This is a few weeks old now, but I just read it today so it’s new to me. The whole thread is a fascinating read (except for a few strawmanning jerks swinging false dichotomies around like ape poo), but this comment by the post’s author really stood out. Particularly the story with the little boy in karate class. It very much illustrated a lot of the internal struggle I had when I was doing karate — can’t now, no dojo here. :( You’re sparring with someone and everything in your body is telling you not to hit them, but you have to really try to hit them 1) to make yourself a better fighter and 2) to make them a better defender. Otherwise you’re just dancing. Sensei would have to remind us constantly not to fake our punches, because we weren’t doing anyone any favours. In real life, attackers don’t fake their punches. He’s right. Not that he was encouraging us to go Mortal Kombat on each other (in fact, excessive aggression was discouraged and punished), but most of the time we weren’t even punching anywhere near the other person. Defending a punch that’s intended to land < 1 cm from your nose (the closest responsible approximation to a real punch to the nose) is very different than defending a punch that’s going to land a foot away from your ear — which is what we were doing a lot of the time. But it’s hard to overcome that basic revulsion.
I would totally put my kids in karate if it’s available in our area. It could be something we do together. Not because I want to make my kids “violent people”, but to teach them the severity of violence — that it’s something serious that they shouldn’t do unless it’s absolutely necessary to defend themselves. And, if possible, to try to reduce (in a way) some of the guilt that comes with defending oneself. When some jerk attacks a nice person and they defend themselves, it’s the nice person that ends up with the guilt if they seriously injur the other person. That’s a good thing, in a way, because it shows we’re nice people. But if someone is attacking you, they gave up their right to protection.
I think that’s something people who don’t do martial arts don’t understand. We’re not violent people. I’m a fairly meek person (physically — mouthwise, not so much) and I’m not much of a physical threat. Living in an urban area, I wanted to be able to defend myself if necessary from rapists, muggers, etc. Would I feel bad if I permanently damaged someone’s speech by punching them in the throat so I could run away? Definitely. Did they deserve it? If that was the most effective way I could escape from the dangerous rapist…then yes, definitely. It’s not that they deserve violence in general because they’re dicks. It’s just that in the moment, after they’ve attacked you, they have no expectation to personal safety and you would be well within your rights to do whatever is necessary to protect yourself.
That being said, pummelling a person after their down is a whole other story. They very much stress in karate — do not start fights, do not do more than is necessary, and escape as soon as possible. Does that sound like advice from a bunch of violence-encouraging nutjobs? You land your blow, you disable the other person enough to escape, and you run like a mofo. Sounds fair to me.