Japanese fisherman uses karate to fight off attacking bear

Bear spray and guns aren’t the only defense against attacking bears. So is a black belt.

An Asian black bear, like this one, made an unprovoked attack on a Japanese fishermen.

An Asian black bear, like this one, made an unprovoked attack on a Japanese fishermen. Photo: Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

A 63-year-old fisherman was fishing a mountain creek in Japan on Thursday afternoon when an Asian black bear attacked, repeatedly biting and scratching him, including on his head.

"The bear was so strong, and it knocked me down," Atsushi Aoki told Tokyo Broadcasting System, according to Japan Today. "It turned me over and bit me right here [in the leg]."

The unprovoked attack, likened by the Daily Mail and other media outlets as reminiscent of scenes in The Revenant when Leonardo DiCaprio tussled with a bear, occurred near the Jizo River in Gunma, northwest of Tokyo, and forced Aoki to take matters into his own hands.

"I thought it's either I kill him or he kills me," Aoki told public broadcaster NHK.

Aoki, a black belt in karate, began fighting back.

After assuming a fighting stance with his right fist in front of him, Aoki, who is 5 1/2-feet tall, repeatedly jabbed at the eyes of the 6-foot-2 bear, eventually sending it scurrying off into the woods.

"He drove himself to the hospital, and he even remembered to grab the fish that he had caught," a local policeman told Agence France-Presse.

The Japan Times reported that Aoki suffered a scratched-up face and bites on the head, forehead, right arm and right thigh.

The Japanese press hailed the ordeal as a "man vs. nature tale of triumph."

The Nikkan Sports tabloid's headine was "Man fights off bear with bare hands!" Which is exactly what Aoki did.

Bear attacks aren't unusual in Japan. Just Monday two men in Fukushima were attacked and received serious face and head injuries, and in June, four people were killed by bears in the mountain so Akita.

After the attack on Aoki, Gunma police officials stressed that the best course of action is not to fight but walk away quietly and report the encounter to the police. But when a bear is attacking, experts will also tell you to fight back.

Of course, it helps to have a black belt.

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