Friday, May 21, 2010

Why Martial Arts can not be a sport?

Just yesterday one of my gekusai's (student) was discussing with me about how karate will benefit from being accepted in to the Olympics.
Well so that is what has made me decide to write this post to educate and inform people about the facts then decide. Karate may get more popular and recognized world wide after it enters Olympics but at the cost of losing its authenticity, its traditional training practices and so on.
Any fighting form is called Martial Arts. This is the oldest thing known to mankind. Even before man made languages he knew how to fight to defend and protect himself. Martial Arts specially the oriental ones are a way of life. In my honest opinion you cannot execute a punch or a kick properly and expect it not to hurt or injure. A martial artist spends years harnessing his skills, power, technique. If we just make all martial arts an Olympic sport am sure over a period of some years all the training that goes into making a martial artist tough will vanish. In today's day and age one of the main reasons why people take to martial art training is for self defense. Just imagine if all martial art schools teach sport sparring or kumite what will happen in a real life situation on the road. You are not going to get points or any protective gear like abdomen gaurds etc on the road. So the very purpose of martial arts is lost. In sport kumite it is basically about points about going in touching the opponent with the executed technique and coming out. Where as in full contact kumite both opponents have to be more cautious as the attack wont be just a touch but will be executed with power. This over a period of time and practice makes a martial artist more alert and faster with his reflexes improving his blocking abilities. I am not saying kumite should be about injury and pain but making it a sport kumite reduces the self defense aspect from the training. I have seen many sports martial artists their kumite styles are very defensive always guarding themselves in a way to save points. This makes these sports martial artists incapable of defending themselves on the street as for them fighting only means saving and getting points. Many of the schools that are into sports kumite dont even train their students in conditioning as in competitions they get complete protective gear. It is sad but have met a few black belts who have spent years training and have never taken a punch in the stomach or a kick on the thigh as they were never taught conditioning. Fortunately Boxing is the martial art that has retained its originality even after getting into the Olympics. Just imagine if a boxer gets disqualified because he knocked out his opponent or a penalty or warning for making his opponents nose bleed. How many people would train or follow boxing if this happened? I say less than half of those who are into Boxing today. Yes we do get injured at times training in Martial arts but if you will look into those injuries it is more our fault than that of the opponent. May be our technique was not properly executed or we blocked wrongly. So we just need to train better improve on our weaknesses and flaws and then the injuries wont be there even in full contact kumite.  At the end I would just like to request all the Sensei's (teachers) and gekusai's (students) of any martial art world wide to continue with the originality and authenticity of the training. Recognition is good but if it brings an end to what we are seeking to get recognized then the whole effort is futile.    

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