Given Self-Control is our Powerful Word of the Month, I’d like to share with you a Powerful Strategy to control anger.

Anger usually manifests in violence, in word or deed, as the quickest way to overcome a perceived threat. Violence is the default problem-solving strategy children use until they are taught more pro-social solutions to problems and conflicts.

Physically, you can tell when someone is ready to lash out in anger when you see their fists clench.  If you are in a heated conversation with someone and you see their fists clench, don’t be surprised to soon see those fists flying toward your face.

Anger, of course, breeds regret; we hurt others when we would not have, had cooler heads prevailed.

Anger thrusts us into quick, thoughtless action, the simplest action being to make a fist and hit.

Mental Strategies like “Stop and Think,” are beneficial, yet sometimes Physical Strategies are even more effective.

Fortunately,The Kenpo Salute our students learn provides a powerful strategy to align with this impulse to lash out and literally, put a lid on it.

You see The Salute in every class, the hand covering the fist.  The Salute represents the Warrior (the body) and the Scholar (the mind). We remind students to “cover our weapon” as a reminder that our minds should control our bodies (the hand covering the fist).

When a student wants to lash out, the simple solution to control this behavior is to align with the motion of punching.  Instead of punching someone else, the student simply redirects this tendency and punches his fist into his hand, making The Salute.

It’s as if he catches his anger in his own hand before he hurts someone.  This gesture prevents a student from lashing out because he cannot simultaneously hit another person and punch himself in the palm.

Now, after making The Salute, the student can take a breath and remind himself he is covering his weapon.  When the angry outburst is controlled, this allows the student time to think and use other mental strategies to resolve conflict peacefully.

Anger is an emotional hijacking that produces rash actions, actions we’d rather not take, actions we’d take back if we could.

Simple physical strategies, like making The Salute, can eliminate the pain of regret.