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.
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!
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…
In fact, if you ask me, the book should really be titled “The 100 Best Moves For Killing Somebody”!
Don’t you agree?
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 disgusting – the “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…
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.