion and control in the rest of your life…oh and dont wear speedos in the dojo please!

    dave

    • Carlos

      May 22, 2012 at 4:52 am

      Lee was ‘pound for pound the best martial asrtit i’ve ever seen’ I know thats only comparing fighters, and not styles, but if you look at JKD it’s much more ‘street ready’ than american kenpo.

  36. Dannte

    November 30, 2011 at 11:15 pm

    Hello to all my fellow martial artist and karateka espesially. This is a very interesting discussion. Im a war vet having served 8 yrs in the Army and a tour of duty in Iraq during operarion iraq freedom 2. I was there when it was still a conflict (smile). I was a convoy security gunner and a military bodyguard. I am also a trained shuri ryu black belt under Shihan Chester Richardson who is a trained police officer and has used his skill many rimes in the streets. On one occassion my sensei severly cripple a man trying to rob him after his shift was over. His karate skill was brutal , lethal and made for the streets. He made sure to teach us the philisophical and meditative npart of traditional karate as well but as a teacher he made sure his students who were young inner city youth could protect themselves and family should the need arise. Living in the ghetto as a youth Ive used the pratical side of karate many times and because of good tradional hardcore training Im still nhere thank God. Real karate is grimy and ugly and in its most extreme usage for the sake of survival it can be a tool for survival and yes killing. Im not telling you what I heard.Sadly my friends Im telling Im telling you what I know. Old school karate is definitly the truth. In the spirit of true karate and to every warrior who has graced this page….Osu !

  37. Whitey Mc.StinkStink

    January 26, 2012 at 8:18 pm

    Karate as it is taught today is often times not deadly at all. It’s called EMPTY hand for a reason. Most of the old principles and ways of using waza was kept away from the public(and the Japanese). Tudi/Toudi/Todi(however u wanna spell it), is another matter entirely though. Tudi was a VERY destructive and VERY deadly Chinese/Uchinanchu LIFE PROTECTION ART. In severe enough circumstances, life protection may mean killing someone and to rule out this possibility for some sort of “Japanese/Zen/Do-bullshit” would just be stupid. HOWEVER… to kill any and every attacker that comes your way is far more ignorant. In many occasions (but certainly not always) something as simple as a swift toe to the groin would stop an attacker, and they will live to tell the story and may learn something from the experience. MY POINT IS… to train in a LIFE PROTECTION ART and rule out any possibility of protecting yourself or your family is stupid. “”You can spend years forging and sharpening a sword and you can test your sword on objects (Makiwara and such) to see just how sharp, but this does not mean that you have to cut someone’s head off just to see if your sword is sharp, if you train right you’ll have no doubts about your swords”” There are still quite a few family systems left in Okinawa that teach what Karate was originally before the Japanese got their hands on it…. but you’ll likely never find them… and if you do you’ll probably wish you hadn’t unless they come to you

  38. Stuart

    April 5, 2012 at 5:19 pm

    Old book by Ted Gambordella. Unfortunately his garbage output is still going strong.

  39. Haley

    April 11, 2012 at 11:43 pm

    This is a cool site

  40. daveconopio

    June 1, 2012 at 6:54 pm

    i love karate couse iam just a kid iam 9 years old and i like karate moves that kill so i cod beit up the bully

  41. Darshan

    June 1, 2012 at 10:46 pm

    You don’t need fancy moves that should kill, you need moves that work!
    Move that work without injuring too much.
    Ask your sensei and don’t try that stuff.

  42. Dale

    June 3, 2012 at 3:47 pm

    hi i have been studing Okinawan Go-Juu Ryuu karate for about 3years and i have found that karate is a very spiritual sport you dont need those techneques to kill just use a combination of kinie geri yoko geri mawashi geri and shuto

  43. Eduard

    August 9, 2012 at 3:26 am

    Very interesting discussion (much more so than the book). I for one am more than interested in learning as many aspects of karate as possible (provided the source is of good quality).
    As far as the actual application, all I can say is Ive been in 3 really really tough spots. Once I was being attacked in a store I worked near my dojo during summer, all I did was break the counter and chase the thug away. Pure smoke and mirrors no punches no one was hurt. But, had I not done something I could have been stabbed.
    Another time 3 guys tried to mug me. I ran like a beheaded chicken looking for either help or a tactical advantage. Worked, again no actual violence (guys got tired of chasing me).
    Last time was with a guy who was nicknamed “Toro” or bull. The guy was an employee of my uncle but long story short he became the leader of local gang of thugs and I had to get him out of my property. Ill tell you the guy was strong and usually nowhere near his senses. Plus he licked ice picks. I had a hammer in my hand, but again got away with smoke and mirrors. And I’m glad too because one punch of that guy and I wouldn’t be typing this (stunned and ice picked away). So if you find yourself in that (3rd) situation you do what you need to or that’s it. No second chances and no judges. Thankfully a bit of bluffing was more than sufficient.
    However most of the time being mindful of your surroundings, keeping an eye on your watch and being tolerant towards others (or distracting them and getting away) is all you could ever need. If things get really, really tough you might have to calm people down. And when violence is imminent, making your determination evident through your behavior may be more than enough. If not, then and only then do you act and with as much force as needed for the situation (hopefully a good push and sprint to the door might do it, a little bit can go a long way).
    I don’t practice to become a killer (watching Dexter and playing Doom are enough for me). I practice because I love being fit, being with my friends and learning as much as I can among other things. In the end I hate bullying and wouldn’t like to be part of the problem ever, but I also love all of karate’s methods for torturing sandbags and BOBs and gladly embrace them.

  44. neilsareen

    October 20, 2012 at 6:15 pm

    That is rwally freaky i know karate bit i am only a gold belt my master is a 4th degree bkack belt karate

  45. Stephen

    February 9, 2013 at 3:34 am

    Surely, in a situation where the assailant is attacking with intent to do serious harm “a little force, simply to bring them back to the ‘right’ path again” is not sufficient. Very philosophical and definitely a lovely way to live one’s life, but really? In any altercation I’ve even been in since starting karate I have done my utmost to injure my opponent. There’s no real higher aim. Not to teach them a lesson or to bring them back to the right path. I simply lack the ability to fight without throwing everything into it. Finishing them with a stomp may be excessive but if a punch is delivered with anything less than total intention to kill (Ikken Hissatsu anyone?) then it’s worthless. That’s my two cents anyway.

  46. Chuck

    February 22, 2013 at 7:36 am

    Master Ken would re-stomp the groin………

  47. Sebastiaan

    May 11, 2013 at 1:19 am

    Hi all,

    My 2 cents:

    “Karate wasn’t made for killing! Next to that, the situations described in the book (didn’t read it though) aren’t realistic. Why kick Jodan when you can kick Gedan or punch Jodan?

    In the worst case, violence comes unexpected and thus you are unprepared (physically and mentally) to respond as described.”

    Hope the author gets new insights.

    Regards,

    Sebastiaan

  48. tanija

    June 21, 2013 at 11:05 pm

    why would someone hurt someone by killing why is people messed up is it because they think there better i guess not the just want to kill and hurt others the people should be ashamed:{

  49. Nicole

    January 2, 2014 at 4:26 pm

    ‘Karate and Kobudo is used to help people who have ‘swayed off’ the path of peace. The idea is that you just use a little force, simply to bring them back to the ‘right’ path again, and then you can continue to walk it…

    …together.’

    I’m gonna print this and paste it on my wall of quotes

  50. Jack

    January 2, 2014 at 10:39 pm

    It upsets me to see what has happened to the art in which I was first schooled — in Okinawa — some 55 years ago.

    Karate, up until at least that time, was not the airy-fairy, hearts-and-flowers nonsense that it seems to have become.

    At that time the world of karate still understood that there are very real, very violent dangers in the world, that there are brutal persons in the world who are not amenable to whispers of “have a nice day,” and that any attempt to lead them “back to the path of peace” will most likely get you killed.

    We were taught that the only sensible way to respond to an unprovoked physical attack is to do whatever needs to be done to render the attacker incapable of further attack.

    And as I have mentioned here before, we were taught many terribly destructive, even deadly techniques. The ideal response to an attack was to prevent a fight from taking place by delivering — if possible — a single, devastating blow or other devastating technique, all of which are being lost now because of the advent of “tournament karate,” in which all of the most effective techniques have been outlawed.

    And before someone pipes up with an assertion that I must have been working in some deranged offshoot of karate, please know that I was first taught in the Karate-do Shoreikan, under Sensei Toguchi Seikichi, now world-renowned as one of the great masters of all time.

    Sensei Toguchi revered and elevated courtesy and respect above all things except one, and that was the doing of whatever is necessary to do, in defense of one’s self or of others. We were taught to walk in peace, but to be prepared to engage in a full-on violent response when and if attacked.

    That philosophy still seems to me to make the most sense.

  51. Tom

    March 12, 2014 at 6:30 am

    My teacher taught me to beat anyone who has a weapon pointed at you and never let your guard down after the opponents down. I think it should always be used to kill but if someone pointed a gun and for some reason I disable him I would beat that guy real good. Probably 80 fractured or broken bones. Still less than half the bones you have.

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