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Attacking bear sent running by karate black belt fisherman

NAGANOHARA, Gunma -- A highly ranked karate black belt sent an attacking bear packing here on the early afternoon of Sept. 1 with quick blows aimed at the animal's eyes.

The 63-year-old man was fishing in a mountain river when a bear suddenly appeared, stood on its hind legs and launched itself at him, inflicting minor injuries including bite and claw marks on the right side of his upper body, head and arms. Though unarmed, the man counterattacked by striking at the bear's eyes, and the animal fled upstream.

According to local police, the riverbank where the attack occurred is a popular fishing spot. The animal was apparently around 190 centimeters tall, and is thought to be an Asian black bear. The man is about 170 centimeters tall.

Following the attack, the 63-year-old made his own way to a nearby hospital in Naganohara, Gunma Prefecture, and received treatment for his injuries.

Bears apparently cause significant damage to crops at farms in the area, but according to the Naganohara Municipal Government's agriculture and forestry section head, "There hasn't been anyone injured by a bear in town for several years, as far as I can remember." The town posted warning signs on municipal roads, local hot spring facilities and other locations following the attack. The local hunting club was preparing to set up bear traps on the morning of Sept. 2.

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