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The Karate Secret No One Wants You To Know

Aug 18, 2007
Have you seen the History Channel's new show Human Weapon yet? Its pretty friggen good.

The concept is that these two athletic dudes (one an MMA fighter, the other a former football player and wrestler) travel all over the world to train with, and then test out various cultures' martial arts. And while only two episodes have aired as of this writing, the show already has proven itself to be a very revealing diagnostic tool to those who are able to look beyond the romanticism and isolate the truth. Let me explain...

Last week's episode was on Karate. And not the kiddie Karate nonsense you see down on the street corner. No, the Human Weapon boys traveled straight to Okinawa (Karate's birthplace) to train with three of the world's most respected, toughest, and best teachers.

The show showed amazing feats of human strength, discipline, conditioning, and training. And the Okinawan Senseis were absolutely incredible to watch, and even learn from through the miracle of television. In other words; It was pretty darn cool. But why I really loved the show was that while it respected the individual practitioner, it was not afraid to give an unbiased, accurate history of the art (just like me).

Karate is a peasant art of farmers. Learned from the Chinese and combined with their own cultural fighting art of "Te", the Okinawans did not rename "Kudo Te" (Chinese hand) to Karate (empty hand) until adopting the Japanese language after occupation. Did you catch that? OCCUPATION. (That means they were conquered)

Karate did not stop the Japanese Samurai from coming in and occupying the island, nor was there any successful peasant revolt to overthrow the Samurai. Sure, there were a few famous isolated instances of Karate guys successfully defending themselves against an armed Samurai, and Karate training is admittedly grueling ( I do, by the way, have a black belt in Goju Ryu Karate) but the facts are facts...Okinawa, once an independent kingdom, is now part of Japan.

Now, what is great for modern practitioners of Karate, is that the Japanese influence on Okinawa was also infused into their native martial art. (Karate has even implemented Japanese Judo uniforms and belt rankings) While Okinawan Karate is still primarily a striking art, Japan's Samurai methods of jujutsu have become part of Karate's standard training curriculum. Therefore almost making it a perfect martial art...except for one, tiny detail.

Due to the fact that EVERY technique of Karate is a complex motor movement (using multiple muscle groups), it would take 2 or 3 LIFETIMES to be good enough in Karate to guarantee victory under kill or be killed combat stress conditions.

The perfect example of this brings us back to the Human Weapon TV show as the climax of every episode is one of the two hosts actually competing against a skilled practitioner of the art they've been studying throughout the show.

In Karate's case, it was to participate in a Kumite (full contact fighting- no safety equipment, no punches to the face, kicks to the head allowed) against a second degree, 225 pound, Okinawan black belt champion. Let's break this situation down...

A Karate man who has trained his entire life vs. a not very flexible, but tough former football player who had been studying karate for only a few days...Both about the same weight...Fighting under Karate rules...Should be a no-brainer right? You would think that the Karate guy would easily win.


Not only did the fight go to a stalemate after a full timed match, but the football player at one point in the fight still managed to knock the Karate guy off his feet with a heavy handed punch. Trust me, the Karate guy was one tough cookie (at one point he shrugged off getting punched square in the jaw), but how could a lifetime of training not beat someone simply big, tough, and mean?

Because, like we discovered before...Karate is simply a farmer's method of conditioning himself to survive, not to win. When the occupying Samurai came to take the farmer's rice, livestock, or daughter, Karate would have definitely helped to temporarily fend off the oppressor...but is that enough?

Is it okay that a sparsely trained, big "tough guy", could go toe-toe with a so-called "Human Weapon" and walk away unharmed? No, it is not.

While I look forward to watching the rest of the Human Weapon television series from an unbiased professional point of view, I have the distinct feeling that the zealots of each cultural fighting art presented will still defend and excuse their methods even when beaten by the show's hosts. Too bad...Maybe they'd actually learn something usefull.
About the Author
For more information on Chris "Lt. X" Pizzo former soldier, cancer survivor, mercenary, barroom bouncer, educator, and hand-to-hand combat instructor, and his incredible FREE Accelerated Battlefield Combatives close-combat learning system, visit http://www.TopSecretTraining.com
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