Why do I need Karate if I own a gun?

Anyone who has been teaching martial arts since way back when has come across this question many times. What most people don’t realize is that many martial artists work in fields where they carry guns such as body guards, law enforcement or homeland security. Many of us that teach Karate also are licensed gun owners and hold carry permits as well. About a year ago I ran into a guy that asked me why I carry if my “Karate” is so good. When we were done with the conversation he sat there in amazement because he had no idea, nor had ever thought about, what happens when your gun fails you. While I am a big support of the right to own arms, the right to carry and feel that it is important for citizens to be armed to protect themselves I also have some big time reservations about people relying on their weapon as their means of self defense. Let’s look at few things.

  1. The majority of people that own a weapon don’t practice with it, or practice impractical approaches. Owning a weapon is great but if you want to be sure you can use it when the time comes then you have to practice with it, often and in methods that relate to situations where you will need it. Karate is the same way. If you don’t practice your Karate in a practical sense or only come and go from the dojo then it, like your hand gun, will fail you.
  2. Most people freeze when they are in a situation where they need to pull their weapon. Even more people forget to click the safety off. Like stated above if you don’t practice with your weapon you too will freeze when it is time to use it.
  3. A weapon, in all of its abilities, is only as good as the person using it. Over the years I have heard of thousands of cases where someone had their own weapon taken from them and used on them. This is a very real scenario and occurs more than most gun owners would ever realize. Recently I even read a case where a burglar broke into a home, found the person’s handgun and when they were caught by the home owner the burglar shot and killed them with their own weapon.
  4. A weapon is a great thing to own but you have to know the self defense laws in your state, or the areas you are traveling to. Pulling a gun on an unarmed person can often lead to your arrest for assault with a deadly weapon…even if you did not pull the trigger and was defending yourself.
  5. Then you have the situations where you can’t get to your weapon, it misfires, you dropped it, you forgot to load it and more…in those situations you had better have some back up martial arts ability period.
  6. Martial arts training is needed because you just never know when you will need it and find yourself without your other weapon.
  7. What about the person who pulls the weapon? Can they pull the trigger? Shooting someone is not going to be as easy as the movies make it look. Pointing your weapon at another human being and shooting them means you, in all probability, will be taking a life. That will not be easy and there are case studies that have shown many gun owners failed to do so when it was time to do so.

Owning a weapon doesn’t make you indestructible either. People seem to think that, just because they own a weapon, they are protected. If I wrote out every single situation that a legal gun owner could, and often will, find themselves in where they won’t have time to draw a weapon it could take three days to read through them.

Owning a weapon is a great thing, providing you are not a criminal, insane or moron. Just owning the weapon is not enough. We have a saying in my dojo about this very thing. If you train Karate some what you will be some what successful in defending your life when it is need but more than likely will get beaten. Karate or gun…it is the same thing. I own a few weapons. I can carry my weapon but that doesn’t mean it will ever be my own recourse for self defense…ever. It is better to be trained with both a weapon and bare handed than to rely on one or the other without a back up plan.


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