Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Information..the hidden power within karate!

Modern technology, making it easy......to be lazy!!!
Information is powerful, people, big business, governments even, are willing to lie, cheat, steal, and even kill for it; so it stands to reason that whoever controls the flow of information also holds great power.....but, when you begin to mess with power, then power begins to mess with you! I'm using these images of me, taken from Blitz magazine, only to illustrate the inroads the media is making across all delivery platforms, and not as a comment on the magazine, its owner, or staff; many of whom are practicing martial artists.

I've been researching an article recently that poses the following question....just who exactly holds the political and financial power in karate on Okinawa right now? I know, I know, a lot of you reading this might think the answer is a no-brainer.  I too believed, or at least hoped, it was the senior Okinawan sensei, but after a little digging around, I'm beginning to think otherwise. Business, not training, now looks to be the bedrock upon which karate is standing, and while there is nothing wrong with business per say, is it good for the future health of karate?

One form of media enhancing another
There was a time when the karate world was populated only by karateka, but that's not the case these days. Today, authentic karateka make up only a tiny fraction of the estimated 50 million who relate to being involved in karate. The rest of the population is made up of sportspeople, small businessmen, big businessmen, and a whole host of folk who haven't got a clue what the hell they are doing, or why they're doing it!

When you control the flow of information, you exercise power over those who want it. Many instructors sell information to their followers, and many organizations sell recognition and status to their instructors; but a small number of individuals have found a way to exert their influence and power in the karate world without even being a karateka; these are magazine owners and internet forum operators. Not all of them of course....but you might be surprised to learn just how many have never had a gi on in their life!

When a class "A" war criminal with yakuza connections was allowed to run the World Union of Karate Federations (W.U.K.O.) from the shadows, then it should come as no surprise that he spawned others with a similar desire to control karate for their own purposes. I believe one of his protege is active in Okinawa right now. So please consider this, the flow of information within karate has a monetary value, and the power to impact your life in ways far more damaging than you might imagine.