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The Karate Secret No One Wants You To Know
Have you seen the new History Channel show Human Weapon yet? It’s quite good.
The concept is that these two athletic dudes (one an MMA fighter, the other a former soccer player and wrestler) travel all over the world to train with and then test martial arts from different cultures. And although only two episodes have aired so far, the series has already proven to be a very revealing diagnostic tool for those able to look past the romance and isolate the truth. Let me explain…
Last week’s episode was about karate. And not the kiddie karate nonsense you see around the corner. No, the boys from Human Weapon traveled straight to Okinawa (the birthplace of karate) to train with three of the most respected, toughest and best teachers in the world.
The show showed incredible feats of human strength, discipline, conditioning and training. And the Okinawa Senseis were absolutely amazing to watch and even learn from the miracle of television. In other words; It was damn cool. But why I really liked the show is that while it respected the individual practitioner, it wasn’t afraid to give an unbiased and accurate history of the art (just like me).
Karate is a peasant art of farmers. Learned from the Chinese and combined with their own cultural fighting art of “Te”, the Okinawans did not rename “Kudo Te” (Chinese hand) to Karate (empty hand) until they adopted the Japanese language after occupation. Did you catch this? OCCUPATION. (It means they have been conquered)
Karate did not stop the Japanese samurai from entering and occupying the island, nor was there a successful peasant revolt to overthrow the samurai. Sure, there have been some famous isolated cases of karate guys successfully defending themselves against an armed samurai, and karate training is admittedly grueling (I have, by the way, a black belt in Goju Ryu karate) but facts are facts. .Okinawa, once an independent kingdom, is now part of Japan.
Now, what’s great for modern karate practitioners is that the Japanese influence on Okinawa has also been infused into their native martial art. (Karate even implemented Japanese judo uniforms and belt rankings) While Okinawan karate is still primarily a striking art, Japanese samurai jujutsu methods have become part of the standard karate training curriculum . Therefore, it’s almost a perfect martial art… except for one tiny detail.
Since EVERY technique in karate is a complex motor movement (using multiple muscle groups), it would take 2-3 LIVES to be good enough at karate to guarantee victory under combat stress conditions.
The perfect example of this brings us back to the TV show Human Weapon, as the climax of each episode is one of two hosts competing against a skilled practitioner of the art they’ve studied all along. ’emission.
In Karate’s case, it involved participating in a Kumite (full contact sparring – no safety gear, no punches to the face, kicks to the head allowed) against a second degree, 225 pounds, Okinawa black belt champion. Let’s break this situation down…
A karate man who trained his whole life against a not very flexible, but tough former footballer who had only studied karate for a few days… Both about the same weight… Fight according to the rules of Karate… Should be obvious, shouldn’t it? You would think the Karate guy would win easily.
Not only did the fight go to a stalemate after a full time match, but the soccer player at one point in the fight still managed to take the karate guy down with a heavy punch. Believe me the karate guy was a badass (at one point he ignored getting punched in the jaw) but how could a life of training not beat someone just fat, tough and mean?
Because, as we’ve discovered before… Karate is simply a method of conditioning for survival, not for winning. When the occupying samurai came to take the rice, the cattle, or the farmer’s daughter, karate would certainly have helped to temporarily repel the oppressor…but is that enough?
Is it acceptable that a big, untrained “tough guy” can take on a so-called “human weapon” and get away with it unscathed? No, this is not the case.
While I look forward to watching the rest of the Human Weapon TV series from an unbiased professional perspective, I have a distinct feeling that fanatics of every cultural combat art featured will always defend and excuse their methods even if they are beaten by the animators. . Too bad… Maybe they would learn something useful.
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