In the United States, police officers are public servants
who have the legal
authority to arrest and detain people for a limited time.
Qualified officers are
authorized by the law enforcement agency to carry a fire
arm. The major role of the
police is to maintain order, keeping the peace through
surveillance of the public,
and the subsequent reporting and apprehension of suspected
violators of the law.
There are two set of laws defining the circumstances under
which law enforcement
officers are justified in using lethal force on suspects.
One set of standards is state
law and the other set of standards is the policy of the
officersüf police department,
policies which describe when and when not to use force.
While there are screens that test the capability of a
potential police officer from a
technical and regulatory standpoint to ensure the most
capable are credentialed as
enforcement officials, I am concerned that there may not
be a set of tests or screens
to assess the recruitsüf emotional limitations related to
tolerance, conflict resolution
or anger management.
The martial art of Okinawan origin traditionally had
practitioners who trained to be
patient and to forgive the potentially hostile opposition.
Through their training they
built up their balanced, stable mind and body.
pertains to the beltüfs color which has darkened over time.
Traditionally in Okinawa and the Japan mainland, every
practitioner wears a clean
white belt as part of the uniform they wear for the art.
By wearing the white belt
for decades, those practitionersüf belts became stained
by handling, thus blackened.
That is what it means to be a black belt. Those who wear
the stained belt show
through the years of training that they have learned
enough of the fundamental
performing knowledge and demonstrate mental and physical
discipline. Let us not
make the mistake that the black belt is awarded to those
who have merely shown
proficiency in the basic foundation and therefore have
mastered the art form.
Instead, the black belt is the entry point for further
study and practice.
As an example, my father whose first name was Gogen, was
given his name by his
instructor Mr. Chojun Miyagi. The Chinese character for
Gogen, it written as
literally means ügBlack,üh which connotes the profound
maturity or professionalism
only found through extensive practice.
The Oriental culture values the evidence of hard work
exhibited by the stained and
darkened color of black - which is opposite to the
Christian value of ügImmaculate
Conceptionüh in the Western culture. The latter is
influenced by Christian dogma
promoting purity as defined by that which is stainless.
In a previous lecture, I mentioned that Okinawa, which was
a colonized island by
the Satsuma Clan of Japan, developed an ideology among the
islanders to ensure
their survival. They practiced how to coexist with an
alien administrative or
governing power. Their purpose as stated by, ügHitoni
Utarezu Hito Utazu,
Kotonakikotowo Mototosuruüh, and means üg...thus no one
can harm you nor can
you harm anyone,üh reflects the metaphysical concept to
survive by coexisting with
a hostile power rather than by eliminating the power.
Okinawan islanders and the Jewish people share resembling
values, that is, to
surrender to the hosting powers in order to survive and
preserve their diaspora
community and their cultural legacy. They both practice
the avoidance of protest
against the powers and seek to coexist with their
The Okinawan Martial Arts theocracy supports the idea of
protecting the self while
not harming the adversary and not allowing that adversary
to harm you. The
concept requires a fundamental awareness and respect of
others and other cultures
within the society.
I was quite disturbed with an incident that occurred
recently in Texas. A woman
was stopped by a traffic officer and arrested by the
officer for not complying with
his order and three days later she was found dead in her
jail cell. She violated a
traffic law by neglecting to signal as she changed lanes.
She was arrested because
she refused to stop smoking her cigarette and when the
officer asked her to step out
of the car, she resisted doing so. From the womanüfs
perspective, she was not
breaking any law by smoking in her own car and refused to
follow the demand of
the officer to extinguish her cigarette. From the officerüfs
perspective, his demand
and therefore authority was ignored. It was most
unfortunate that the officer was
not patient enough to control his anger and ignore the
driverüfs hostile manner and it
was unfortunate that the driver persisted to make her
point by disregarding the
For most automobile collisions, regardless of who caused
the collision, either party
could have evaded the crash by applying his/her defensive
skills. If an officer is
unreasonable, you may need to defend yourself by executing
such as removing any justification for the authority to
arrest you. To persist upon
your rights, may not help the situation if the other party
is of unfit or irrational
I would like to share an episode experienced by one of my
fellow black belts.
During a road trip he noticed a patrol car was trailing
him by a hundred yards. He
immediately wondered if he had been driving faster than
the speed limit.
Voluntarily, he pulled his car to the curb, turned off the
engine and exited the car.
He then walked to the rear of his car placing his back
against the car. He quietly
waited for the patrol car by spreading his arms and
placing his opened hands on the
car trunk, smiling.
In this episode, my fellow black belt received no ticket.
Both parties greeted each
other in a friendly manner and my black belt evaded any
If one is raised as a member of a minority group, he/she
learns through experience
the absurdity of abuse by agents representing majority. If
you are trained to handle
such experiences, you can build up a sense of patience in
order to survive instead
of reacting in a manner that could provoke the authority.
On the other hand, if you represent the authority, you
need to be disciplined by
controlling your emotions as I stated above, thus applying
the Okinawan theocracy
of martial arts. A police officer also needs to survive
while properly executing his
duties. To be trained in the concept of martial arts one
can earn his/her safety by
not hurting those individuals who may challenge you.
The word of SENSEI in Japanese translates into ügteacherüh
in English. This is not
exactly the correct translation because of how the word is
letter means, in fact, teacher but the second letter
refers to ügrole model.üh As an
Okinawan Martial Arts instructor, the discipline strongly
qualification to be an instructor as one who does not
abuse the power of authority
as a teacher.
The sense of ügyour concerns are mineüh applies to the
essence of ügrole modelüh,
defending your students and not targeting them as your
The United States is a multi-cultural society. And as this
is where we live, if you
are qualified to be a karate instructor trained in the
mindset of patience and
tolerance, you would be an ideal teacher of our future
children to help them learn
how to live in the multicultural society by respecting
others and their culture.
As stated in a previous lecture, I believe the Okinawan
concept of the art of karate
is effective as an educational tool to establish a common
sense of global
citizenship. Every citizen needs to develop a mentality
that is disciplined and one
which values the peaceful coexistence with the different
groups of people in a
multicultural society. To prepare our children for that
society, we need an
educational model to teach this mentality.
I would like to point to how the Okinawan concept and its
principles of tolerance
and liberalism will strengthen our world and enable us to
build a healthy
Copyright © 2015 by Norimi Gosei Yamaguchi and Goju-Kai Karate-Do, U.S.A.
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