Black Belt October 1978
Can a karateka utilize his skill in a self-defense encounter without betraying the spirit of the arts?
Karate and the Automatic Response
by Richard Zimmerman
Recent Changes in the Martial Arts|
by Hee Il Cho
In the last 10 years, major changes in the martial arts have made an impact on both students of the arts as well as the general public. Eithor good or bad, much of the mystique has been dispelled. But other changes have taken new roots in America and a tremendous growth that, with experimentation, trial and error, is reaching exciting new heights of development. And while new methods for training, teaching and techniques have been developed, many of the traditions have been forgotten or lost.
When I started training in Korea, we used only a limited number of kicks, such as the front snap, side thrust and roundhouse. These were practiced again and again until perfected. Since then, the popular emergence of point system tournaments has con tributed to the development of new kicking techniques.
As a result, some of the traditional kicks, executed with a short snap and fast retraction or one blow to fimish the fight, were not effective o r ac c e ptable in a point system situation. So a new set of techniques emerged with spinning kicks, jumping back turning kicks, new combinations and counterattacks.
The physical scope of the practitioner also has widened, along with a new emphasis that has added more power, speed and spin. For instance, professional full contact has brought about new techniques. For when hghters began wearing equipment in the ring, they found that many traditional techniques which had been considered deadly were rendered ineffectual.
In contrast to point system fighters, few full contact fighters use spinning or jumping kicks because they require too much effort. If the kicks miss, the fighter is left open with the - needed energy to last out the rounds burning up too quickly.
So contact has emerged with a style of its own somewhere between boxing, karate and Thai kickboxing. Still struggling to gain a reputation and recognition publicly, contact has not been successful for most promoters. Something seems to be missing.
It could be that, in taking away the Oriental traditions, customs and art, promoters have cut out the heart and basis of karate.