The 3rd Precept of Sensei Gichin Funakoshi by Mireille Clark

Karate is a great assistance (an aid) to justice.

Justice has always been a severe concept. Justice has no mercy, and no compassion. Justice is about setting things right. As in, someone breaks your window, therefore it needs to be replaced by the one who broke it. Justice embodies "An eye for an eye. A tooth for a tooth." and one can assert that this can be a difficult balance to achieve. Usually when one seeks justice, they can easily go too far into revenge. How many times has one been in the place of "you struck me hard, therefore I will strike you harder"?

The mental state and training achievable in Martial Arts aids the practitioner to find balance, and to seek appropriate levels of justice. We train to anticipate the strike, avoid it, deflect it, or even to use it to our advantage. Justice becomes a creative expression of power, and balance which puts us in a position of control of the situation. We learn how to "stop the battle". The literal translation of the Japanese Kanji of the word "Budo" is "to stop the spear" or in other words to protect/ stop combat. Martial Artists seek "power" over justice. The character Schindler from the movie "Schindler's list" explains it extremely well in this clip:

Each movement of our Kata is meant to take control of the situation, and stop that confrontation from continuing. Within less than 30 seconds we seek to either put them in a locked position, break a limb, throw the opponent, blind them, etc. Take for example this random bunkai video that I found on youtube showing some various applications for the very first movement sequence of the Kata Seienchin (Goju Ryu Karate)

In that short video we see demonstrated by Sensei Tom Hills approximately 5 different locks, and 4 throws which are based on one simple set of movements. Each one of these applications allows Sensei Hills to take the position of advantage over the attacker, and changes the outcome of that moment. The attacker now becomes the victim, and probably only would wish an end to the shock, pain, and embarrassment. He/she may even think twice about attacking again, and walk away from the fight.

Our training allows us to blend justice with power and affect our world in a positive way.


Mireille Clark
Traditional Taekwondo Techniques, Patterns, and Applications at the Traditional Taekwondo Blog. [Subscribe using email or RSS feeds] [Tkd Sitemap].


Colin Wee said…
Justice has always been a severe concept. Justice has no mercy, and no compassion. Justice is about setting things right.

I am not so sure that Justice is about no mercy. I think for justice to occur, it has to have clarity, be appropriate, and promote a fair resolution to problems. It only becomes severe, with no mercy, and no compassion if it descends into a situation where an individual seeks emotional and physical retribution for pains he/she has experienced.

Tangential to this discussion is an issue which comes from my experience providing women's self defence classes. More than one participant has said that they could not hurt an attacker and feared using similar violence, if they were attacked.

Thus I then had to introduce a module which discussed the appropriate response against sexual crimes, centering on the debate between aggressive force (which I billed as an appropriate level of force) and between violence (which is the unprovoked and inappropriate use of force).

The objective of course is not really to stop the attack - it is in fact to merely survive the attack. We positioned it this way so the options are open for a participant to choose to be either proactive or passive - and not suffer too huge an emotional backlash if they don't attempt physical self defence.

Much of the course design was to avoid 'absolutes' - this was aimed to help the victim recover emotionally after experiencing such an event.

I think it is in this mental state which helps one "stop the battle" that true justice is to be found. Once you stop warring with yourself, you may be able to see a more equitable resolution than if you were bent on 'seeking justice.'

Once again thank you for coming up with such excellent posts, Mir!

supergroup7 said…
I can see where you are coming from Colin, and yes.. there is that tempering of Justice that is possible but it is by putting in the addition of mercy/compassion. For example:

A man owes you $100.00, but he cannot afford to pay you back. Justice is that he MUST pay you back that $100.00. Temperance could allow that you give him more time to find a way to pay you back. Mercy would be to just absorb the loss, and tell him that he does not need to pay you back. Mercy is a gift ( grace) to someone who really doesn't deserve it. If that person deserved it, then it wouldn't be mercy anymore, it would be a service rendered. Does that make sense?

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