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Responses to "karate ni sente nashi"

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Introduction

I've had two main "contrary" responses to my "Karate ni sente nashi?" article:
"That's all very interesting, but I prefer this article..." (which goes on to detail exactly why and how karate is compatible with pre-emptive striking)."I don't have time for your theories - I hit first and hard and that works for me." I thought I'd address both of these as succinctly as I can.

The first objection

It never ceases to amaze me how many people read "karate ni sente nashi" as some sort of rigid "rule" - then proceed to run through all the reasons why the "rule" can't work.

You'll note that in my article I didn't spend any time trying to describe the sorts of situations where one can and should "attack first".  Why?  Because it's obvious that myriad such potential situations exist!  Why waste the time discussing this?

I think the reason people incline to such (irrelevant) …

Karate ni sente nashi?

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Introduction

There is an old debate that has been raging in karate for years.  As my friend Ryan Parker says, it really has its genesis in the philosophical (among other) disputes between the two karate masters who first brought karate to Japan: Gichin Funakoshi and Choki Motobu.

Almost every karateka knows Funakoshi's famous "golden rule": "Karate ni sente nashi" - there is no first "attack" in karate ("sente" literally means "initiative" - in this case "aggressive initiative").

Many karateka also know Choki Motobu's response: "Karate is sente" - in other words karate is about (aggressive) initiative.

So who was right?  My answer is: both of them!  If this seems weird, stay with me.

A little bit of background

Motobu was a practical fighting man.  Funakoshi manifestly was not.  If you haven't, read this article by (the always fabulous) Jesse Enkamp and you'll get a feeling for what kind of fighter Moto…