QUESTION: Master Bill, I really want to get good at karate and self-defense. My problem is that I’m not that flexible. I’m wondering if I start how far I can get. Do you think I can ever make it to black belt?
ANSWER: Evaluating those who are good at sport karate and those good at self-defense are different situations, judged by different criteria. Frankly, if you aren’t very flexible or fast or flashy, you can have a lot of fun but you probably aren’t going to win many tournament trophies. However, even if you aren’t very flexible, you could be good at mixed martial arts and very good at self-defense.
In self-defense, you are using techniques banned in sport karate and mixed martial arts. In self-defense, you might be stomping and ripping and biting and gouging. You might smash someone into a window, wall or the ground. To create an escape opening, you might get creative and use any available makeshift weapon. To avoid trapping, most self-defense kicks are low; stiff legs work.
If you have a passion for the martial arts and keep training and learning, you will reach the black belt level and be an example for your students.