You know, the martial art of Karate sometimes gets a bad rap. You see all the UFC guys knocking the stuffings out of their opponents, and you wonder why, if Karate is so darned good, you don’t see it in the octagon. The problem, to be honest, lies with Classical Karate training methods.
In traditional karate classes students are put in rows, and they kick and punch and do everything together. This is a good method, for beginners. The unfortunate fact, however, is that a student rapidly progresses from being a beginner, and then needs to have a better teaching method.
Class exercises are fine to get started, but there is no real exchange of information going on between teacher and student. Oh, you think that everything is in the kata, that you just need to do the katas and enlightenment will burst upon you? Well, there is some truth to this, but there is also the fact that if you hold to this opinion too hard you are saying that karate is for stupid people.
Oh, I’m serious. Look, Karate, be it goju or shotokan or uechi ryu or whatever, depends on physics. And, once a person has mastered the first set of physics, there is a second set of physics pertinent to the mind and the spirit. But, because of antiquated training methods, methods that were used to control unruly children (not teach them) nobody in the martial arts really knows what the second set of physics is.
Let me take one instance and play with it a bit. I ran into a student who demonstrated terrible form, and he had taken a year of traditional martial arts classes. He was terrible, but-smile in the eyes of his instructor-he was extremely stiff and rigid.
So his shoulders overextended, his body was always turned the wrong way, his punches wouldn’t hurt a six year old girl, but he was deemed good because he was rigid. All his muscles locked into place at the execution of technique. And, you can see this same tendency on any number of youtube Karate videos.
Now, one of the first concepts of real fighting is,…