Protecting oneself from any kind of harm through lifestyle modification is the true meaning of self-defense
In general, when it comes to talking about self defense, there is a prevailing attitude of seeing it only as fighting. “In Bangladesh, people deem that the spectrum of self-defense is limited to facing any crisis initiated by a hijacker, burglar or harasser by fighting. However, incidents like being attacked by a hijacker may or may not occur in an entire lifetime. Thus, learning methods of karate or any other self-defense method shouldn’t revolve around only physical defense. The true meaning of self-defense is much wider, and also plays a great role in human life,” says Monir Ahmed Bhuiyan.
Avenue T had a conversation with Monir Ahmed Bhuiyan, General Secretary and Branch Chief of IKO Kyokushin Bangladesh, who has had 28 years of experience in this field, to learn more about Kyokushin karate and its benefits on humans in order to build a peaceful world.
How does Kyokushin karate benefit human beings?
First and foremost, it makes a person physically fit, which makes them mentally healthy. And mental fitness improves human beings’ rational thinking process. If someone can envisage that something is not right in advance, he or she will avoid further occurrence through taking the logical decision. For example, if someone can predict a particular road is not safe for them and justify the thought with rationality, it classifies as self–defense.
We are dealing with dozens of challenges, environmental and societal, in every single moment. Every day, we encounter lots of micro elements of environment such as bacteria or viruses; fighting those, in itself, is self-defense. It is essential to focus on issues like being healthy, coming to a rational solution in any emergency. Kyokushin karate training develops heartbeat, thus causing better blood circulation; as a consequence, a person can develop a good immune system.
In your opinion, which areas should we work on first to build a society with fewer violent activities, such as eve-teasing, hijacking, kidnapping, etc?
If a human being is mentally stable and fit, they will never get involved in any wrongdoing. For those who are involved in eve teasing or any misconduct, the approach should be guiding them with counseling and providing karate training. It’s the first step towards a solution.
From my 18 years of experience of teaching karate to school students, my observation is that one of the main reasons behind an unstable society is faulty parenting. Often parents don’t understand where they should engage their children in for proper nurture. If children can be introduced to karate, they will, most likely, never get involved in any wrongdoing like teasing, hijacking or kidnapping in their life. As a result, we can achieve a peaceful society.
Since you have 18 years of experience in providing karate lessons to students, do you think we should incorporate self-defense in our curriculum?
Unquestionably yes. I would like to bring the example of Daffodil International School; it has made Karate learning compulsory for all the students. The initiative has already started showing positive results. The children are far more disciplined, attentive in education, following an organized lifestyle, and most importantly, it is keeping them from mischief.
An undisciplined lifestyle makes children behave ruthlessly inside and outside home. What happens is when these children become adults, they get involved in wrongdoings.
I think the authorities of every school should be aware of the concept, especially of the importance of physical education on leading a healthy and disciplined life. Japan can be taken as an example, where physical education is compulsory in every school. And the Japanese following a strict, disciplined lifestyle is not unheard of.
What goals are IKO Kyokushin Bangladesh working towards?
If a child starts living a disciplined life through karate and parents don’t get acquainted with it too, it may create trouble for the kid to cope up at home. What I believe is physical and mental training should be mandatory for every age group simultaneously, otherwise the system will remain unbalanced and incomplete. In our organization, children, parents and also elderly citizens practice Kyokushin karate.
In the last 28 years, IKO Kyokushin Bangladesh has been working towards building a society where everyone would be courteous, disciplined and respectful to each other by practicing Kyokushin karate. If we can achieve this goal and apply it in our lives, then there will be no clash.
Also, I want to add one important point, which is that the forms of martial arts depend on factors like age, profession, etc. The structure of Karate that is applicable for law enforcement agencies may not be relevant for civilians. Many would claim that anyone who learns karate could face gun or knife fight. However, without building sufficient capacity to apply the techniques deftly, it is practically impossible.
Also, our next generation should be enlightened with the other aspects rather than focusing on preventing arms or winning a physical fight.
Is there any age requirement for learning Kyokushin karate? Also, is there any standard duration to reach the minimum skill level to apply self-defense deftly?
Whether it’s a girl or a boy, everyone should be given karate training since childhood. In our organization, we admit children from three and half years if they are growing as per their age. However, I would recommend people of every age to explore the journey of karate and discover the changes it brings into life.
For civilians, 1 year of training under professional trainer would be enough to reach the level where they will achieve the requirements for self-defense, including physical and mental fitness, boosted confidence level, triumph over their fear, as well as improved rational thinking.
The International Karate Organization (IKO) and the Kyokushinkaikan follow the karate way of building character by training the mind and body. This is so that they can contribute to society, based on Sosai Mas Oyama's Kyokushin spirit "Keep your head low (modesty), eyes high (ambition), mouth shut (serenity) while basing yourself on filial piety and the benefit of others."
We, in Kyokushin karate, do not promote or practice prejudice based on ethnicity, race, nationality, politics, philosophy, religion, sex, or age and recognize that everyone has the same rights. Our greatest pursuit is to reach the goal of international friendship and world peace.
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