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Karate Magazine Covers

I just spent a few minutes looking at Karate and Kenpo magazine covers on Ebay.  Phew!  What a lot of violence and testosterone!

If you have practiced Karate for a while, you might have appeared in articles or even on a magazine cover.  The photographers for such things does tell you to, "Look calm, look peaceful, look like you don't want to fight."  Quite the opposite!  Covers have to be exciting -- at least in part to people who really don't understand the martial arts.

I watched a video of a well know escrima teacher from the Philippines.  What got me about it was how casual and natural the teacher looked.  Karate people tend to act like they are doing Karate.  They seem to take on a persona -- like they are acting.  This escrima teacher looked like an ordinary Filipino man, just moving around naturally -- but with exceptional ability.  Except for that exceptional ability, you could not tell him apart from any other man.  Even the terminology he used was ordinary language.  There was no pretense or drama.

Again, he was perfectly ordinary seeming, but with exceptional ability.

Of course, it should be same in Karate.  We should be perfectly normal, but with exceptional ability.  We do not have to put on a gi or "act" like the people we see on magazine covers.  We do not have to act at all.  We can just be ourselves.  Our facial expression does not have to change when we move or execute techniques.  We are not being photographed for a magazine cover or video.  People are not watching.  The only person who might be watching is the attacker, and he probably won't care about our facial expressions.

My wife is Filipino and my four children at mestizo (mixed).  My first Karate instructor was Filipino.  I first thought that Karate must be a Filipino martial art because so many of the teachers were Filipino.  My early Karate teachers were also escrima instructors.  Perhaps this is why their Karate looked so natural and unforced.

Karate should be natural.  We should just be ourselves -- with exceptional ability.



Respectfully,

Charles C. Goodin