The Black-Belt Personality

Hidden truths about karate.
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The Black-Belt Personality

Postby HanshiClayton » Sun Dec 21, 2008 1:47 pm

There is a legend that senior black belts are hard to ruffle. They display a calm, confident, gentle front in the face of verbal or even physical abuse. Karate training, allegedly, fosters this kind of quiet confidence.

I certainly know people like that, and I hope I am one of them.

But here’s the question: Did their karate training make them that way?

Certainly there is an element of self-confidence that comes with karate training. One doesn’t quail from the thought of physical violence anymore. That could be part of it.

But I think there is another part. I think karate training drives out students who can’t tolerate unfairness, mistreatment and abuse. We take so much abuse during the training that the hotheads can’t stay the course.

So we see two kinds of sensei, I think. We see the calm, warm, confident, gentle sensei (who can kill you with a single blow), and we also see a certain number of sensei who enjoy abusing their students (inflicting the death of many cuts). These latter survive the abusive training because they hunger for the power to treat others the same way.

I hope I am not one of them. I don’t think I am.
Bruce D. Clayton, Ph.D.
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