Arts Entertainments

Why are black belts hitting?

“How do they beat the Black Belts?” This was the question I was asked by a young university student who mentioned that he could possibly be interested in studying martial arts. I understand your question because you would think that someone who practices martial arts would easily win a physical confrontation. However, that is not always the case. While I have written extensively on why this is so, I will give a brief answer here.

The first answer is that studying martial arts in most of the world is a hobby. Maybe you go to your local karate class once or twice a week for a few hours, maybe you practice on your own, and maybe you take it seriously. This leads people to think that they have honed their skills because they “study” karate, but this can be compared to someone who thinks they are an expert on the Bible just because they go to church on Sundays. You get what you put into it.

Second, while there are some great instructors, a lot of them suck and / or aren’t really qualified to teach. Many instructors teach martial arts as sports because they can be more profitable and more attractive, but they never tell their students that they are learning a sport rather than a self-defense method.

Third, there is the difference between a “Do” and a “Jutsu”. Martial arts were first developed during feudal times and were strictly combat methods, or “Jutsu”, which means science or method. Many experiments were conducted on both prisoners and captured enemy soldiers to identify how the body worked and how it could be damaged and healed. During more violent times the martial arts became more aggressive and brutal, and during more peaceful times some of the brutality was removed and sometimes philosophical elements were added. Thus, martial arts have existed in a constant cycle, becoming more brutal and effective in more violent times and less violent and more showy in more peaceful times.

A martial arts education was not cheap, so often only the upper class could afford expert instruction. Therefore, most of the skilled martial artists were also very well educated in general, sometimes they had various medical occupations or other professional occupations such as day jobs. The more educated they were, the more philosophical teachings they were exposed to and the more they added to martial arts to moderate their violence. Therefore, at certain times, in certain circles, it was not enough to be skilled in martial arts, but you were also expected to be a “learned warrior” and it was not uncommon for skilled martial artists to also be accomplished poets, painters, or artists. . craftsmen.

In the 1800s, Japan ended its feudal era and entered the modern era by adopting Western culture. When this happened, some considered that the brutally effective fighting techniques of martial arts were no longer necessary and even barbaric. Some Japanese feared that the martial arts could disappear due to the change of attitude of the cultures.

Then in 1860, a rich boy is born who later has trouble being bullied. Learn Jujutsu, which is a Japanese martial art consisting of various joint locks, throws, and neck-breaking techniques. Thinking that art is too violent for the new Japan, but also seeing the physical, mental and cultural benefits that the training brings, he decides to rework the art and invents Judo. Both arts emphasize the same key principles (“Ju” means gentleness, or going with force rather than against it) however, Jujutsu was the practice of “Ju” as a fighting technique, while Judo is the practice of “Ju” for the personal purpose. developing.

“Do” (pronounced “Dough”) means “the way”. Jujutsu is the “fighting technique of using minimal physical force to kill or incapacitate” and Judo is “the way of using minimal physical force to defeat an opponent during a sporting event and use it as a vehicle to develop character and strength. mental and physical. “Judo is a sports version of jujutsu and, being a non-violent sport, people embraced it.

The government also accepted it because they were strengthening their armed forces and saw the practice of judo as a way to prepare people for military service. By the way, the “character” that Judo was supposed to develop is not our Judeo-Christian character that we think of, but the traditional Japanese character of being a good Japanese citizen and doing what you are told without asking questions.

Turning martial arts into “doing” became popular. From Jujutsu came Judo, from Aikijutsu (a branch of Jujutsu) came Aikido, from Kenjutsu (sword fighting) came Kendo (“the way of the sword”), and from the arts of arms of Bojutsu (fighting with a staff bo), Saijutsu (fighting with a sai), and many others came Kobudo (“the way of traditional weapons”).

The same happened with karate. Karate developed on the island of Okinawa (now part of Japan) and dates back to at least 1372 AD when official trade relations between Okinawa and China were established. Soldiers from Japan invaded Okinawa in 1608 and it remained occupied by Japanese soldiers until 1879, when it became an official part of Japan.

From 1608 to 1901 it was illegal to practice any native fighting art and therefore Karate was practiced in secret and remained largely a “jutsu”. The purpose of Karate, which the Okinawans draw heavily on the martial arts of China, was to allow one person to render another person unconscious or dead as quickly as possible, through any means possible, although it favored striking over shots and joint locks unlike Jiujitsu. After it was legalized in 1901, many people opened schools to teach it publicly and it even began to be taught in the public school system (which, again, the Japanese government saw as a great way to prepare people for military service). The Okinawan Karate grandmaster Itosu, who taught both in his private school and in the public school system, of course did not want to teach the fighting applications to school children, so he diluted it a lot and turned it into a “do” thus founding “Karate-Do”.

The purpose of Karate-Do was not to teach the student how to paralyze, kill, or even actually fight, but to use Karate practice as a vehicle to physically strengthen the student, train their “warrior spirit”, and teach them desired values ​​and character.

During the same time periods, one of Itosu’s students, Gichen Funakoshi, was in Japan doing the same. He was credited with introducing the Okinawan art of Karate to mainland Japan and felt the same way as his master in turning Karate into a “doing” and even used the term Karate-Do.

Another Okinawan Karate master named Choki Motobu came to Japan around the same time and was the polar opposite. Motobu believed that Karate was for self defense, so he taught Karate-Jutsu. Both masters, Funakoshi and Motobu, were trained by the same people, but the former taught Karate primarily as an activity, while the latter taught Karate primarily as an effective form of self-defense. It would turn out that Funakoshi would become much more popular even being called “The Father of Karate”.

Most of what we know about Karate today dates back to Funakoshi. His system, “Shotokan Karate”, as well as the systems created by his students, are among the most popular systems practiced today. The most popular martial art in the world today is the Korean art of Taekwondo. Many are surprised to learn that the founders of the five main Taekwondo schools studied Funakoshi Shotokan Karate in Japan; thus, the art of Taekwondo (“the way of the hand and the foot”) is more or less the Korean version of Funakoshi’s Shotokan Karate.

What this all means is that most martial arts, especially in the US, date back to Itosu and / or Funakoshi and are actually Karate-Do, which is meant to “build character”, not to teach you effective self-defense. Although there are many styles of Karate-Jutsu in the United States, they are the exception.

This can be very confusing because most wear the same uniforms, hand out the same belts, and very few have “Do” or “Jutsu” in their name. I’ve seen people do “Do” systems for years without realizing it and you can see them standing there thinking, “Okay, I’ve been here for 2 years and at any moment they are going to teach me how to defend myself.”

If you want to learn to defend yourself, stay away from the arts that end in “Doing”, make it clear to the instructor that you want to learn an art that is designed to teach you to defend yourself (you can even ask if their art is more of a “Jutsu” or a ” Do”).

So if your brother’s uncle’s cousin has a black belt and is beaten, or he didn’t take his training seriously, he has a poor instructor, he trains in Karate-Do and not Karate-Jutsu, so his black belt it is not an art. to protect him, or he just got a legitimate beating from someone better than him.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *