When I was at school, Karate was by far the nerdiest “sport,” though even at the time I could understand its appeal to the pimply-faced, skinny-fat loser. It “teaches you to fight,” something every nerd is told to learn for their own safety. It is not a team sport, meaning there is not the competitive grading, team to beat every week, or physical requirements to perform a specific role. It is a parallel outlet, an anti-sport that ticks the co-curricular box but cultivates few, if any, of the virtues of other sports.
Replete with its own history, traditions and philosophy, eastern martial arts as practiced in the west is a scam. What with their air-punching pirouettes, bowing and scraping servile Orientalism, these “art-forms” bear little resemblance to any real physical combat. For westerners consumed by modernism, tapping in to a foreign tradition inevitably appeals to the outcasts, who don’t feel powerful or connected to their own history and martial culture.
I’ve always found something odd about white men who became eastern martial arts enthusiasts. It seemed they were play acting, that they were little boys that were allowed to put on a costume and learn their philosophy.
I understood wanting to learn how to fight, but the eastern religious message of emptiness, Tao, and relinquishing the “self” seemed so at-odds with the passionate, aggressive Teutonic Christianity that characterized my vision of the valiant knight, Roman legionnaire or champion. The servile, self-effacing submission seemed as foreign to my sense of strength, courage and manliness.
After much reflection on this, I have come to conclude that karate and similar eastern martial arts as practiced in the west have become exhibitionist LARPing for hand-flapping retards whose technique and methods are of little use in a real fight.
How could this be tested? Find examples of fighting without all the rules: MMA. Pure karate (or any narrow other code) is hopeless in these scenarios. Over the last few decades, codifying rules, points systems, and insurance regulation has repurposed these styles from skills used in actual hand-to-hand military combat to Chinese fighting-yoga. Here’s what a pure karate bout looks like:
While some of these girls exhibit some impressive flexibility and vocal range, what is inspired in me wouldn’t accurately be described as fear. Perfectly choreographed, pure Karate is to fighting what WWF is to wrestling, minus the fold-up chairs, big-titted blondes, and multi-color spandex outfits.
Any time I have spoken to someone who teaches or practices Karate, they give the same excuses as to why their students don’t engage in contact or win MMA competitions. As a defense, they claim that their “punches could kill” so they don’t do them because its unethical. Could their kiddy punches “kill” Wladimir Klitschko? What a joke.
When asked why don’t they clean up in mixed styles with multimillion dollar prizes and contracts, they use the safe defense of “this is an art,” or “it’s not for money or fame or glory,” despite the inordinate amount of purist snobbery and rivalry within and between codes and styles. McDojos abound, yet they hide from any objective standard of combat effectiveness by the false moral high ground of their token eastern “philosophy.”
“Someone with only a year of training in boxing and wrestling could easily defeat a martial artist of twenty years experience.”
The truth is that boxing and wrestling are the two most useful skills to learn in a real life situation. What makes mixed styles realistic is that when a fight goes to the ground, if you are weak and don’t know how to grapple, it’s game over. As soon as an Asian martial artist gets too close or too far, they have no more skills in their set and skull crushing ensues.
If you want to practice discipline, co-ordination, and stretching exercises, then Karate may be for you. I’ve heard of great health benefits from Tai Chi, a slowed-down version of Karate which is a series of stretching and balance exercises for the elderly. Just don’t think that you are learning to fight or be a warrior. It could be very dangerous for you to assume your techniques can protect you from a brawling thug. For everyone else who wants to learn to fight, stay away from the dojo. Learn boxing, wrestling, or a mixed style like Krav-Maga.
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