Learning karate has many advantages. The exercises build your muscles and improve your general health. The practice makes your body fit and your movements precise. Those benefits are indisputable and martial arts schools seldom forget to mention them in their advertisements.
However, if you ask experienced judo practitioners about the reason behind their enthusiasm for the sport, you will get a completely different answer. "The best thing about martial arts," they will tell you, "is that you learn to defend yourself in case of an attack."
Stop relying on false stories
Nothing could be further from the truth. People with no karate training are often better skilled at detecting trouble before it appears on the scene. Since they know that they are not trained for combat, they avoid physical confrontation. When they experience threats, they retreat. When they see danger, they keep away from it.
On the other hand, how often have you heard stories about some karate expert shot by a criminal in the street for refusing to surrender his wallet? In most cases, if the victim had tried to run away, he might have easily escaped. Realizing that few things are as lethal as a false sense of security has tremendous implications.
First, wrong perception. A strong belief in nonsense leads men to disregard the evidence of their own perceptions. When that happens, thinking becomes pointless, since it is no longer based on reality. Ignoring our own pain or physical discomfort is a recipe for disaster. When sensations contradict conclusions, it is high time to re-examine the latter.
Second, mistaken decisions. Relying on something that is not true is worse that confessing ignorance. Make-believe prevents individuals from acknowledging problems and looking for the right answer. Self-inflicted blindness destroys man's sense of direction and invalidates his ambitions.
How to stay out of trouble
When meeting new people, trusting what you see is the only way to form an accurate opinion about their qualities and ethical standards. Judging strangers by what they say or by their appearance is a losing proposition.
The most egregious errors are not committed out of ignorance, but by relying on false stories that we tell to ourselves. Accidents that tear apart families and companies could have been frequently prevented by reading the writing on the wall.
Being brave enough to acknowledge a gap between belief and fact is the foundation of personal integrity. There can be no honesty without courage, no serenity without consistency. Entrepreneurs trust their own perceptions and experience more than anything else. A man's ability to detect opportunities equals his willingness to focus on reality.
For more information about rational living and personal development, I refer you to my book The 10 Principles of Rational Living
[Image by SteveD.. under Creative Commons Attribution License. See the license terms under http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/us]