Goju-ryu Karate II by N. Gosei Yamaguchi

Goju-ryu Karate II by N. Gosei Yamaguchi



Summertime -It's a time when students of the martial arts visit other schools around the country from coast to coast. Many of them ultimately visit my own dojo to talk, or to work out with me, and I happily oblige those who are friendly and courteous.

Often, however, there is that element who merely want to learn karate for its destructive powers. I must refuse to teach those people.

One time, while I was lecturing on the art of karate as an educational tool, a listener mentioned the Japanese proverb which says, "Worst of all is the insane one with a knife." He seemed to be suggesting that I should not teach the art of karate to dangerous or unbalanced persons because they would misuse it r could neither agree nor disagree, as I considered myself unable to determine who was dangerous and who wasn't.

But I am disturbed when I see the effects of this misuse. For instance, I once encountered a group of teenagers who were play-fighting with their legs and fingers, moves they had learned from a movie. They were certainly not "dangerous" people to whom one could apply that old Japanese proverb, but I was disturbed nevertheless. The feeling reminded me of my reluctance to buy my son the toy rifle he wanted for his birthday. These children do not seem to equate the glamorous Hollywood violence with its ugly realistic counterpart.

Thus, it is when one of these schoolboys decides to take up karate that my anxiety begins. As an instructor, you must disappoint him by demonstrating the wide riff between reality and the illusion of the screen. He must learn to enjoy the art of karate for itself.

Students who visit from other schools introduce me to the different philosophies of their instructors. Many of them copy their instructors in almost every aspect, including their behavior and life style. Thus, I can view many of the instructors through their student's behavior. I must confess that I almost feel fear when I meet a visitor whose behavior reminds me of that group of schoolboys in front of the theater.

Violence exists as a natural part of the world and the martial arts are no exception to this rule. Subsequent generations must not learn to uncontrollably vent this violence through karate.

The art of karate has undergone changes throughout history. I hope the art will never undergo a change as dangerous as the insane person wielding a knife.

Norimi Gosei Yamaguchi

San Francisco, California