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West Seattle karate instructors teach you 'How to Win a Fight'

Lawrence Kane and Kris Wilder started practicing martial arts for very different reasons.

"I was a little skinny kid and I got picked on all the time," Kane said. "So my folks decided that I needed to get tough."

Meanwhile, Wilder was inspired by a white-haired, cartoon ladies' man.

"I saw Race Bannon on Jonny Quest and he was really cool," said Wilder, who laughed as he reminisced. "He wore slip on shoes and slacks and he kissed the girls and he knew judo and it was like 'I want to do that.'"

But, regardless of why they started, they both stuck with it. Years later the two would cross paths, and begin work together at the West Seattle Karate Academy.

"It's just been a friendship that's worked out really well," said Wilder, who is head instructor at the dojo. "And we both kind of have a set of strengths and weaknesses and the other guy kind of fills in on that."

Kane works at the academy when he's not at his full-time job as an "exec at a large aerospace company you've probably heard of."

On top of teaching karate together, the two men share another passion. They've authored and co-authored more than 10 books on martial arts, and are about to release another.

How to Win a Fight will be released Tuesday, but don't let the title fool you. The book is a lot more than a how-to guide on throwing the best punch.

"When we say with the title, How to Win a Fight, what we're really talking about is how to deathly avoid it before it ever begins," Wilder said of the book, which he says is meant to teach the reader "what fighting really is, what is really worth fighting for and what isn't, and how to avoid it."

Kane said in his experience, as much as 95 percent of all potential violence in avoidable.

"Because you see it coming and you can leave," he said. "Occasionally, maybe two, three five percent of the time, that's when you have to go hands on."

And don't worry, when it comes down to those rare occasions, the book won't leave you empty-handed.

"We talk about some strategies you can use to prevail," said Kane, who noted that it's hard to learn how to fight from a book, but it will help you learn a few keys moves.

They real key, however, is deciding when those moves are absolutely necessary.

"You believe you're going to die," said Wilder. "Now it's time to fight."

Lawrence Kane and Kris Wilder are co-authors of: The Way of Kata: A Comprehensive Guide for Deciphering Martial Applications and The Little Black Book of Violence.

About the Author

Brandi Kruse is a reporter for KIRO Radio who is as spontaneous and adventurous in her free time as she is on the job. Brandi arrived at KIRO Radio in March 2011 and has already collected three regional Edward R. Murrow awards for her reporting.


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