From Sensei Alex,
In the realm of martial arts, tradition often acts as an unyielding force, shaping the paths of practitioners for generations. Yet, I find myself compelled to challenge this deeply ingrained norm.
Here’s a quote from Jadi Tension, a renowned martial artist from New York: “Traditional is the peer pressure from dead people.” This quote resonated with me, stirring a fundamental shift in my perspective.
When I first heard these words, it was like a wake-up call. I realized that blindly adhering to tradition doesn’t necessarily equate to progress. It’s time to question, evolve, and redefine what karate truly means.
When I first started Karate One, our motto, “Traditionally Modern,” emerged as a beacon guiding our approach. We embraced our traditional roots while adopting a contemporary teaching style, breaking free from the shackles of outdated methods. Gone were the days of stern Sensei’s imposing discipline through intimidation; instead, we sought to create an atmosphere where enjoyment thrived. Why shouldn’t the martial arts experience be exhilarating? Why subject young children, as young as 3 years old, to militaristic training methods that stifle their joy and creativity?
This brings us to the present day. The essence of our vision was to redefine karate, not merely in the eyes of parents uttering obligatory compliments, but as an art form that elicited genuine admiration. We discarded the mundane rituals of rigid stances and repetitive Japanese counts, deeming them ineffective and uninspiring. Our classes pulsated with music, radiated high energy, and encouraged participants of all ages to revel in the thrill of learning authentic, practical techniques.
Karate isn’t just about moves; it’s about spirit and passion. By infusing energy into our classes and focusing on practical techniques, we’re ensuring that our students not only learn but also enjoy the journey
Unlike traditional dojos, our curriculum was meticulously designed to equip every student with real-life self-defence skills. The goal was not to ponder the likelihood of an attack but to ensure our students possessed the best possible chance if such a situation ever arose. Our approach was grounded in realism, an antidote to the complacency prevalent in numerous martial arts schools. I’ve encountered instructors who prioritize parental perception over genuine progress, believing that merely appearing proficient is sufficient. Self-defence is at the core of martial arts training. Our curriculum is crafted to empower our students with practical skills that they can rely on if the need ever arises. It’s about real-world applicability, not just theoretical knowledge
So why am I sharing this perspective? Is it an attempt to stir controversy, assert superiority, or attract new students? None of the above. My intention is to provoke introspection, to compel individuals to question the status quo, and to challenge the authenticity of the martial arts schools they encounter. If a school claims to teach self-defence but shies away from sparring, how can one ascertain its effectiveness? If a school boasts of instilling confidence without subjecting students to situations that demand growth, can it truly foster self-assurance? And if a school preaches discipline yet relies on fear and intimidation, is that genuine discipline?
These questions are not meant to criticize but to inspire critical thinking. As martial artists and instructors, we owe it to our students to provide them with the best possible training experience—one that’s rooted in reality, fosters confidence, and builds genuine discipline.
In my belief, discipline is born from respect, not the dread of making mistakes.
This blog serves as a testament to the distinctions between Karate One and traditional dojos. Its purpose is to ignite curiosity, inspire inquiry, and facilitate a paradigm shift in how we perceive martial arts. I am unapologetic in my approach, unafraid of ruffling feathers, for I firmly believe that only through questioning can true understanding and progress emerge.
You might question if what we teach aligns with traditional karate or if we’ve strayed too far from its roots. Allow me to offer a perspective. Consider the origins of karate: it wasn’t about performing choreographed routines in front of a class; it was about mastering the art of defence and attack within dynamic, unpredictable situations. We’ve embraced this essence, returning to the authentic, original form of karate. We maintain the belt system because we firmly believe that having tangible goals to strive for significantly enhances the motivation to train.
Let’s challenge the norm together, encouraging an open dialogue about the future of martial arts. It’s not about disregarding tradition but about evolving it, ensuring that karate remains relevant, empowering, and inspiring for generations to come.