Senshin: The Enlightened Mind

Martial Arts Blog

normrobitza On June - 11 - 2014

4017501Gichin Funikoshi created the Dojo and Niju Kun to help guide karate ka in their everyday life. Today, as I reflect on the happens of one week ago in the City of Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada, I think of what Funakoshi taught.

Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada is approximately a half an hour’s drive from where I live. The city is relatively small with only a population of 70,000 people. I take my family there often as it is the closest major shopping centre to my home town.  We also go there often for karate. A large part of our karate family are in Moncton. We held the 2013 IKD Canada Cup in Dieppe which is part of Greater Moncton. We usually have a clinic in the city once a year as well.

A week ago today a 24 year old man dressed in military-like clothing started walking around the streets of his own neighbourhood and a nearby suburb with high-powered weapons. Calls were made to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police who provide the policing services for the city. The first three men who arrived on the scene were ambushed and cut down in the prime of their lives. Two other officers were injured by this gunman. The police quickly created a perimeter and locked down anything and everything in that area. People were told to stay where they are and lock their doors. It took 30 hours to catch the murderer and bring him to justice.

The situation hit home for me. I knew so many of the faces that were being shown on the TV from my work as a special events security/private protection officer. Then the RCMP announced the fallen officers; Cst. Dave Ross, a dog-handler, Cst. Doug Larche and Cst. Fabrice Devaudan, a RCMP Diver. It was like a punch in the stomach. Officer Devaudan and I worked together in 2010 for the I.A.A.F World Junior Athletics Event held in New Brunswick. We worked at Mount Allison University, where I teach karate, in Sackville, NB. Mount Allison became a city of Athletes as the university was used as housing for a large number of the competitors.

The City of Moncton, Province of New Brunswick and Nation of Canada mourned the fallen heroes yesterday with a Regimental Funeral.

How could this senseless violence have been stopped? What does this have to do with karate? Well as karate ka, we are taught to refrain from violent behavior. We are supposed to find the best way to deal with a situation without engaging in violence. To a non-martial artist, this sounds strange. Why would you learn how to fight if you do not intend to use the skills you are paying someone to teach you? If you have see the movie Karate Kid then you may remember this scene featuring Daniel and Miyagi.

Daniel: Hey – you ever get into fights when you were a kid?

Miyagi: Huh – plenty.

Daniel: Yeah, but it wasn’t like the problem I have, right?

Miyagi: Why? Fighting fighting. Same same.

Daniel: Yeah, but you knew karate.

Miyagi: Someone always know more.

Daniel: You mean there were times when you were scared to fight?

Miyagi: Always scare. Miyagi hate fighting.

Daniel: Yeah, but you like karate.

Miyagi: So?

Daniel: So, karate’s fighting. You train to fight.

Miyagi: That what you think?

Daniel: [pondering] No.

Miyagi: Then why train?

Daniel: [thinks] So I won’t have to fight.

Miyagi: [laughs] Miyagi have hope for you.

Gichin Funakoshi hated fighting as well. Only one time did he ever use his training and he was greatly disgraced that he could not find another option. Would karate training have helped this man? Would he have been able to find a better outlet for his anger? He was obviously a very sick young man and needs to pay for his crimes against the RCMP and the City of Moncton.

Violence has taken over the World. There is violence in our children’s schools. Violence on our streets. Violence in our homes. We can never seem to escape it. I believe it is time that we as a community stand up against the violence. We need to teach our children that violence is never acceptable. They are our future and if they can not break the circle of violence then we are destined to continue in this horrible cycle.

Now is the time to draw more youth into our dojos. If you are teaching karate, make sure you are emphasising the Dojo Kun in your teaching. Explain what Restrain from Violent Behaviour means. If we do not do this, then the children that we are teaching will develop thinking that these skills are to cause others harm. I, for one, do not what to ever hear of one of my students, of any age, hurting someone.

Today, as I think of the fallen Mounties, I wonder what I would have done. As a private protection officer and with my training, would I have done something if I had seen this gunman? I believe I would. My job training taught me, to run into danger to protect others. It is the same thing that police officers are trained to do. Put concern for your own safety aside and protect others. My understanding of the Niju Kun also dictates that I would intervene. Hitotsu, karate wa, gi no tasuke (Karate stands on the side of justice.) This doesn’t mean that we should be out there in the street walking around looking for criminals. This means that we need to be diligent. I don’t recommend anyone stepping into a dangerous situation and I would never teach my students to run into something like this. Karate is only for defence not to deal with situations like we saw in Moncton. Report crimes to the authorities, assist them where you can and always respect the law. Think of yourself as descendants of the samurai class, we are the remnants of the warrior class of Japan but during historical times of peace. We keep the spirit of the samurai alive by helping to uphold the law even if it is only to report what we have seen.


Cst Larche, Cst Ross, Cst Gevaudan

In closing I would like to send my condolences to the families of the Cst. Dave Ross, Cst Doug Larche and Cst. Fabrice Devaudan. Your husbands, brothers, sons and fathers gave their lives for the people of the city that they swore to protect. As they raced to the scene, I am sure that Dave, Doug and Fab wanted to resolved this situation without violence. They will forever be in my mind and in the minds of the Nation.

Categories: Teaching/Training

One Response

  1. bert arcositas says:

    I was once criticized by a female friend for not fighting t he guys whomade fun of us amd i just smiled at herbut intil now she keeps on repeating that i am coward and gay. I want to try my karate that nihht but i am also ashamed as i am a bank employee. i just keep my cool coz i dont wanna spoil the dinner but it left a bad taste until now. Heheh

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