COMMERCIALIZATION OF MARTIAL ARTS
- Man, like other
animals already knows to fight as survival is inbuilt in his genes. He wants to
excel in combat with others as an ultimate assertion of his presence (offense) or in order to protect himself, his family
or his assets (defense)
- He is searching
for MAGIC. He wants to know certain vital points where he can strike to quickly subdue his enemy, or certain methods of crippling,
handicapping or creating serious dysfunction in his opponent.
- The Martial Arts
Instructors in the business of combat are well aware of this craving. They capitalize on this demand and create illusions
of secret techniques which can be effortlessly applied and result in crippling
- Let us study
some of the common marketing strategy used for improving business in various martial arts and increasing number of student
enrollment. Many of these are common to various arts.
Strategy a) The
The Belt concept was first adopted in Judo. The Black Belt is
supposedly the ultimate stage in martial arts. He is invulnerable and can supposedly fight ten goons with swords with hardly
any effort. In reality such characters belong to fictional comic books. Today the Belt concept is taken up by almost all martial
Strategy b) The
Throws are portrayed as a solution to every attack. You will
become like Phantom tossing goons around left, right and center.
Strategy a) Portrayal
as Bruce Lees Art
In 1972 before his death, Bruce Lees ordered closing down of
all his schools teaching his art, which was Chinese Kung Fu based. After his death, Enter the Dragon was released and the
world went crazy after Bruce Lee’s Martial art and wanted to learn it. At that time, only Japanese Karate was available.
Karate got marketed as Bruce Lee’s art and suddenly a hundred thousand Karate schools cropped up in various parts of
Strategy b) Imperial Military Disciple
Karate is taught as a military art, with the students not allowed
to even bat their eyelids without the instructors order. Students fancy this as it is akin to Military discipline. This is
one of the good points about Karate.
- KUNG FU
Strategy a) The
The loud shout which generates power in the navel and transmits
it to opponent. In the boxing ring, boxers knock out their opponents without any yelling or fuss. The Kiai adds tremendous
value to the arts and is now adopted my most eastern arts.
Strategy b) The
The students strike this fancy wooden human like dummy, to replace
actual sparring with real opponents. In recent times, the wooden dummy has awed many a audience interested in fighting arts
Strategy c) The
Deadly Open handed Animal Strikes
Open handed strikes like Tiger Claw, Snake Fangs and Eagle beak
are nowhere as powerful as the closed fist. These look good only in movies.
Strategy a) Tall
Tall Flying kicks, Jumping, Turning, Sweeping, Spinning serve
to stupefy the audience and sell the business. In reality flying kicks rarely work as the opponent can see it coming and merely
side steps to avoid it.
Strategy b) Olympic
Classification of Taekwondo as a sport adds a competitive edge
with an element of safety, in fighting with padded protective gear. So no one gets hurt but all can compete. But this kind
of fighting with legs only is far from the reality of street fighting where flying kicks rarely work.
Strategy c) The
Kata to replace Sparring
People don’t like to get hurt, but like to still train
in mortal combat. The Kata serves this purpose, fighting imaginary opponents in air via predetermined sequences
Strategy a) Military
Krav Maga means contact art and is a non specific generic word
like martial arts or Karate.
In Israel most citizens
are drafted into the army and serve in forces for a short duration. So every citizen considers himself qualified to teach
Strategy b) Military
Few KM organizations claim to teach the Military, SWAT and Special
Forces. They run “Military & SWAT” Courses in various parts of the world, especially where public can shoot
live firearms in private firing ranges without permit. In these courses local
Units of Police, Army are invited to participate in their spare time off the record. SWAT which actually means Special weapons
& Tactics is taught as “SWAT- Self Defense to Weapons Tactics” Rubber AKs and Pistols are used to teach students.
Strategy c) Street
Self Defense in Short period
Certain street situations like Hand Grab, Collar Grab, Choke,
Bear Hug form major part of curriculum. Students are taught how to give standard response to each of these. No Punching, Kicking,
Striking or Throwing is taught in detail. The claim is that a 10 day course will make an instructor out of you.
TAI CHI & AIKIDO
Strategy a) Hit
with Inner Energy
Little or No external force is required these arts advertise,
we hit with inner energy. Tai Chi uses inner “CHI” whereas Aikido throws many opponents at the same time with
inner “KI”. Baloney!
KALARIPAYAT & CAPOEIRA
Strategy a) Magical
moves on pressure points can paralyze the opponent , whereas pressure on healing points cure him of every ailment
No Science will testify to this. Vital points are known to every
martial artist like the groin, solar plexus and shin. There are no “paralysis” points or “Healing points”
known to man.
Strategy a) Fancy
Gyms, Boxing Rings, Punching Bags, Equipment
Kickboxing is the same old martial arts marketed as a FITNESS
Mantra. Taught without any discipline, with club culture, music, mirrors, mats
and with Aerobic style counts.
REALITY IN MARTIAL ARTS:
1) All humans already know how to survive & fight, some
better some worse. A good Instructor will channelize this existing survival instinct and build technique on that
2) The taller heavier and more aggressive man always has a distinct
advantage and that’s why there are weight categories. Realize this and you will learn to beat the odds.
3) Fancy stuff like Flying Kicks, Tiger Claw strikes to secret
points, loud shouting doesnot assure you victory on the street. This era is of
Reality based arts Muay Thai, Jeet Kune Do, Mixed Martial Arts& BJJ
4) Martial arts can only be learnt by sparring with uncooperative
opponents and not by Air practice. In the words of Bruce Lee, ‘You cannot win a sprinting event by daily jogging around
the track’. In order to be good in fighting, Regular Sparring is a must.
5) Martial Arts are meant for the primary goal of survival in
street fight or mortal combat. Don’t do martial arts primarily for Fitness, Style or Recreation. These come as side
effects to the martial artist.