How martial arts teach children perspective

The December word of the month is “perspective”. What does this mean and why do we teach it at a karate school?

Martial arts will teach you to have your back in your head, so to speak. As seen in twelve directions at once, to avoid front kicks, side kicks, back fists, lunges, hook kicks. You perceive it. You will learn to perceive an incoming attack and respond.

That is one sense of perspective.

You also gain perspective by beating other people. How does he feel aggressive? How does it feel to be an aggressor? We learn to strike with force and control: Force to defend, control to keep this defense in check. Because as black belts, we are sensitive to the feelings of other people (even tyrants). We are learning to see things from their perspective.

In short, you gain perspective by throwing (and dodging and blocking) punches. Children gain perspective from other children and their unpredictable movements. Children also gain perspective from adults, both their instructors and classmates.

There is a third level of perspective gained through martial arts training. We could call it a “meta-perspective.” It’s an overarching look at what’s going on. It could be said that this is the “sixth sense”. Am I in danger? Am I hitting too hard? Am I teaching? I’m learning? Do I know?

These are all questions you will learn to ask yourself on the way to the black belt.

Just remember the first student profession: I will only fight to protect my life and the lives of others. Or, as the Simpsons karate teacher says, we learn karate so we never have to use it.

David Berry

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