In case you
don't live near a school, you can always get the all right jazz from any number
of books, which promise instantaneous mastery at cut-rate prices. These books
are publicized in the back of girly type magazines, usually between the ads for
acne cures and "U.S. Drinking Team" sweaters. With typical American
ingenuity the publishers refer to their versions as "SUPER KARATE" and
in many cases as "ADVANCED SUPER KARATE," and the ads are packed with
hands, fingers, elbows and feet into SUPER WEAPONS," one states. "With
Karate, a 98-pound weakling can easily overpower a 220-pound he-man in seconds
with his bare hands." This course costs $2.98.
If you don't
care to invest that much, you can get in touch with Precise Publications of
Livingston, N.J. For only 99� "I'll make you a master of Karate. In just
two hours after you receive 'SUPER KARATE' you will be on your way to being an
invincible Karate Master, at home, this fast, easy picture way." This is
really a bargain when you consider that Japanese experts spend a minimum of
three years just learning the fundamentals—another example of the superiority
of American methods.
ad also offers for an extra 99� a "Giant Life-Like practice dummy—big
numbers on the dummy show you the exact location of pressure points and weak
spots which you can practice attacking." And if you act now, you can get
absolutely free your personal membership card in the American Karate
Federation, which somehow does not sound like too exclusive an
In spite of the
bellicose tone of karate promotional material, its exponents always refer to it
vaguely as being "used only for defense." In fact, one of the world's
foremost karate masters, Masutatsu Oyama, says, "One stroke of Karate,
properly delivered, will kill a horse or a bull. But the guiding principle of
Karate never allows you to hurt others unless you are attacked."
being sarcastic. It's just that in order to appreciate what he means you have
to understand the old Japanese meaning of "defense." (Remember Pearl
Harbor? Come on, you remember. It was a naval base in Hawaii. Think back.
on to say that "there is no forestalling in Karate," and he adds that
one of its secret principles is called go no sen. "This," he explains,
"means 'Defensive is Offensive.' " (Now you remember!)
to say, you will never be defeated if you attack the opponent as he is about to
strike you. For those who want to learn Karate, understanding the secret of 'no
forestalling' is an important concept."
means that you must let your opponent have it before he attacks you. The best
way to do this is to sneak up behind him and ka-pow—you clout him right in the
necktie. This is what is known as go no sen. You have practiced no forestalling
and have cleverly struck a possible troublemaker before he could attack you.
And if you think someone who has been snuck up on and clouted isn't going to
feel like attacking you, you're unrealistic.
philosophic attitude is an important part of karate. According to Master Gichin
Funakoshi, "the minds of those who learn karate should be empty, cleared of
selfish and evil thoughts." This means that the karate-ka (karate
practitioner) must achieve mental calm so that he can focus his total
concentration upon only one thing—"kill," or perhaps occasionally,