Karate As It Should Be And How It Is

Many martial artists are resistant to change and believe if change must occur it should happen slowly through conventional means. They believe things are done a certain way because years of trial and error have proven these ways to be effective. They don’t need a reason to do things the way they’ve always been done- the fact that they’ve always been done that way is reason enough.

Most martial artists can happily plod along for years doing the same ineffective repetitive movements. But maybe it’s time for some of them to move on. You see, I learned a long time ago that strictly following a set system of pre-arranged movements and concepts was not the way to train effectively. Although I learned general things about fighting and exercise it wasn’t enough I wanted more not more dojo sparring but survival self- protection techniques, pressure tested so I know that they actually worked in a real life violent altercation. So I took what I learned concepts rather than rules I’d take a little bit here drop something there change a few things I also learned in other places too then, make up a little of my own and suddenly everything would start to work for me.

I learned to do things differently no scientific assumptions I learned if it works use it if it doesn’t throw it out and that my friend is what most combative systems do. It removes what you don’t need and replaces it with what actually works. What’s more it does in a way that is quick and easy to learn because soldiers the (military) which what most combative systems are based on have a very limited time span to learn these techniques so that they had to be both simple to remember and highly effective when used for real. There’s no need to learn hundreds of different techniques and combinations or lifelong commitment in order to make those same karate moves work. Unfortunately, this is exactly how most martial arts schools are set up.

But is that what practitioners are really looking for do we take traditions and practices for granted, in the practice of karate or other martial arts. Bowing, the ceremony’s and language became an accepted and integral part of training or is it the cultural traditions that gave rise to the popularity of karate. But does these rituals and tradition overshadow the real martial intent? For some the answer is yes, the white or coloured karate gi (uniform) festooned with badges or Japanese kanji characters.

After all, kata itself is a old ritual and tradition the movements are clearly defined and taught in a formal way but for many practitioners there is little understanding of what the movements mean or how they are to be used so for many who practice kata they do so simply for the movement, co-ordination and exercise and to some as part of a spiritual process.

However, I do realise that this concept will come much easier to martial artists who are not set in their way of doing things the way they are told to do or the way they’ve always been doing. Of course, there will be those who seem to have a pre-determined idea of what they’re doing will work in the street and so keep doing the same thing anyway; they aren’t likely to change.

Combative type training will increase your knowledge of street savvy techniques that are effective enough to keep you most of the time in one piece. Gear yourself to close range combat, pressure test it as a consequence you’ll be better prepared than you think to defend yourself should the need ever arise.

As previously stated, most of these techniques can be found in karate kata anyway if you care to look hard enough and spend loads of time to analyse them correctly. Most people cannot and choose to give up looking.

But kata is a method of self-defence applications and fighting principles preserved within the kata form, so for some the ritual of putting on a gi, bowing to a shrine and training with traditional implements satisfies their martial needs.

Clearly, to others they want to dispose of the traditional uniform, belt all of the pre-ritual training because they feel it is unnecessary and has no place in modern-day fighting arts. They want something that works for them now as soon as they walk out of the dojo (training hall) or at least gives them a fighting chance, so does tradition and ritual still have a place anymore, confusing isn’t it?

One final note, the martial arts karate in particular, has many proven self-defence techniques within the many varied systems the bad news is, it takes the practitioner years of intensive training in those same said techniques in order to make them work for real. However, that said I will always recommend learning a martial art because they have so much to offer the individual in so many areas. But consider adding combative type training into your martial art curriculum will most certainly give you a competitive edge and the mindset to be able to deal with a violent confrontation that may or may not occur and that is as it should be and how it is.

Stay Safe.