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  • Writer's pictureHarry Penson

What is your Superpower?

Karate bases its blueprint on morality.

Morality being, principles in connection to the distinction between right and wrong or good and bad behaviour.

So within the study of karate, people should use their ability wisely and with justification.

They should uphold a moral perspective, using karate in the context of self protection and self preservation.

Karate at East Meon Hants
Young Harry Back row 3rd from left East Meon Dojo 2013

In contrast karate must never be used to bully or intimidate.

I had a first big Sensei moment recently when one of my students expressed to me that one of my other students had been using karate inappropriately at school.

From this information I had to quickly utilise my own intuition, on how to properly deal with this situation due to the fact that the class was about to start in five minutes and I was teaching independently.

Harry Kicking Matt Powell of Petersfield Karate
Harry Penson Ura Mawash

So I came up with an analogy not to dissimilar to the title of this blog. I didn’t single out the student who incorrectly applied karate but sought to enrich and guide everyone is the class.

I started off by asking them “Who here likes superheroes ?”.

There were many loud “Osu” that followed my question. I then asked “Who’s got a favourite superhero ?”.

Multiple hands shot up and a couple answers saying the likes of “Captain America” and “Batman”.

My question that followed was “What it is that super hero’s have?”, to which one of the students answered “Capes.”

I thought that was a clever answer but the response I was hoping for was super powers which I built on to the students answer. Following this I asked “What do superhero’s use their powers for?”, to which one student replied “To protect people.”

Instructors of Petersfield Karate
Senior Karateka from Petersfield Karate

I then stated further that the answer given is much like karate, in that we only use it to protect ourselves and other people when we feel threatened. Also that a superhero wouldn’t unleash on random people, only when action was justified perhaps when at risk of harm from another individual.

It is this level headedness and calmness to think on your feet when your met in a verbal or physical situation that karate has taught me and which I believe makes it a superpower.

It can reach you and then help the next generation! ( I felt very privileged that the concerned student, had the confidence and regard for me as a responsible adult, to trust that I would deal with the situation appropriately as their Sensei and guide.)

Another justification as to why karate is a super power is that karate spreads a great sense of courtesy among its practitioners.

Courtesy depicts the standpoint of showing politeness in one's attitude and behaviour towards others. Furthermore it also relates to within, or in other words having dignity and self regard.

Training at Petersfield Karate
Matt Powell and Harry Penson of Petersfield Karate

Once an accumulation of self esteem is reached, a person has the ability to reach other individuals with courtesy.

This is similar to that of the idea of filling up your own cup, so that it over spills and you have the ability to fill other peoples cup. In addition to this, a lack there of courtesy within karate is just violence. But I believe 'great karate is violence with integrity'.

Karate begins and ends with respect. Otherwise it brings about disarray.

A lack of respect for someones fighting proficiency can be a bit big wake up call also !

Karate is a great mode of living because it teaches you to live without pride and to ditch your ego and vanity.

It teaches that sometimes you’ll be triumphant, and sometimes you’ll be unsuccessful and these lessons manifest true humility.

If you think only about winning it spawns unwarranted overconfidence but also complacency.

Karate at Rake School
Resident Karate Instructor at Rake School

On the same scale, an indifference to others can force people to not be your biggest fan.

From this idea karate people should seek a moral compass that is balanced. You should have introspective self assurances and certitude in your ability to fight. Only to then outwardly project when the occasion demands it verbally or physically.

Then the yang to the ying being the flip side of this, you should promote and lead with a kind nature. This is until that light switch moment calls for it and you have to turn on a more volatile side.

This stability and decorum is vital and transferable in many facets in life.

Moreover, karate is powerful because it has the diversity of being applicable not just in the significances and severity of overcoming very immediate and consequence filled violence.

This it apparent when we look at our own strengths and weaknesses in the dojo. Some people prefer kicking, others punching. Some develop a keen eye for spirit and others their technical ability.

You should use diversity to your advantage when in conflict with different people of all shapes and sizes. What’s more, realising what you can improve on and seek inspiration from others.

Likewise, you inspire other people to do by becoming an effective role model!

This goes for inside and outside the dojo.

Can you deploy karate as a superpower ?

(Note from Matt Powell Sensei: This is Harrys first ever Blog and having been his guide now for 13+ years I am proud to read his thoughts. Well done Hazza....... the future is bright) November 2022.

Team at Petersfield Karate
Harry in typical High Kicking Action

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