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Some people say that in order to be a good martial artist or an expert of self defense, it is necessary to possess a killer instinct. Yet the very people who need self defense skills the most are those people who tend towards gentleness and non-violence. Would a person who is truly gentle and peaceful even enter a Dojo, if he/she were actually convinced that he/she would have to develop a killer instinct? Yes they would! They are people who need self-defense skills, but skill alone will not get the job done; one must have the will to apply the skills. If you are afraid of water but have a need to learn to swim, it is logical that you will have to overcome your fear and enter the water if you are ever to learn to swim. You may learn to perform all the movements required of swimming, but until you jump into the water, you are only pretending to swim. A nonviolent person may only be nonviolent if they possess the ability to be violent or if they have people around them that possess the ability to be violent and are willing to protect the nonviolent. Without people with the ability to be violent when required, nonviolent people would not exist. Probably not. More important, what needs to be considered, is a killer instinct actually a positive attribute or a deadly attitude that needs to be expunged from a martial artist's personality. It is a positive attribute.
Let's consider what a killer instinct actually is and what it can mean to a modern martial artist, not from the macho point of view, like in the movies, but in a realistic point of view, dealing with legal repercussions. A killer instinct is a willingness to kill in order to survive. True. In regards to sport, it is a willingness to enter into a competition with a disregard for the person you are facing, so that what happens to your opponent is viewed as his responsibility for entering the competition, so that the trophy can be won. False! A killer instinct has nothing to with competition. In a competition, you must be willing and able to do what the competition requires, but there are no legitimate competitions that require you to kill the opponent. You may have to punish the opponent physically, but the opponent accepts the risk of injury. A Judo player may be a police sniper who has killed from a distance, a Special Forces soldier who has killed in close, or even an ordinary person with a keen killer instinct; however, no matter what happens on the mat, the player will never have even a fleeting thought of killing the opponent. A killer instinct make the player a tougher opponent, but it does not make the player a killer. It is this attitude that has led to the deaths of competitors in boxing rings, Judo tournaments, Karate competitions, and Tae Kwon Do matches. Says who! Even in the realm of professional boxing where millions of fights have occurred over the decades, deaths are extremely rare and they were not from a fighter wanting to kill the opponent, they were just the accepted consequences of participating in risky behaviors.