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November 26, 1973

Dangers of Karate

JAMA. 1973;226(9):1118-1119. doi:10.1001/jama.1973.03230090042014

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To the Editor.—  In regard to the letter from Dr. John Cantwell and Dr. James King, Jr. (224:1424, 1973) detailing the unusual posttrauma course of the liver laceration suffered during a karate lesson, we would like to comment.Martial arts have recently become more popular, and, as a result, the number of students has correspondingly increased. We strongly believe that more injuries will follow unless a rather rigid methodical approach to martial arts training and instruction is utilized. The patient cited in the aforementioned letter was injured during her second karate lesson. In no conceivable way should that patient, as a student, have been exchanging blows. Karate, as with all other sports (not only martial arts), is to be practiced gradually, beginning with physical conditioning and basic moves. It is only after the student has progressed through controlled sparring, which may take months of training, that he should attempt free-sparring.