Kiado-Ryu Karate

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Apr 4, 2022 - Feature of the Week

The Constraint of Power

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Martial arts is a wonderful, dynamic, health-engendering and useful activity of life. However, because of its potential for generating pain, suffering, even death, its power must be constrained. Normal people do not want to fight or hurt other people unless absolutely necessary. Self-defense is a God-given right to protect us from those who would do us harm but such a right must be used with wisdom and clear thinking, not just for martial artists but for the general populace as well.

The deadly skills of martial arts should not be used to settle common disputes. On 17 March 2022, an altercation erupted at Beach Harbor Pizza in Dana Point, CA. A 38 year old man named Michael Terry of Laguna Niguel died the next day of his injuries, apparently associated with head trauma. Whether martial arts skills were used or not is uncertain at this point but even if they were not used, some form of physicality was used, lethally. See the Orange County Sheriff’s Department News Release below.

According to ABC News, the other man was a 20 year old Marine named Jack Issacson. He was arrested on suspicion of homicide and booked on $1 million bail. He is awaiting trial.

Such tragic events are often the result of a lack of constraint of power. In the case of altercations leading to death, one has to ask himself, “What am I doing?” Jack Issacson would have been wise to ask himself that question before engaging in a physical confrontation that killed Michael Terry and may, most likely, result in him being sent to prison and discharged from the United States Marine Corp. Because of what? A difference of opinion? A slanderous comment? A hateful statement? Testosterone out of control. Whatever occurred between these two men was not worth someone’s life. So why get physical in the first place? Such behavior would be, and proved to be, deadly—manifesting a lack of constraint of one’s power.

And there’s another critical issue to consider—one that is important for every martial artist to know and fully comprehend. That issue is this: “Every punch, kick, strike, etc. that hurts, harms or kills another human being will have some lawyer’s name on it.” And unlike the movies with their unreal and ridiculous fight scenes, one, just one, well targeted and delivered blow can kill a human being.

Think of the ramifications such a strike or strikes will create. Outside of a lawful use of force to defend one’s self and/or one’s family, nothing good will come of such mindless activity. What will be the cost, not just in lawyer’s fees but everything else? Prison? Loss of job? Family problems? Societal rejection? Revenge? Emotional, psychological, financial issues? Endless nightmares? The plethora of problems resulting from overactive stupidity and mindless behavior is endless and life altering and not for the better.

So . . . before any of us decide to engage in some form and degree of physical confrontation, we would be wise to think of the myriad of problems a lack of constraint of power will generate for ourselves, our family, others. Is it worth it, really? Of course it’s not worth it—that is if we’re thinking clearly.

To develop constraint of power takes discipline, self-control, common sense and unmuddied thought. Nothing good is going to come from an unjustifiable physical confrontation. Nothing. Therefore, we must learn to be wise, smart, practical, humble, not arrogant, and most of all, constrained in the use of power because a lack of constraint of power is simply not worth the problems arising from it. Thinking before we act is absolutely requisite to avoid any problems going forward. If we fail to absorb and utilize this truth, we have no one to blame but ourselves as our world comes crashing down upon us.


© Richard Andrew King and the Karate Institute of America