What’s in a name?

While I bet the new Karate Kid movie is a good show, I’ll probably wait for the DVD. Mainly because I don’t have time to go to many movies. This notwithstanding, I am confused about the name of the movie.
Right there, in main trailer, Jackie Chan say “…I’ll teach you real Wushu.” So, when did Wushu become Japanese? or Okinawan?

This complaint fits for many martial arts school locally, and I’ll presume nationally. The schools that teach Taekwondo but the scool name is Karate. I can accept the original concept of making everything Karate in order to have more people understand what the art was about. At what point do we stop propagting the error and educate people? Yeah, I know that several of the schools don’t claim that they teach true Taekwondo either. They present it as Americanized Taekwondo or Americanized Karate. I suppose it doesn’t matter that their curriculum is still Taekwondo.

Now, I know that my original point was a complaint about Hollywood, so I guess the martial artists that are in the movies don’t consider themselves martial artists anymore…or they don’t care how it gets presented to the public.

Could this be one of the issues why those truly great martial arts teachers, the ones who teach about how to live life and be successful at everything, still have to have day jobs? An aspect of how the industry has turned it into more like running a health club than a school that teaches a valuable curriculum?

This also makes me wonder how many people interested in the martial arts are sturggling to find one that will work for them. If you attend the $19.95 one month special plus uniform but don’t like it, will you try that art again? Because the true curriculum isn’t presented fully, the student now doesn’t like the art. But which art? Taekwondo? Karate? Americanized something? I hope that some of those students are willing to give another version and teacher a second try.

Lastly, I personally believe there are many…some I’ve had the honor to learn from…who have more than earned a Master’s or Doctorate degree that will never be recognized by academia. Well, at least right now. It won’t change though until martial artists present their arts wholly and completely to educate, rather than ignore.

Author: Master Robert Frankovich

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3 replies on “What’s in a name?”

  1. Anonymous says:

    Well said sir. The Martial Arts is a way of life, a way of seeing.

    Ms. Kim
    Gilbert, AZ.

  2. RSvP says:

    I still recall when I first started looking for schools to train at I would go to a place that had "KARATE" above the door. I'd ask, "what style of karate do you teach?" I ended up enrolling at the school that answered the question more or less accurately. When you are a non-trained person and you have to explain to the black belt you're talking to what you mean by "what style do you teach?" then that is not a school that teaches The Way.

    As I've progressed in my training I've just sort of stopped associating karate with it's origin, instead focusing on the meaning of the word. When I hear someone say "I know karate" I just sort of hear, "I know a foreign language." It's only after they specify TKD or Shuri-te or Krav Maga or whatever that I hear "I speak Korean or Japanese or Hebrew."

    Just my $.02

  3. Jon Sloan says:

    You pretty much voiced my main concern as well, Sa-Bom Nim. Personally, I think the fact that they won't bother to change the name shows a considerable degree or either laziness or negligence by the moviemakers. If they want to swipe the original story structure, fine! Many martial arts films have to varying degrees, but at least they attempted to be creative about it.

    Personally, I see this as an insult to the martial arts community that they won't acknowledge their glaring inconsistency while cashing in on a well-loved franchise. The original Karate Kid film stirred my interest to study martial arts as I know it did for a lot of other people.

    Another thing you hit straight on was the point about knowing the specifics. It seems to me that for decades we instructors and martial artists have had to battle against the "hollywood image" that is planted in people's heads as to what real martial arts are all about. I know I've had many conversations just with the students I teach at my school as to what's the truth and what's hype. This movie to me shows yet another stumbling block in trying to set the record straight.

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