Follow this link to an excellent article by John R. Stebbins titled “Is Traditional Karate Dead?”.
If it is dead, who killed it?
After thought (rant):
I made a quick run up to the grocery store tonight and walked past two little kids, maybe six and eight years old, both wearing some absurd form of a modern karate gi with black belts. The older child’s gi was red and black, and the younger child’s was white. Both of them were absolutely festooned with patches proclaiming their ranks, school names, their drug free status, and God knows what else. It took a bit of self discipline but I resisted the urge to pick them up by the back of their gi pants and berate them about poor taste and greedy instructors. I could tell from the patches exactly what local tae kwon do school the parents send their money to. Honestly I have come to have pretty low expectations from this particular place (and from tae kwon do schools in general).
My panties really got in a bunch when I visited my local community center and found a completely out of shape woman, who is supposed to be teaching some form of traditional Okinawan karate, handing out little dragon/tiny tiger type merit badges like candy to the children who train with her. Kitschy would be a kind assessment of the situation.
I drove home, hung up my heavy bag, and pounded away for a while before starting work on another article I am writing for this blog. One of my former co-workers once told me I have the attention span of a gnat on speed, he is probably right. I can never seem to stay focused long enough to get an article out in one sitting. Inevitably I find myself surfing all over the web looking for interesting karate stuff. Low and behold I found David Krueger’s article “The Karate Demographic Part 1“, published in 24 Fighting Chickens. It addresses some of these problems pretty well.
Click here to have a look.