black bear karate
Photo by Menno Schaefer / Shutterstock

Japanese fisherman uses karate to fend off angry black bear

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As an outdoors-loving Canadian, you’re likely well versed in what to do if you see a bear out on the trail. In an ideal encounter, you’d stay calm, back away slowly, and give the bear space to enjoy its rightful place in the woods.

But when a 63-year-old fisherman in the town of Naganohara, Japan, found himself staring into the fierce eyes of an Asiatic black bear alongside a mountain creek, the encounter was anything but ideal. “The bear was so strong, and it knocked me down,” Atsushi Aoki told the Tokyo Broadcasting System. “It turned me over and bit me right here,” he said, pointing to his bandaged leg.

After being bitten and scratched by the six foot two bear, Aoki realized that running wasn’t an option, so he did what almost none of us would do—he dusted off his karate skills, assumed a fighting stance, and jabbed the angry bear square in its eyes.

Luckily for Aoki (or perhaps for the bear), the eye jab was enough to send the bear scrambling back into the woods, leaving Aoki to drive himself to a hospital in Gunma, north-west of Tokyo, to be treated for injuries to his head, arm, and leg.

“He drove himself to the hospital, and he even remembered to grab the fish that he had caught,” said a local police spokesperson, who added that Japanese citizens should not resort to karate when confronted by one of the 15,000 black bears estimated to live in Japan.

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