Are You Offensive?

320px-Lioness_and_cubMy morning ritual on the way to work usually involves stopping at the Big Apple on South Main Street in Brewer. A few days ago, I happened to be wearing a shirt with the Maine Traditional Karate and Kenshin Kan logos on it. Another customer approached me from behind and asked “do you teach there?” Assuming he meant at our dojo and not at the front counter of the Big Apple, I turned and responded that I was a student at the dojo located in Orrington.

The middle-aged man had a hard look about him – with weathered features clearly reflecting the toll of a rough life.   “Can I answer something for you about our school,” I inquired.  “Yeah,” the man responded, “is your style offensive or defensive?”

I pondered his question for a quick moment and responded “ahhh grasshopper, is the lioness who strikes out to protect her cubs from the attacking hyena engaged offensively or defensively?” … Okay, I didn’t really say that, but, you have to admit, that would have been a cool reply.

I’d be really interested to hear from everyone reading this, how would you have answered this question?  If you are not a member of our dojo, please identify what martial arts style you practice and answer in reference to your own experiences and training.  If you don’t actively practice a martial art, your perspective is of no less value or interest – it simply reflects a different point of view.  Please share your thoughts on martial arts as you perceive them in our world.

Please be bold and post even a short answer (under a pseudonym if you must).  All responses are appreciated and will be respected.




(lioness picture: By greg willis [CC BY-SA 2.5]via Wikimedia Commons)

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2 Replies to “Are You Offensive?”

    1. Thank you for your reply. Indeed it does … oddly something of which several people I have spoken with are not aware. Our Sensei tries to share something “extra” when one has a private lesson. He had shared that with me several years ago during my very first private lesson (he used the term passive/defensive but with the same message). Perhaps not intentionally, but if you look at the gi of the Kobra Kai in the original Karate Kid movie, I think the fist depicted in their logo is the right (offensive/active). Thank you again for your thoughtful comment.

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