If Karate Arrived Today

Bill's forum was the first! All subjects are welcome. Participation by all encouraged.

Moderator: Bill Glasheen

If Karate Arrived Today

Postby MikeK » Sat Oct 09, 2010 4:39 pm

http://www.24fightingchickens.com/2010/ ... -us-today/

If Karate Arrived in the US Today
by Rob Redmond - September 15, 2010


In the 1960′s, karate schools were practically non-existent, and what few existed were basically small schools operated by idealistic soldiers returning from Okinawa after training to a level most today would consider intermediate at best. When Japanese karate experts first started exporting their martial art to other nations in the late 1950′s and early 1960′s, they were filling what was essentially a void in the marketplace.

That void no longer exists.

What if those same Japanese guys were to arrive in the US today instead of back then? What if instead of moving to the US during the 1960′s, they had waited until now and tried to export karate to 21st Century America?

I think back in the 1960′s there were few options for martial arts training, so any intrepid Japanese karate expert could show up, put on a demonstration of himself kicking and sweeping a boxer who was not expecting these illegal moves or put on exhibitions against professional wrestlers of the time.

If karate had never come to the US during that time… imagine if that same Japanese guy made his debut in today’s world with everything the way it is now.

Professional wrestlers don’t look anything like they did back then. Now they are 300 pound steroid using muscle monsters who probably would not be injured by anything any karate expert did to them short of shooting them with a .50 caliber machine gun. And boxers? Boxers are no longer representative of the nation’s tough guys. Brazilian Jujitsu has supplanted it as the renowned fighting system of the US.

The first Japanese guy to show up and teach punching and kicking would be tackled, sat on, and beaten senseless.

Traditional Japanese Karate would never have established a beach-head and the world would be a different place today.
I was dreaming of the past...
MikeK
 
Posts: 3672
Joined: Wed Oct 27, 2004 9:40 pm

Postby MikeK » Sat Oct 09, 2010 4:42 pm

OK, there are a few holes in Rob's argument, but it's an interesting premise.

So, how could karate be presented in today's martial market place in order to make it a relevant activity/art?
I was dreaming of the past...
MikeK
 
Posts: 3672
Joined: Wed Oct 27, 2004 9:40 pm

Today. . .

Postby gmattson » Sat Oct 09, 2010 4:57 pm

Martial art schools are busy carving out their marketing niche and it isn't selling the public on their "ultimate" self defense methods.

Kids are the target. Parents recognize that schools are unable to teach discipline, manners, anti bullying methods and other social qualities they want their kids to possess. Dojo have the ability, methods and parental support to tackle these social areas of the martial arts. Karate movies of old reinforce this belief.

What parent would bring their kid to a place where they learn to survive in a cage?

No question about the original article being correct. Assuming that the Asians coming to the USA were living in a "timecapsul" and arrive with the same training and knowledge possessed in 1960.

Interesting discussion. . .
GEM
"Do or do not. there is no try!"
User avatar
gmattson
Site Admin
 
Posts: 6038
Joined: Wed Sep 16, 1998 6:01 am
Location: Mount Dora, Florida

Postby Jason Rees » Sat Oct 09, 2010 5:40 pm

Hey, Mike.

Karate, Judo, Aikido, Jujutsu... I think alot of them would have a problem facing the spectre proposed above. Not just karate.

I think Mr. Mattson hit it on the head. Both here and in Omaha, I've seen entire busloads of kids picked up by a driver to take directly to a dojo from school. With very few exceptions, at dojos and dojangs, the kids' classes have a ton more people in them than the adult classes.

I also recently discovered that you don't have a column with Examiner.com anymore. What's up with that?
Life begins & ends cold, naked & covered in crap.
User avatar
Jason Rees
Site Admin
 
Posts: 1754
Joined: Wed Nov 14, 2007 11:06 am
Location: USA

Postby f.Channell » Sat Oct 09, 2010 11:59 pm

Lets get in a time machine and discover how these cage fighters will look in 30-40 years. Will they be healthy and active and be able to play golf all day like sensei Mattson? Or will they have giant cauliflower ears, neck and back pain and not be able to climb stairs because of their damaged knees?

Personally I would rather be the latter.
Sans Peur Ne Obliviscaris
www.hinghamkarate.com
User avatar
f.Channell
 
Posts: 3542
Joined: Thu Oct 21, 1999 6:01 am
Location: Valhalla

Postby Jason Rees » Sun Oct 10, 2010 3:26 am

f.Channell wrote:
Personally I would rather be the latter.


8O
Life begins & ends cold, naked & covered in crap.
User avatar
Jason Rees
Site Admin
 
Posts: 1754
Joined: Wed Nov 14, 2007 11:06 am
Location: USA

Postby MikeK » Sun Oct 10, 2010 4:18 am

So do we toss the martial aspect of our arts aside and embrace a holistic health model for our arts? Do we become Emily Post in white canvas PJs?

I don't mind my training being less intensive than a guy training for a cage fight, but is our training on par with the guy who is training as a hobby with no intention of stepping into a ring?

I think there is a middle ground for karate where it's martial heritage is primary, but still approachable for the average person. But Lord knows, I haven't figured out how yet.
I was dreaming of the past...
MikeK
 
Posts: 3672
Joined: Wed Oct 27, 2004 9:40 pm

Postby Josann » Sun Oct 10, 2010 10:17 am

MikeK wrote:OK, there are a few holes in Rob's argument, but it's an interesting premise.

So, how could karate be presented in today's martial market place in order to make it a relevant activity/art?


If karate "arrived" today it would probably need to go beyond the way most of us learned it, i.e. we would need to emphasize more of the standing grappling that could follow the grabs, emphasize more of the takedowns, and probably add a cross training element to it. Knife and gun disarms and defenses would also be a big sell as well. It is very unfortunate that most Americans think of karate as a kids activity that lacks seriousness and effectiveness. Karate schools don't attract the group that could use it the most, the teens and early 20 somethings that could benefit from it as a lifelong activity. MMA and UFC have caught their attention with it's obvious effectiveness and quick learning curve, but after a few years of that how many will be practicing after age 30? I'd guess not many.

Those of us that love uechi have to find ways that we can use and apply it if needed, assuming that self defense is part of why we continue to study. I also think that the senior citizens that are seeking tai chi are also a demographic group that also could benefit from karate in general but uechi ryu in particular. All of us who have done uechi for a number of years can probably rattle off the names of many who are in their 70's and even older that are great examples of the lifelong benefits of karate as a lifelong practice.

I think karate has missed the boat and the way that most schools market (Your kid will become an honor student if he learns karate, Help his ADD, 12 year old black belts, etc.) is what has hurt and continues to hurt the state of karate in the U.S. today. I don't know this could change at this point.
Josann
 
Posts: 227
Joined: Sat Nov 02, 2002 6:01 am

Josann. . .

Postby gmattson » Sun Oct 10, 2010 3:05 pm

Right on!!

Most Uechi dojo continue to offer the "adult" version of training for adults and a somewhat modified version for kids. At my dojo we have a full children's class plus a small group of adults. If I taught the kids the same way as adults, I wouldn't be able to stay in business. . . and to have a facility for my small adult class. . .

If someone simply wants to fight or learn the essence of defending themselves, why would they choose a karate program? They will take a six hour seminar and get a pretty certificate that says they now have the ability to defend themselves.

Uechi-ryu, as I have always (and continue) to teach, is a "lifelong" activity that works on a mental, physical and to a certain extent, spiritual levels of the participants.

This philosophy is quite different from what the "strictly self-defense" schools are offering or advertising.

From what I've learned from the marketing experts in the martial arts, the MMA big names are modifying their marketing and curriculum in order to "hold" their students. In other words, they realize that to survive, they need a loyal and steady clientèle who enjoy the training and probably aren't in it as a way to prepare for a caged fighting career. Their school's survival depends on the "average" person and his/her reason for "remaining" with a program.

Does this mean that a successful dojo can't turn out super martial artist? Absolutely not. As I've always said. . . A good dojo will have a few fantastic students, some excellent students, many good students and lots of students who are achieving their own goals - are very happy to be doing anything physical and are helping pay the bills so that everyone will have a place to train.

These dojo will be here forever. Those who "think tough"/act tough and live in distant past will be destined to have five students and working out in their garage or basement. . . telling the rest of us how we've "sold out"!

I don't know about you, but I can live with that!
GEM
"Do or do not. there is no try!"
User avatar
gmattson
Site Admin
 
Posts: 6038
Joined: Wed Sep 16, 1998 6:01 am
Location: Mount Dora, Florida

Re: Josann. . .

Postby MikeK » Sun Oct 10, 2010 6:14 pm

gmattson wrote:Uechi-ryu, as I have always (and continue) to teach, is a "lifelong" activity that works on a mental, physical and to a certain extent, spiritual levels of the participants.


I agree fully with that statement for most martial arts, and it's the way I've been training also. I do think we have run into the problem that often the martial aspect of the arts has be relegated to somewhere beneath "teaching discipline, manners, anti bullying methods and other social qualities" and trying to keep it a life long activity.
In my view things like manners, self control and dojo etiquette are important and supportive of our training so we don't break our partners too often, but they are not the reason the arts exist. And for some as they age they may have to bow out of some aspects of the art.

The mental, physical and spiritual (moral/ethical boundaries?) are even more important and supportive of our martial endeavors, and I do think we could flip that coin so the martial aspect is done to develop those attributes. Heck we could switch back and forth over and over though out our lives.

FWIW, I don't think anyone sells out if they have a successful dojo, it's a tough business, but I also find something appealing about 5 guys in a basement, garage, yard or barn working on the things that scare customers away from a store front. They may be the ones keeping the scary part of the arts alive.
I was dreaming of the past...
MikeK
 
Posts: 3672
Joined: Wed Oct 27, 2004 9:40 pm

Postby f.Channell » Sun Oct 10, 2010 6:40 pm

The vast majority of people training MMA will never see the inside of the ring. They are there for the workout also, not just for fighting skills. The MMA business with it's limited age group is also changing classes to attract children and older folks. I saw in a martial arts trade journal that one of the UFC heroes has about 80% kids training at his school.

If we had nightly shows on Karate like MMA does, how big would karate be?

My 20 year old nephew recently changed to Judo from MMA because the safety of the students wasn't as assured, and the mat was filthy and people were getting odd skin diseases. Tough guys don't workout on clean mats I guess.
Sans Peur Ne Obliviscaris
www.hinghamkarate.com
User avatar
f.Channell
 
Posts: 3542
Joined: Thu Oct 21, 1999 6:01 am
Location: Valhalla

Postby KentuckyUechi » Sun Oct 10, 2010 8:41 pm

Deleted.
Last edited by KentuckyUechi on Sun Oct 10, 2010 11:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Everything in Moderation
User avatar
KentuckyUechi
 
Posts: 84
Joined: Thu Jul 31, 2008 11:58 pm
Location: Central Kentucky

Postby MikeK » Sun Oct 10, 2010 8:56 pm

All very true Fred, but karate isn't on TV or even much in the movies anymore. MMA is and what people are seeing is MMA being used for it's intended purpose, in actual bouts. People can see what it's all about.
Karate on the other hand, not so much. I also think if the MMA gyms start successfully getting kids into their schools they'll be drawing from the same pool as the karate schools. And with the advertising of MMA I'd think karate would lose that battle. So I'm hoping they stay with the hard core guys who don't mind showing up to work with a little ring worm and black eyes.

Well we can always go back to our civilian self defense roots if that space isn't already taken. Whoops, it is by those darned Israeli KM guys.

What the heck have us karate folks been doing while everyone was eating our lunch?
I was dreaming of the past...
MikeK
 
Posts: 3672
Joined: Wed Oct 27, 2004 9:40 pm

Mike. . .

Postby gmattson » Sun Oct 10, 2010 9:47 pm

We've continued to "do our thing". . .

Why the change in interest? It has something to do with the attention span of Westerners. How many TV shows survive 5 years? Are the new shows any better than the old? Or are they simply different and are packaged in a new and exciting manner?

The evolution of the martial arts actually took place rather slowly. A lot to do with the idea that the Chinese, Japanese or Okinawans possessed certain secrets that no westerner could ever master. Therefore, we compliant westerners continued to do what our teachers told us to do in a kind of blissful ignorance and acceptance. In other words, we got a lot better doing what we were doing, but with the believe that our teachers still had secrets that they would someday give us.

At some point, certain mavericks (in this case Brazilians) decided that they could improve on what they were taught and actually accomplished what formally was considered "impossible"!

Once this revolution occurred, within a few years karate was not the "ultimate" in self defense and in typical western fashion, every time you turned around a new "source" emerged with a better way.

So the question remains, "what will happen to karate" now that everyone believes that from a self defense perspective, with all the new methods of fighting around, that karate is no longer the best?

The answer is "nothing"! It will continue to exist as an ever changing physical activity, along with Judo, Yoga, Taichi and many other activities that are based on useful core principles and taught by sensitive, intelligent and knowledgeable instructors.

What will happen to "Tybo", Richard Simmons "losing with the oldies" and the thousand other "new and exciting" methods to do something that millions of people feel must be done with their bodies?

Well, they will probably be relegated to the trash barrels along with 45 records, VHS tapes and winners of UFC #109, who set up shop thinking they would take advantage of their 15 minutes of fame and make millions from all their fans flocking to their gyms.

And. . . if you haven't noticed, our Uechi dojo are also evolving. We are keeping the "core" but learning from many sources and discovering how to use our "core" methods to improve on our self-defense abilities. We are only limited by our own imagination and willingness to expand on those core methods.

Ask any of my students if their is grappling in Uechi and they will say "of course"! When is the last time you performed seisan or the many new versions of the bunkai?
GEM
"Do or do not. there is no try!"
User avatar
gmattson
Site Admin
 
Posts: 6038
Joined: Wed Sep 16, 1998 6:01 am
Location: Mount Dora, Florida

Postby f.Channell » Mon Oct 11, 2010 10:03 pm

Brazilian Jujitsu has supplanted it as the renowned fighting system of the US.

The first Japanese guy to show up and teach punching and kicking would be tackled, sat on, and beaten senseless.

Traditional Japanese Karate would never have established a beach-head and the world would be a different place today.


Actually in this part of the statement, Last time I checked Jujitsu was a Japanese term and art. The Japanese taught it to the Brazilians. The founder of Judo Jigoro Kano sent emissaries there to do so.
If you pick up a 1960's black belt magazine on e-bay. There is about a 90% chance a grappler will be on the cover. So it has just come full circle in many ways.
Sans Peur Ne Obliviscaris
www.hinghamkarate.com
User avatar
f.Channell
 
Posts: 3542
Joined: Thu Oct 21, 1999 6:01 am
Location: Valhalla

Next

Return to Bill Glasheen's Dojo Roundtable

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Majestic-12 [Bot] and 2 guests