Rod Martin: Keep a level head

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Sensei Rod Martin, 5th Dan, is the founder of and teaches at his karate club, Hoshindo, in Brisbane. Here he talks us through the key elements of self-defence

Rod Martin - defence against a headbut

Q&A- Rod, what are the most important elements of self-defence?

In my opinion, the most important aspect of self-defence is avoidance. Don’t go there; don’t put yourself in harm’s way (if possible) and keep a level head. Just as we would not know what white was without the opposite of black, we must train in violence to understand peace. Training helps us understand our aggressor better, to be able to pre-empt an attack and defuse a confrontation. To avoid or back down from a situation shows true mastery, but to fight is to already have lost the battle.

In a situation where violence is unavoidable, we take the line of absolutes. Like the Samurai teaching of old, we finish the job without anger or intention. We use the necessary force and work to protect the attacker from themselves as much as defend ourselves. There is no pride to be taken and no story after — we just take the steps to protect our families and ourselves.

To avoid we must always be aware of our situation, step down from conflict and be confident in ourselves. Martial arts training is not about any conflict other than that within ourselves. So, hold your head high, don’t look for trouble but be prepared to deal with it if it arises.

PHOTO GALLERY: Defence against a headbutt

About Ron Martin
Sensei Rod Martin, 5th Dan, is the founder of and teaches at his karate club, Hoshindo, in Brisbane. He earned his 5th Dan in Seiwakai Goju-ryu under the tutelage of Seiwakai head Shuji Tasaki Hanshi and is also ranked 5th Dan in the Japan Karatedo Federation (JKF) Gojukai organisation. Martin is most passionate about the integration of the ancient concepts of energetics (ki) and do (the ‘way’) back into karate, as he believes that karate is an art with a strong base in modern training techniques and a healthy respect for the ancient ways.

After training as an acupuncturist, he has dedicated his training to the pursuit of health and wellbeing. “Training should keep us well balanced into later life and should strengthen the body, not destroy it,” he says.
Still very active in the dojo, Sensei Martin is the current JKF Gojukai Australian Kata Champion in the Veterans and Open divisions.

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