Under: Boxing, karate, Self-defense
9 Feb 2014


The when to fight question haunted me as a young boy. Before I learn any fighting I used to avoid fights if I could. I did not really know how to fight but I was better than average in sports – so I did not have to fight much before 5th grade. Later in the 5th grade a kid came up to me and challenged me to a fight and then smacked me. I did not even fight back! I did not think I was allowed to fight and did not have much confidence. By not fighting back my fate was sealed – I got beat up!


When my dad taught me the old one – two, and told me it was ok to fight back if attacked, I did ok. But when I knocked someone down I stopped and asked if he gave up. That was all it took to stop a fight in grade school. You only fought until the other acknowledged your win. Kicking a downed opponent was not done. Later when I learned Karate – I was taught how to punch and kick and how it was better to run from a fight if possible. I never ran and I finished all of my fights when the other guy gave.


So is it better to know how to fight and not do it? Or is it better to stand and fight? But the real question is if Martial Arts Philosophy it any better then Western Martial Arts (read boxing for self-defense) Philosophy? Here is a Kung Fu TV Series about, “Cowardice is the Wisdom of Weakness.”




So as a boy before I started learning karate from a commercial school – I got my Martial Arts (MA) philosophy from the Kung Fu TV show. I learned that it was actually better to not fight if possible. You see up to that point I thought if someone challenged you to a fight – you had to accept or you were a coward. Still I took on all comers in grade school and I realized that American fighting principles I grew up with were to stop fighting when the fight was over – were good.


I did not see why I should run when someone attacked me unless I did not think I could defend myself. Why was it bad to fight? According to the law – one could defend him/herself if attacked so why would a MA be under a higher standard? The boxing I learned as a kid did teach that you should not hit a downed opponent. Why? Because he could not defend himself. I mean we were not animals but people!


So after starting to learn karate – I was taught that karate was so much more deadly than boxing – that because of that some people actually had to register their hands as weapons! So I guess from that backdrop I accepted the extra responsibility that I should run rather than fight intellectually. Still I was not one to run no matter what. I mean I was covered by the law if I made sure I was a good guy. I mean fight only in self defense. So why run?


Fast forward to 2014. Karate has been debunked to reality. Karate is no better than any other MA. True it is still great as a fighting method but today even ground fighters have been known to take a karate fighter down and beat him. Today more than ever – the best fighting method depends on the fighter more so than the fighting method. While I have my opinions what is best – reality is, it is the fighter that wins or loses – whatever method he/she likes.


So has Eastern MA philosophy been debunked to reality too? I would say yes. Even in this day of cell phone video capability, if you are attacked, a reasonable person can do whatever needed, up to using lethal force to protect him/herself!


Why if I tried to run to avoid a fight – any turtle could soon overtake me. :)


My only option is to feign fear and let the overconfident punk try and take me – so I could teach him a lesson in humility when he got in range.


So in my opinion Eastern MA philosophy is no better than Western MA philosophy. What is your opinion?

If you enjoyed this post, make sure you subscribe to my RSS feed!

3 Responses to “Martial Arts Philosophy Better Than Western MA Philosophy?”

  1. Dr. J Says:

    Being a fast runner, that was always an option, lol! Once in middle school some guy kept pushing me from behind, I just turned and punched him in the face! Wow, was he big! lol I ran and the teachers stopped it from going any further. Interesting thing was, that guy and I became best friends after that!

    Years later in medical school when my Kenpo skills were as good as ever, another student confronted me and wanted to fight. He did not know about my training. I just backed off and he didn’t come at me. Interesting thing here was that all my close friends saw this, and later told me how impressed they were that I let it go and didn’t beat him up. I liked that very much.

    I think we can find many examples of individuals with a good philosophy in ever place and art, fortunately!

  2. John W. Zimmer Says:

    Hey Dr. J! Yep diffusing an altercation is way better than fighting. Funny story about the hit and run… give new meaning to stick and move :)

    To that is exactly what is taught in many martial arts – do you have to and get out of Dodge!

  3. Nessa Says:

    Nice article. Thank you for sharing. Interesting :) I am into Meditation and Martial Arts