Karate Boys in Africa – Karate is for self-defense

African Karate Boys Vol. 2

The previous volume explained how the Zambian boys and I started practicing karate together.

Local people visited my house for lessons..

Requests for teaching karate at the first meeting… 

Selection out of hundreds of candidates…

Dojo created in the middle of the grass over 2 meters high…

These evoked mixed feelings for me.

There were only 5 students out of hundreds of candidates who could continued until the end.

I would like to talk about one of them we will call “Karate Boy A” in this article.

FYI, the country where I lived is Zambia.

Zambia (/ˈzæmbiə/), officially the Republic of Zambia, is a landlocked sovereign state in Southern Africa,[8]neighbouring the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the north, Tanzania to the north-east, Malawi to the east, MozambiqueZimbabweBotswana and Namibia to the south, and Angola to the west. The capital city is Lusaka, in the south-central part of Zambia.  Source: Wikipedia


1. Promise of Men

I was on the narrow path near my house when he first asked, 

Please teach me karate

I rejected, because I thought he would give up quickly. 

Many children in Zambia grow up in a peaceful environment. They are not even beaten by their parents when being punished.

Therefore, I had to endlessly meet  students who never came back on the following day after they got a gentle knee on their pancreas from me. 

In a real fight, no one listens to you even if you claim “it hurts“. Enemies never wait even if you beg them to do so.

The more your opponents go berserk, the stronger you have to be.

If you want to protect loved ones, you train every single day and deal with pain beyond imagination. That is what the road of martial arts is.

Just work on your homework“, I told him.

He left with good grace. I thought he knows how to accept the inevitable thing.

Few days later, as usual I heard “Teach me Karate!“, from behind me.

I was tired of hearing that phrase. Almost all of the children in the village where I lived repeated that phrase once they saw my face.

They assume that all Asians are good at kung-fu or karate. Needless to say, that’s obviously thanks to Jackie Chan and Jet Li

Reminding of my youth

I turned around, keeping down my bothersome feelings. 

Get a girlfriend“, I told him. 

There are more important things in life than what you assume is important now.

It’s just matter of time, and sooner or later you will realize it. I thought it better to tell him during this occasion.  

It is very important to move on in life once you realize your priorities weren’t in order.

However, Karate boy A smiled wryly and said,

Even if I got a girlfriend, she wouldn’t take me to where I want to go

I had a feeling that I might understand what he meant. I also had some troubles when I was a student (Read more on this article)

This boy could have been through a similar experience, I thought.

Abraham Lincoln said… 

Determine that the thing can and shall be done, and then we shall find the way

The determined persons, even if they face a headwind, stick to their guns.


Then, I gave him homework. This time it wasn’t for the school, but karate.

50 fist push ups and stretch your legs, every single day, if you continue them for a month, then come back to me.” I said.

Yes, sensei!“, replied Karate boy A with full smile.

FYI: image of fist push up
Embed from Getty Images

Honestly, I didn’t expect anything at all. Moreover, I said it thinking he would give up.

Although you may have a big goal, you still have to make steady efforts. It is actually hard to continue. Those who are not very determined cannot last a month.

Besides, I already had three students, and I was teaching them at that dojo in the grass. And my main duty was a science teacher, therefore, I was not planning to increase karate boys.   

And then, few months passed.

I completely forgot about Karate boy A.


Next page: Circumstances in Africa 



メールアドレスが公開されることはありません。 * が付いている欄は必須項目です