Karate: perfection of character

Many years ago one guy, who practised kickboxing, said to me: "Look at this person. He is a bad guy. Is your karate supposed to change him in a good way?" Well, at that moment, I couldn't give him my answer. Now I can.

Recently, on one Russian-speaking Internet forum, the same question arose in the form of the statement: "Karate has to teach virtue". I shared my thoughts there, and I would like to share my thoughts here too.

Yes, karate teaches virtue. This is definitely true, but only under some conditions. Karate itself can not develop bad or good characteristics of a person. Karate itself will hardly change a person with bad personality. Hard training in the dôjô could probably make him angrier, and successful overcoming of difficulties could probably lead to arrogance, not to humbleness.

I think that good characteristics, which we all have to strive for, can be achieved through karate training only if these characteristics

  • are already belong to a person,
  • and/or are taught by a sensei, who also gives a good personal example,
  • and/or don't belong (or are not developed to a desirable extent) to a person, but a person has a wish to obtain these good qualities, and a person has wish and ability to teach himself/herself.

  • If there is already a good background, then a person can perfect himself/herself further through the hard training in dôjô. This can be achieved by himself/herself and/or with a help of sensei. But if there is nothing of a desirable good characteristic, and, above all, there is no wish to change, then serious work of sensei and sensei's personal example are necessary. If karate itself would perfect character, then all karateka would have great personalities at least on the level of shodan.

    I think that all these thoughts are true not only with respect to karate, but with respect to life in general.

    (c) Ryôzanpaku Tiger