We are getting ready for our Ultimate Martial Arts Spring Advanced Belt Graduation. It’s an exciting day. All of the graduating students have put in hundreds of hours of work to achieve their personal goals of becoming a Brown, Advanced Brown, or Black Belt. They all have developed into strong and focused Martial Artists, and they have all developed their skills to help keep themselves safe in a hand to hand defense situation. However, there is a truth that everyone must understand when it comes to fighting. Size matters.
Karate is a one of the best activities for kids to participate in. It teaches them about respect and discipline, it keeps them physically active, and most importantly, it helps them learn how to defend themselves if they are ever attacked in real life. If a bully at school were to start a fight with another kid their same age and size, the advantage goes to the one who has the most training in hand to hand combat, but if one of those kids is much larger in size, the truth is (even if the smaller one has defense training) the advantage goes to whoever is bigger.
There is a reason there are weight classes in competitive fighting, such as boxing, wresting, MMA, and UFC. I’m not saying that a little guy can’t win, but the bigger guy has a size advantage. Larger bodies can take a harder hit, and they also tend to be able to hit harder in return. Let’s look at this from the extremes. If I, a man of relatively average size, were to get kicked or punched by one of my seven year old students as hard as they could hit me, it may not be pleasant, but it probably won’t knock me down for the count. Now imagine that scenario going the other way. That’s a very unpleasant thought (Note: No kids were harmed in the writing of this blog).
The point I’m getting at is that a junior Black Belt, despite learning all of the same skills, and having gone through all of the same testing as an adult Black Belt, would not realistically be able to win a fight against someone who has a significant size advantage over them. However, “winning” in a fight is very different from “defending” yourself from an attacker. Self-defense is doing anything you can to keep yourself safe from someone who is trying to harm you. Statistically, people who fight back when being attacked have a much better chance of walking away from the situation unharmed. If you do nothing, your odds plummet. The practice of Karate gives one the skills and confidence to handle themselves in a real life attack. Not the ability to “win a fight.”
So kids, understand that while earning your Black Belt is an amazing accomplishment, it does not give you super powers. There will be a day where you develop into your strong, full grown adult bodies, but for now you still have a lot of growing to do. You may have tremendous skills as a martial artist, but size is still an advantage.
Photo Credit: L. Gergen