The December word of the month is “perspective.” What does this mean, and why do we teach it in a karate school?
Martial arts teaches you to have eyes in the back of your head, so to speak. How to see in twelve directions at once to avoid front kicks, side kicks, overhand back fists, lunge punches, hook kicks. You perceive it. You learn to sense the incoming attack, and respond.
That’s one sense of perspective.
You also gain perspective from hitting other people. How does it feel be aggressed? How does it feel to be the aggressor? We teach to strike with power and control: Power to defend, control to keep that defense in check. Because as black belts we’re sensitive to the feelings of other people (even bullies). We learn to see things from their perspective.
In short, you gain perspective by throwing (and dodging and blocking) punches. Kids gain perspective from other kids and their unpredictable movements. Kids gain perspective from adults, too, both their instructors and fellow students.
There’s a third level of perspective gained through martial arts training. We could call it “meta-perspective.” It’s an overarching view of what’s going on. You could say it’s a “sixth sense.” Am I in danger? Am I hitting too hard? Am I teaching? Am I learning? Am I leading?
These are all questions you’ll learn to ask yourself on the journey to black belt.
Just remember the first student creed: I will only fight to protect my life and the lives of others. Or as the karate teacher on the Simpson’s puts it, we learn karate so that we need never use it.