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G8
10/17/2006 12:11pm,
HowStuffWorks.com, which is in general a useful site for finding out how to fix leaky faucets, change spark plugs, etc., has a BS-riddled entry on "How Karate Works" that was written by (and reads like an ad for) some mcdojo in North Carolina. Anybody want to write to the site staff and offer a better perspective? I'd do it, but my personal response to "how karate works" is "it doesn't", and I doubt they'd be receptive to that.


http://people.howstuffworks.com/karate.htm

To the untrained observer, karate skills can seem like magical superpowers. Using only her body, a 5-foot 5-inch tall, 120-pound karate master can take down a 6-foot, 200-pound man in a matter of seconds. In strength and sheer bulk, the man has the upper hand by a considerable margin. But somehow, the karate master prevails with a few elegant punches and kicks. Using the same set of skills, advanced karate students can break thick bricks and boards with their bare hands and feet. How is all this possible?

In this article, we'll see how students of karate (called karatekas) accomplish such amazing feats. Karate is a highly complex art that takes many years to master. It is impossible to sum up this ancient, transcendental discipline in a short article, but we can get a handle on some of the underlying principles. Though its execution is highly complex, the root of karate is fairly straight-forward: By applying physical, mental and spiritual force intelligently and precisely, you can realize the maximum potential of your strength.

sempaiman
10/17/2006 1:10pm,
HowStuffWorks.com, which is in general a useful site for finding out how to fix leaky faucets, change spark plugs, etc., has a BS-riddled entry on "How Karate Works" that was written by (and reads like an ad for) some mcdojo in North Carolina. Anybody want to write to the site staff and offer a better perspective? I'd do it, but my personal response to "how karate works" is "it doesn't", and I doubt they'd be receptive to that.




I would not say Karate does not work. It depends more on the person using it. Granted, some of the training and sparring may appear useless, but it you add contact sparring and some grappling to your training, it will be effective.

Gosai
10/17/2006 1:22pm,
Wasn't there an article about something like this already? I seem to recall one...maybe i'm just going senile though.

chaosexmachina
10/17/2006 6:47pm,
Just point them in our direction, tell them what the site is about.

Doctor X
10/17/2006 6:58pm,
Damn! I missed the class that teached 5ft 5inch "Karate Masters" [Tm.--Ed.] how to defeat 200 lb sociopaths!!!

Of course . . . I am not a "karate master!!"

How receptive are these people to corrections from, like, people who know what they are writing about?

--J.D.

black mariah
10/17/2006 8:14pm,
Damn! I missed the class that teached 5ft 5inch "Karate Masters" [Tm.--Ed.] how to defeat 200 lb sociopaths!!!

HEY! I resemble that remark!

-- The 5'6" guy

Don Gwinn
10/17/2006 9:08pm,
What about those of us who are more like 300-lb. psychopaths?

Doctor X
10/18/2006 1:53am,
For that we have chi. . . .

--J.D.

Jeice
10/18/2006 2:05am,
For that we have chi. . . .

--J.D.

And Dim Mak.

Doctor X
10/18/2006 2:19am,
Shhhh!!!! That is t3h t00 d34dly!!

Besides, if he know about that, he might cross his toes or something!

--J.D.

Severe
10/18/2006 3:10am,
Damn! I missed the class that teached 5ft 5inch "Karate Masters" [Tm.--Ed.] how to defeat 200 lb sociopaths!!!

Of course . . . I am not a "karate master!!"--J.D.karate master, no. but I do detect the makings of a sociopath. the necklace of ears was a give away.

Das Moose
10/18/2006 5:16am,
HowStuffWorks.com, which is in general a useful site for finding out how to fix leaky faucets, change spark plugs, etc., has a BS-riddled entry on "How Karate Works" that was written by (and reads like an ad for) some mcdojo in North Carolina. Anybody want to write to the site staff and offer a better perspective? I'd do it, but my personal response to "how karate works" is "it doesn't", and I doubt they'd be receptive to that.

It's simple. They're meant to be a pseudo-scientific site, right?

Ask them to provide proof of their claims.

G-G-G Ghost!
10/18/2006 6:41am,
Um... I checked their website, and... doesn't Judo more accurately translate to "gentle way", rather than "the way of flexibility"?
Ah, and of course, the telltale signs:

http://www.karateinternational.net/jan2.jpg

Fat pseudo-toughguy posing in front of scary pointy weapons. Their logo also looks curiously like Pepsi:

http://www.karateinternational.net/sanshin.gif

A new-age fusion, perhaps? Rather than having subtle McDojo tones, that's much more overtly crammed down our throats...
You notice quickly that this whole article just plugs their website at every opportunity.
Now, for some more gold:

"Karatekas curb their punches, concentrating mainly on physical, spiritual and mental development rather than competition"
"In one exercise, called kata, karatekas carry out a pre-determined sequence of movements against an imaginary group of attackers. Kata is extremely important to beginning karate students, as it helps them perfect their technique"
"More advanced karatekas may engage in kumite, a sort of freestyle sparring. In this activity, you fight with another karateka, but curb your punches"
"Kata and kumite are effective demonstrations of karatekas' mastery of karate moves, as well as their attention and control. But they don't allow karatekas to demonstrate their full strength, as this would be extremely dangerous"
"... in fact, for many karatekas, the art is primarily a path towards spiritual fulfillment rather than a means of self-defense"
* Page 6 "Role of the Spirit" has so much BS all the quotes can't even be listed here. In particular, doing karate is apparently no different than applying for a job...



And can anyone verify this claim: "As recently as a hundred years ago, it was common practice for karatekas to intentionally break one or both of their middle fingers early on in the training process. This increased the size of the middle knuckle, making it a more effective punching weapon" ?

Doctor X
10/18/2006 6:51am,
Last one is rubbish, at least amongst Okinawans. If you break the middle finger, you do not "increase the size of the middle knuckle" since the break does not involve the joint.

What would happen is students would get a bit too psycho with the makiwara training and damage the joints, leading to hypertrophied joints that became known--at least in the US--as "karate knuckles." I know this because a common story involves a now S-S-S-S I sometime evoke grabbing students in the hand between the knuckles while they howled in pain to demonstrate how utterly stupid this practice is.

Furthermore, someone should tell Fat-Man that karate is not that old. For him to say "as recently as a hundred years ago" means this practice occurred in the first few years of karate! Utter rubbish!!

Another LARP'ing idiot!!

--J.D.

FredGarvinMP
10/19/2006 11:23am,
It's simple. They're meant to be a pseudo-scientific site, right?

Ask them to provide proof of their claims.It's about as scientific as Popular Mechanics, which aint much. It is more along the lines of an easy way to show your 5 year old how something works.

Epicurus
10/19/2006 12:48pm,
I remember reading that article a long while ago and being very put off by their non-scientific slant... but their article on lockpicking is pretty cool. Anyway, I was looking for more of an article on the body mechanics of fighting, not some hocus-pocus about spiritual development...

SOMEone ought to write an article on "How Boxing Works".

"Most boxers are not there to learn how to fight, but rather to develop spiritually. Boxers are taught never to use the skills they learn, and must also learn to count in japanese for some reason. A tiny boxer can beat a gigantic man because boxing is magic. Have I mentioned that I have a boxing school? Come on down for a free lesson... Anyway, bonxing was invented over 10,000 years ago by my direct ancestor, the great boxing dragon spirit..."

et cetera.