Universal Rule – You Can’t Beat Up Your Father*

My son (Nick Ward) and I studied Kyokushin Karate together in the mid-1990s. Our Sensi was a Persian Bahai by the name of Rahmat. The name Rahmat (Arabic writing: رحمة) is a Muslim boys Names. The meaning of the name Rahmat is ” Mercy ” He pushed us hard and do not remember too much mercy from him.

“Kyokushin is a style of stand-up fighting and was founded in 1964 by Korean-Japanese Masutatsu Oyama. “Kyokushin” is Japanese for “the ultimate truth”. It is rooted in a philosophy of self-improvement, discipline, and hard training. Its full contact style has international appeal.” Wikipedia

Kyokushin style karate has elements of other self-defense disciplines. In Kyokushin Kumite, you fight standing up with the intention of stopping your opponent with a single knockout blow.

Nick was 15 years old at the time and I was 40. Nick had advanced to a blue belt a month earlier. To advance to a blue belt you worked out for 90 minutes, perform katas, broke wood, and followed by 5 x 3-minute rounds of full-contact Kumite (sparing).

My Kumite test was progressive, each opponent would be tougher more advanced until the final opponent I would face would be a black belt, the senpai of our dojo. He was as tall and weighed the same as me. The idea of the test was not that you manage to win each round, but if you could survive while demonstrating your skills of attacking, defending, holding your ground, moving forward and remaining on your feet at the end.

The first opponent was a tall young woman in her 20’s who was another white belt. I controlled most of three 3 minutes round, but she managed to kick me at the side of my head, something that no other opponent every did again.

My next opponent was a blue belt who was testing for his yellow belt. He was shorter and I outweighed him by 100 pounds. Like with most of my opponents I would stay close and used my weight and height to push them around.

My third opponent was my son who was rested and was waiting for me. He weighed in about 30 pounds lighter and 4 inches shorter.

I was given no time to rest between rounds and Sensi Rahmat shouted Hajime! (start) and we began the Kumite.

Nick and I went directly toward each and with an emphatic Kiai! (the term is a compound of ki (Japanese: 気) meaning “energy” or “mooYo a(u) (Japanese: 合), we began to strike and kick each other with increasing force, neither of us surrendering any ground. We were not graceful combatants, and we kept pounding away with louder Kiai! until our gi’s fell open and belts had fallen off. Neither Nick, a heavyweight, and me a super heavyweight would ever be mistaken for Jackie Chan or Bruce Lee.

I was relying on that I had a longer reach and the psychological advantage of father over son. I was winning in the first two minutes of the round and was striking him as hard as I could. In the final minute, Nick tried a move that had been successful in earlier Kumites. With his left hand he quickly grabbed my shoulder tugged down on my gi, and with me, head closer to the ground tried to strike my ribs with his knee. I managed to get my arm under his knee and lifting him up and forced him to the ground. The Sensi yelled yamete! (stop), Kumite rules were that once your opponent was on ground you stopped any striking or kicking. I stood over Nick and with an intimidating pose and screamed KIAI! and was awarded the points.

Okay now the *asterisk explained that I had used in the title. You see, you can’t beat up your old man unless he embarrasses you in front of all in the dojo.

The points were awarded and Nick returned to his feet and Sensi gave the command Hajime! to continue. Nick surged into action, striking me and kicking me harder than he ever did before. I was in full blocking defense mode and the first time ever with was backing up. As the round was coming to end he was about to knock me through an interior glass door. The Sensi yelled the Hajime! (stop). And simultaneously Nick struck me with a final blow to my kidneys. Lucky for me that he did not follow through with the punch or it would make for interesting conversation at my memorial service.

Well down went Frazer, and now Nick with even a louder KIAI! stood over me with intimation and victory. I was down for a few minutes, winded and with a sore kidney and suffering from a bruised ego.

I stayed down a little longer to catch my breath as I still had 2 more rounds with a brown and a black belt

Nick discovered he could beat up the old man after all and this father was proud of his son.


Chris Ward
Chris Ward
Chris is the Client Success Officer and co-founder of Empathy North. Chris brings nearly 40-years of enterprise client experience to the table. He is a master of process, design thinking, and empathetic business communication. Chris is deeply committed to relationship selling and creating value in every interaction. His business leadership success has included his own purpose-driven approach and commitment to leveraging technology in the genuine service of people.






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