Category Archive 'Karate'

01 Jul 2010

No-Karate Kid

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Eric Sofge explains that Hollywood has eliminated karate from the 2010 remake of The Karate Kid (1984).

[T]he new movie has nothing at all to do with karate: It’s set in Beijing and centers on the character-building (and bully-slapping) benefits of kung fu. The new version of Miyagi, a handyman by the name of Han played by Hong Kong action star Jackie Chan, teaches young Dre (Jaden Smith) the flowing strikes and quasi-spiritual mindset of a martial art first developed in China’s Henan province, at the legendary Shaolin temple. Forget “wax on, wax off,” and karate’s emphasis on no-nonsense kicks and punches; the new kid learns about channeling and projecting your Chi, and the more varied lessons of “jacket on, jacket off … pick up jacket, drop jacket.” In fact, karate is so irrelevant to the story that the movie will reportedly be marketed as The Kung Fu Kid in non-U.S. markets.

Karate’s relevance to American audiences seems to have declined along with the martial art’s popularity in the United States.

Karate’s decline since then was the result of increased competition in the marketplace. …[A] flood of immigration from South Korea throughout the 1980s brought on a proliferation of Tae Kwon Do schools, which began to squeeze the karate dojos out of business. The Korean style seemed better suited to American consumers, who craved clear rewards and the opportunity for quick advancement. Tae Kwon Do offered more belts than karate, and the top ranking could be attained in as little as half the time. “It’s not that it’s better or cheaper. … Americans just like the idea of being a black belt.”

09 Dec 2008

Controversial Martial Arts Video

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The appearance of the short version of this video on YouTube earlier this year attracted many hits.

The video shows a referee, identified as Isao Nakamura Fushiki, putting a decisive stop to some post-karate-match aggression on the part of the contestant in blue.

It was clearly posted with intent, being labeled “Karate Master attacks 17-year-old,” and comments on YouTube and on martial arts sites have been overwhelmingly harshly critical of the behavior of Fushiki.

Apparently, despite the video’s recent appearance, the actual incident occurred a long time (eleven years!) ago at Autonomous University of Tamaulipas in Mexico. No explanation for the video’s sudden appearance has been found.

Isao Nakamura Fushiki is identified on the Net as a 7th (or 10th) dan Goju Ryu master (one source says Shito Ryu) who was World Kata Champion in 1970, 1971, and 1972 (one source says he was champion five times during the 1970s). One commenter in Spanish says that he served as an Imperial bodyguard for Hirohito and was known to Japanese karate fans as “the madman.”

The event was clearly not a conventional karate match, since the blue-clad contestant is wearing a kung fu outfit rather than a gi. Various commenters claim that the contestant in white was Fushiki’s pupil or even younger brother.

His takedown was certainly effective, but his third strike, the foot stomp to the head, seems generally to be thought to have been excessive.

Short version: 0:33 video

Long version: 3:15 video

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