When someone attacks you, they have already made a decision about how much they value your life. Out of an infinite number of possible actions this person could take, they chose violence. This one incident is likely representative of their past and of their future. As someone capable of dealing with such an individual, I have a duty to do so.
I don't speak Japanese. I can only assume that all of the translations of O'Sensei's philophy and beliefs are correct. I often wonder though how much the translators bias affects the end result. One of the more enlightening discussions I've had involved Gichin Funakoshi's (Founder of Shotokan Karate)maxim that there is no first attack in Karate. This has been taken to mean everything from the first move of any kata must be a defensive one to any self-defense situation must begin with a block or an evasion or other non-offensive technique. A number of indviduals I have corresponded with have indicated that the translation is mostly correct, but fails to take into account the context of the original Japanese. The saying itself refers in part to the game of Go. In Go, (in my very limited knowledge), there is a type of move that forces your opponent to make a specific action. I suppose it's something like chess where if you place you opponent in check,the only thing they can do is to get their king out of check. They can't do anything else, even if a move presented itself that would place their opponent in checkmate.
Taking the context of the saying into account, imo, radically changes the philosophy. The saying comes to mean that a karate person won't take any actions that place someone else in a position where their only choice is to respond in a certain way. While this does have the effect of "No first attack" in the sense that the karate person shouldn't wander into a bar and smack someone, it leaves a much wider range of responses open. (By the way, if these ramblings make sense to anyone and you can point me in the right direction for similar discussions regarding Aikido philosophy, please let me know.)
My specific answer would be that if the attack came in such a fashion that it flowed into the lethal response, that is what I would do. The attacker has already instigated a lethal level of attack. If I screw up my initial chance, not only do I possibly die, others are in danger as well. If other circumstances exist, such as my family is nearby or there are more than one attacker, I would definitely use lethal force rather than run the risk of failing.`
Last edited by isshinryu88 : 08-28-2002 at 01:40 PM.