Saturday, 25 January 2014

Death by Polularity


Students training together in the dojo  last year
I was asked recently what kind of advertising budget I had for my dojo....what!!!! So after the guy woke up in hospital....naw....just kidding! Really though, he was serious, and even though he knew absolutely nothing about karate, he knew how I could run the dojo better....don't you just love these people.

Afterwards I was thinking, what is it about karate that has lead to almost everyone you meet having an opinion on it; what it is, what it should be, what it could be! Is it just me who thinks that most people simply haven't got a clue; or, has karate been sold like a harlot for so long now that it no longer attracts the respect it once did?

But if karate has been sold like a cheap trick...then whose been pimping her? "Not me!' I hear you say..."I'm doing it right. I've never made a penny from karate" (just dollars, right?). Well someone is responsible for transforming karate from the activity you see represented in the photo above, into the activity you see advertised in the poster below...and if it isn't you, then who is it?

Like a cancer, sport and business have almost killed karate
I think karate has been all but killed by it's own popularity: mortally wounded at any rate. Like a lot of things we humans get our hands on, we love it to death. Even Okinawa, now that it's relativity cheap and easy to get to, is a shadow of the place it once was as far as experiencing karate and kobudo is concerned. The island is now full of resident foreigners under 30 years old who "know" what karate is...you'll find one in nearly every dojo.

I fail to see what's so special about an activity that any fat, lazy, heavy drinking, middle-aged, smoker...man or woman....can do for a year or two and be considered an expert; and I fail to grasp why authentic karateka continue to put up with it. My dojo hasn't got an advertising budget....it hasn't even got a budget! It has a nice wooden floor though, and lots of things to lift and hit; it has a small, but good-hearted, group of karateka who work hard, and that's all.

There was a time, not so very long ago, when that was deemed enough.