Ahhhh the Martial Arts.
Thousands of years of development, steeped in deep culture and a practice that teaches you more about who you are over what kind of pain you can inflict on your opponent.
Of course this would eventually be turned into a for-profit business, it’s the American way!
I was interested in Karate from a young age. I believe it started with watching the WWE and came to fruition when I knew, deep down inside, that I wanted to believe in myself and gain the confidence necessary to kick the shit out of anyone who did me wrong.
I quickly learned that the point of Karate was only half of my statement above. Beating people bloody was not what it was about, despite what every Karate movie ever made all suburban white-kids believe.
DAMN YOU NORRIS & VAN DAMME!
Despite all that when a local Dojo opened in the strip mall by my house – which clearly SCREAMS legitimate operation – I was enthralled and NEEDED to go there immediately. They had some informational classes that I attended and I was immediately hooked by the power of the Martial Arts when I saw a picture of the Sensei – or cult leader – breaking about 12 three-inch blocks of ice with his bare hands.
My heart started to race with excitement and I turned to my parents and asked them to sign me up.
Little did I know that the Martial Arts also taught you how to negotiate with parents whose kids ask to be signed up for Karate in front of the business manager.
Those guys were black belts in making parents feel like shit for not “investing in their child’s future and what Martial Arts can teach them and how it can impact their future.”
Well done Sensei, well done.
So my parents were pressured into signing me up for a one-month trial membership and I was so excited at the idea of even getting to learn how to do karate. In our first class we had a special guest student come in and do some crazy stunts with SWORDS! YES SWORDS!
With all these crazy kicks and flips and nothing I could ever do in my life.
And then it was our turn to learn the art of Karate.
The first month of classes seemed to be more merit based in your advancement of your belt than actual skills you learned. Each class started with some light jogging around the Dojo, followed by another showcase – which seemed, even at that age, like a trick to get us to spend more money – by a student, followed by jumping over a belt that was limply held about 2 inches above the ground, followed by “meditation” which was the equivalent of “nap time” in pre-school. Since I attended most classes I flew through the white belt and got a blue belt extremely fast.
Since I was progressing so quickly I didn’t need much encouragement from my parents to go to classes. Once I got my blue belt that came to a screeching halt.
With the blue belt came a whole new set of responsibilities for a child at the age of 9 and that was to convince my parents that I would go to every single class as long as they threw down about $1,500 for 9-months of classes.
I was quickly learning the ways of the business manager – I had to be an orange belt in that craft.
My parents decided this was a good investment and that it would not only teach me discipline, but would help me lose weight as well and wrote a check.
They quickly learned that the only discipline it taught me was that I enjoyed sitting in front of the TV a lot more than going to the classes where I would actually get a lot more rest during the “meditation” period of the class.
So 1 month into the 9-month commitment I was done, but that still hasn’t stopped me from bragging about being a blue belt and any time I see someone holding a belt just above the ground I can’t help but show off all my karate skills.