Strike First!

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“Strike first, strike hard, no mercy” is the motto of the new Cobra Kai school of Karate. The school is the concept of Daniel-san and Johnny “Sweep the Leg” of the The Karate Kid movie. Yes they are back! There are two basic concepts in Karate– Go no sen, strike AFTER the attack; and Sen no sen, strike BEFORE the attack.

Key Takeaways:

  • His Twenty Guiding Principles of Karate contains the famous excerpt karate ni sente nashi, or “There is no first strike in karate.
  • Go no sen. This means “after the attack.” A basic example would be an aggressor steps in with a punch, you block and counter with a strike.
  • Sen no sen. This is “before the attack.” An aggressor announces he wants to kill you, and without hesitation you strike. This is like the old military aphorism “The best defense is a good offense.”

“”There is no first strike in karate.” This basically implies that you don’t provoke a fight; it does not mean that in the midst of what looks like a potential altercation — after all other options have failed — you wait to get laid out on the sidewalk.”

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