Monday, 26 November 2012

Originality in karate...that was my idea!

After paying my respects at the grave of Kanryo Higaonna sensei
There's an old saying that goes something like..."There is nothing new under the sun!", but that can't be right...right? I mean, people are coming up with new stuff all the time in karate. New bunkai, new kata, new styles, new ways of making money from ranks and titles, new organizations, even new ways of fooling themselves!

When you attended that seminar given by the well known "fly in - fly out" master of bunkai and all things new and mysterious, where do you think the stuff he showed you came from? I mean, if guys like him are spending so much time hanging around airports, moving through time zones, and dispensing their vast amounts of historical knowledge to you, the hungry masses, when do these guys find the time to go to the dojo and train themselves?

These days, books on every aspect of karate are readily available, and with no shortage of budding writers out there, the ease with which a book is now produced leaves the older, traditional, path to becoming an author looking a little archaic. The ease of self-publishing has been both a blessing and a curse; it has without question allowed for a great deal of helpful information to be shared, but it has also opened the floodgates to those self-serving idiots in karate who have nothing at all to add. Such folk produce books on the net because no right minded publisher would touch them or their ramblings with a stick. For me, there's an obvious parallel here, between how easy it is to be published these days, and how simple it is to obtain the trappings of authority in karate.

Of course the great thing about books is, you can flick through them and get all sorts of information on things you had no idea about just moments before. "Ehm....so that's why you do that in sanchin kata....I must remember that one!" If I had dollar for every time someone has quoted me back to me in an email discussion, I'd have enough money for a trip to Okinawa. But this post isn't about me and my work, it's about those charlatans who steal other peoples ideas and present them in seminars as their own. People who are too fat and lazy, and too focused on turning a buck, to do the work themselves; so they wait for others to do it, then present the information as their own.

Like a cheap Chinese copy of the latest blockbuster DVD, there is no shortage of lazy, lazy, people out there, ready to grab what they can from the karate of others, and use it for their own purposes. So, the next time you attend a seminar by that world renound master of all things bunkaitorial...instead of posing for a photo afterwards, why not ask him how long it took him to work this stuff out. And if you can survive the verbal dyeria that will surely follow (for they can all talk a glass eye to sleep), remain observant, and use your intelligence, you may still walk away from the seminar having learnt a very valuable lesson indeed.