Yesterday my friend told me his dojo has grown 200% in the past week.
Turns out, they got one new member.
Meanwhile, across town, the local Mixed Martial Arts gym is growing like crazy. They need to bang out a couple of walls to fit all the youngsters in there soon.
MMA has truly come a long way in such a short time: From fighting in rusty cages or dark alleys twenty years ago, to competing in some of the biggest arenas around the world. Heck, last time I checked, some MMA stars had even become movie stars – shooting Hollywood blockbusters between upcoming fights. So, not only do they get boatloads of money for beating the crap out of each other, now they get fistfuls of dollars for pretending to beat the crap out of each other!
Question: When was the last time you saw a Karate practitioner sign a multi-million dollar contract? Get paid to compete? Drive a Lambo? Have a private jet?
I’m just curious.
Now, obviously I’m playing devil’s advocate here. We all know that the purpose of Karate is something entirely else. But there is still bitter truth to the fact that Karate is gradually being pushed aside when it comes to these modern martial sports.
And this concerns me.
“If you want a vision of the future; imagine a boot stomping on a human face – forever.”
– George Orwell (1903-1950)
So what should we do about this?
Should we try to make Karate “cool” by changing it for the competitive world?
Well, people are certainly trying.
Or should we simply embrace the inherited “uncoolness”-factor of traditional Karate, thereby acknowledging the fact that we have a unique cultural and historical heritage behind our martial art, which should be respected, researched and developed in accordance with the underlying principles that govern Karate’s very existence?
In other words, should we try to become the cool “bully” on the schoolyard…
The interesting thing, of course, is that we as martial artists aren’t alone in this inevitable metamorphosis of our business. Far from it.
For instance, the music business and its’ captains of industry met a similar fate when they failed to properly embrace digital music a while back. The same holds true for the book publishing industry too.
Because young people don’t want CD’s or books no more. They want more than that. The whole package. The ultimate experience.
Fast. Effective. Cheap.
And even though you might not care a diddly-squat about the book/music industry, the dynamics of the martial arts world aren’t much different. Frankly speaking, apart from the sisyphean project of trying to get “Sport Karate” accepted into the Olympics for the year 2020, no significant groundbreaking development has taken place in the Karate world for a long time.
(Meanwhile in Japan, most dojos don’t even have a website…)
I mean, consider this: Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, MMA, Submission Wrestling and almost all other modern martial arts have ‘open mat’ sessions, where people from other schools, gyms or styles can come over to freely share techniques, train together, challenge each other and
drink tons of beer have fun together.
When was the last time you heard about an “open dojo” session for Karate?
“Because OUR style is the best!”
And it seems we can do nothing but stand still and watch, as our ancient martial art steadily crumbles under the mighty pressure of 21st century martial sports.
Because, let me tell you something:
Nerds are the new cool.
“Be nice to nerds. Chances are you’ll end up working for one.”– Bill Gates
You see, as Karate practitioners, our natural status as nerds has afforded us the ability to pursue things without fearing failure (cool people are shit-scared of looking bad), and that factor is incredibly powerful in this ever-changing world – where survival relies more on standing out than fitting in.
And nerds have always stood out.
Seriously; if Stephen Hawkings, Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates (arguably the three biggest nerds on this planet) decided to become evil supervillains and take over the world together, do you really think they would have a problem?
They would swiftly create a giant mind controlling gorilla robot of awesomeness that would shoot fireballs from its ass and laser from its eyes.
And it would
Because nerds rule.
It’s as simple as that.
And Karate Nerds™ are no different.
What more people must realize is that, scattered throughout history, nerds have always been feared by the masses for their mysterious knowledge, out-of-the-box thinking and kinship. From famous radical nerds like Galileo Galilei – who dared suggest that the earth revolve around the sun – to Nikola Tesla – who played with electricity like others play with water – nerds have always been at the core of paving the way for the masses.
So please trust me when I say this:
Beware the Karate Nerds™.
For we believes in tools, not rules.
(More specifically, a certain set of mental tools. More on that here.)
And we believe that information is free – yet knowledge is invaluable.
Nothing has ever been safe from a nerd and never will. It is the inquisitive nature of the nerd to bypass needless regulations imposed on him from those who “don’t get it” (what we generally refer to as McDojos™) in order to achieve success in the pursuit of awesomeness.
So become a Karate Nerd™ my friend.
It is time to understand what it takes to truly get your Karate into the 21st century – without compromising the cornerstone principles upon which Karate were once founded by our pioneers.
- Stop hiding from bullies.
- Embrace your inner nerdiness.
- Get the Free 7-Day Karate Nerd™ E-mail Guide today.
And you will learn EXACTLY what I’m talking about.
…or face the consequences forever.
I know it sounds harsh, but it’s the cold truth. Time flies fast, and we can’t afford to get left behind anymore. Karate is too valuable for that.
PS. I’ve got an exclusive KbJ interview coming up soon with Rika Usami, female kata world champion from Japan. We talked about some really cool stuff, including her recent announcement of retiring (!) – so don’t miss it! Also, I just uploaded some new videos, including one of Rika. You’re welcome.