The power of a name, Karate, strength and Karate

A customer noticed I was stretching, it was early morning, my shoulder is playing up from when I went heavy with the weights a month back and he asked what sport do I do, so we had a mini chat. When I mentioned karate, he asked do I do a lot of competition and demonstrations, when I said no, but I have a cracked rib from it, he was shocked “I didn’t realise that karate was full contact” I then explained about the different types and styles of karate.  He gave me some really good advice, he I have to say has a really impressive muscular physique and he said to me all he does is pressup, sit-ups and running. I asked You got a physique like that from just the basics (I am aware its possible, but most critics say you can’t gain real strength from bodyweight training) and he said that it was years in the making, years of increasing the reps and sets, five days a week, but he did a lot of running, but now in his (40’s?) he is just doing three times a week to maintain. This is off topic slightly, but I am using this kind of training programme to improve my power/endurance for karate.

Well going back to the first point, the image of karate has taken a real  blow in recent years from mcdojo’s and the idea that it is just for the kids. The other day I was in a shop and having a chat with the shopkeeper and when me chatted about what we did he said “what you teach kids” with me replying that I did but I train at it as well, and when I mentioned the broken ribs, he was as shocked as the guy in the above paragraph. Even with the hard styles of kyokushin and Uechi ryu becoming more popular, it may take a very long time for karate’s image to be restored. Which leads me to thinking about our club association, the people who would like it, think it is just a sport, and those who think its just a gentle art are in shock with how realistic it actually is. The name karate use to mean a lot, now in some cases it is almost a hindrance, even though the word karate was formed to give a name to the martial art that use unarmed combat, and to make themselves more unique from judo and Jitsu. It is a shame that the name rather than the style will affect people’s perception, but I was originally one of those. When I wanted to try martial arts, karate was not in the list, I thought it wasn’t real, something that that was for kids. I wanted a real one. When I spotted the name combat karate, it made me curious, a martial art that strikes and grapples with throws and locks, surely not!

There is a lot of power within a name, hence why I prefer being called Daniel to Dan, Dan sounds common whereas Daniel sounds more noble. Maybe that is just my ego, but it doesn’t change with the way I feel about it.


3 Responses to The power of a name, Karate, strength and Karate

  1. Kristin :) says:

    It saddens me that people don’t view Karate, or martial arts as full contact. I would absolutely love to train in Kyokushin Karate one day…though I’ll probably die (I’m not sure if I’m very strong, but spirit and determination’s got to count for something, right?). I agree with how noble Daniel sounds opposed to Dan. Daniel San! 🙂

  2. Mike says:

    When I discuss the fact that I do martial arts with anyone outside our club, I specifically avoid using the term Karate to describe what I do for the specific reasons you have listed. At the mention of the word ‘karate’ people seem to switch off. Whereas mentioning the style name instead can then lead to it being a ‘form’ of karate instead and end with a sensible conversation

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