Never Attack First
Niju Kun #2 – In karate, never attack first. This is the second of 20 precepts of Master Gichin Funakoshi, the Father of Modern-Day Karate. Master Funakoshi is known by millions of people all around the world and is considered to be one of the three most important martial art masters of the 20th century.
This principle means to be peaceful and not think about hurting anyone, to always wish other people well. At the same time, you are aware that another person might not have the same peaceful intentions towards you and decide to attack you. If this happens, then you can make the first move to stop them. Physically you would attack first, but mentally they attacked first. A simple example is if someone is angry with you and there’s a stick nearby, and they look angrily at you, and then at the stick, and then back to you, and then they reach for the stick. It’s pretty easy to know that their intention is to club you with the stick. You would be foolish to wait for them to hit you before responding. You should act first to prevent them from attacking you.
Patience, tolerance and self-control are demonstrations of strength. Tolerate what you see as weaknesses and inconsistencies in others. Be patient with yourself and others and control your actions and reactions. These are signs of true strength. Weak individuals strike first with little provocation. The strong restrain themselves as long as possible. We practice this in class during sparring, when we learn to wait as long as possible before responding to an attack. Even if we are playing the role of the attacker we watch carefully and attack only when we sense an opening.
When you act with restraint others will notice and unconsciously treat you the same way. And, of course, the reverse is true. If you react violently to the slightest provocation then people will treat you in the same way.
An ancient martial art dictum says “Only after reaching the point where the situation can no longer be tolerated can the blade be drawn from its scabbard.”
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