Submitted by Sensei Neff, Yon- Dan, Bay Ridge Ueshiro Shorin-Ryu Karate U.S.A. Dojo,
Under the Direction of Hanshi Robert Scaglione
Onegai shimasu Hanshi, Kyoshi, Sensei and fellow Deshi,
Last week I taught an assault prevention class for women with Ms. Lisa Rosenberg. It was a great experience for me. We referred often to the concepts of Hanshi Robert Scaglione’s Green Book, Building Warrior Spirit. We emphasized that the most important thing one can do is be aware of their surroundings, Gan. We also discussed that it was important to use your gut feelings, Tanden, when making decisions on whether or not to walk down a certain street or get into an elevator that doesn’t look or feel right. Whether we step forward or choose not to, we must step with intention, Soku. We also discussed the fact that if it came down to a life or death situation we would not hold back. Hanshi told us recently a saying, “In a fight for your life, 'Die with a mouthful of flesh'”; in other words, to save your life do not hold back! We would use all our power, Riki. We told these women that even though they were not “warriors” they could still use these karate concepts in their everyday life.
We discussed the use of a verbal kiai, or loud command, to stop an assailant in his or her tracks or get help from someone within earshot. We had the women practice saying whatever came to their mind when being approached by an assailant. We told them the shout did not have to be true. It just needs to get the person to retreat or get someone to come and help them. In addition, we had them put their hands up or use a strong stance to keep the person at bay. It was evident that this was a skill that many of these women had never worked. As Karateka, most of us have already honed this skill. Let’s continue to perfect our verbal kiai, by making it short and loud. It should sound like a gunshot going off. We should work our “commanding voice” when saying “Arigato, Sensei!” or announcing a kata in class, using power from the Tanden to motivate the class. These skills should also be worked as a way to stop an altercation before it happens, or as a way to get help if needed. Teach this skill to your friends and loved ones whether they train karate or not.
Please refer to Sensei Lorenzo Aguon’s Kiai TOTW’s from June 30, 2008 and December 20, 2015 as well.
Domo arigato gozaimasu, Hanshi,
Sensei Neff, Yon- Dan Bay Ridge Ueshiro Shorin-Ryu Karate U.S.A. Dojo