Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Stolen Conversations...

The rear gate into the Shinseidokan
There have been many times in my life when the conversation I thought I was going to have, has been stolen by someone who didn't want to have it: but I always made it my business to steal it back! A famous 'stolen conversation' was the one O.J.Simpson's lawyer had with the jury when, instead of talking about the innocence of his client, he talked almost exclusively about the arresting police officer being a racist. So successful was the lawyer at stealing the conversation, his client got away with murder...literally!

Politicians (remember the 'weapons of mass destruction' conversation) steal conversations all the time; you almost never have the conversation you want with people addicted to power unless it happens to be about something they want to talk about. Marketing too, is about convincing you to have the conversation the marketer wants you to have, and boy do people fall for that one. Time and time again, as the business mentality grows like a cancer in the body of world karate, more and more karateka are having a conversation that is not of their making.

Karate's ongoing conversation with the rest of the world has been stolen by sportspeople, businessmen, politicians, sex-offenders, and any number of inadequate little men who imagine themselves figures of importance. When was the last time you had an intelligent conversation with a none karateka about karate? I'm guessing it was a very long time ago....if ever! Karate is now spoken about in terms of ,"How young do you take them?", "How many bricks can you break?", and, "My neighbours kid just got her black belt and she's only 8 years old."

Until authentic karateka stop accepting the status-quo, until they stop engaging in conversation with those who would steal karate for their own ends, then karate will continue to move further and further away from the reality of what it is. So...the next time you're offered a "secret technique", a "hidden bunkai", "recognition", the right to "grade your own students", or help with how to "run your club"; consider if these are things you want to talk about....then make a choice!