Japanese Karate vs. American Karate
“Karate classes near me” this is one of the most sought out keywords in our industry. We are always using it to find a local karate school so our kids have karate classes near them so they can take some courses in self defense and try to learn how to keep busy in their everyday lives. Our goal is to see what makes the major difference between culture and the styles and what influences them to be successful both in application but also in business and why they have changed so drastically over the years. Some of these claims are based on personal experiences and through other instructors that have not only changed the game, but changed the Karate industry as well. History is also a major factor in why things have changed so much over the years and how American karate has pretty much become its own system in alot of ways.
One of the hardest things I had to come terms with is that letting and understanding there is a huge culture clash within the arts. Lorenzo Sandoval ” Me” I was trained in the classical art of Shotokan Karate through the school of James Tawato of the Las Vegas School of Shotokan Karate. Though, I really loved my experiences there, its a very traditional Japanese Karate dojo in Las Vegas. But in most cases because its so tradition sometimes it doesn’t match the cultural differences in a westernized society.
American Karate has some great aspects that match with the dojos around us and the cultural differences, this can include many things from more belts, more positive reinforcement and different structures to help improve your training. Most if not many, parents want to create martial arts to create more of a strong mindset. Americans have realized over the years that martial arts as a whole helps with focus discipline, and physical fitness as well as self defense. This however can be over played at times and can be over sold through brochures, commercialize ideologies, and a constant marketing message that as how the “benefits of the martial arts”. What I’m trying to say, is they do it or rather over do it at times, Pushing these behaviors as a selling point. In a way to sell the program and not focusing on the actual training itself. In ways its really good, which I respect and love, but it can easy to forget thru martial arts aspect of the actual art and forget the fighting aspect of the art.
Ive realized, some American Karate style dojos, overly focus on behaviors that have nothing to do with martial arts and forget the training. Though superficially, it helps create a good selling point on a brochure, in some schools it doesn’t actually express the actual fighting art and they sometimes forget what they are teaching.
This isn’t to say not all American Karate schools are bad by any means, Im just saying that at the end of the day we are a business for the long term, so stickers, patches, and certain retention tools are a necessary part to do business. We want to try to keep are members and of course keep them paying our school and stick around for many years.
I just have felt sometimes we forget instead of focusing on awards, but focus on the actual training and applications of the martial arts was meant for, and I feel sometimes martial arts masters/ instructors forget that point. At times though, this can be a contradiction in that we want the school to be successful so we always try to add little more value in to the martial arts that are unrelated to the actual real life applications, and as a whole; but trying to keep our customers happy by delivering a currculum that serves them on the surface level rather than fighting or real world aspects.
Here are some of the pros of training Americanized Karate
- Great life skills taught
- Focusing on Home life
- Always professional instruction and a staff
- Working on Positive reinforcement everyday
- Fun Exciting classes
- Modernized curriculum that suit the culture around you
- Showing a well sought out plan to black belt
- Mapping out what is being taught over the years
- Adding different types of martial arts into the program to improve its students in all aspects.
- Loves to mix styles in its curriculum
Here are the cons of training Americanized Karate
- Overly colorful uniforms that have nothing to do with the art
- Buying patches that are over priced and useless for training
- Too many stripes that have nothing to do with the curriculum
- Over emphazing on other non relevant martial arts and creating a separated culture clash within the school.
- Overly high tuition
- Stripe testing fees as well as belt testing fees.
- They literally charge on everything rather than focusing on the keeping students.
- Gear can be over priced and some of the equipment is never used just added as an add on on the justify the price.
- Some schools overly empathized it lineage when rather what happens is the training in the moment
- Too many uniforms you must pay for to black belt
- Upgrade fees for each program not focusing on an upgraded curriculum.
Japanese Karate Las Vegas
(That’s me training at the Las Vegas school of Shotokan Karate )
What makes Japanese Karate so different from American Karate, and what makes it so unique. Again these are just my options and my experiences over the years and why I choose to continue with Shotokan Karate as a whole. Doing martial arts in Las Vegas my whole life I have found that Japanese Karate has its unique guide and principals that have created certain well made habits that have given me the skills I need to make my karate great.
One of the things I love of Japanese karate is teaching kids karate classes near me, and helping to improve their lives. Eastern culture is a huge of how Karate got here in the first place and I really respect and appreciate that, and rather if it wasn’t for the asian community I would probably be doing something else.
What I love about Japanese Karate is how it solely focuses on the training aspect of the curriculum, there are really no other ways around it except a long path. The clarity comes in the hard work and showing the skills as whole and rather not be little awards either. The purpose of old school Karate is to show based on repetitive movement the ultimate aim is the skill itself and not always asking for an award. You can literally do a move thousands of times, though the sensei never compliments you, the award comes when you can see the skill, rather then getting a special trophy, belt or stripe for what your suppose to be doing in the first place! Especially for myself owning a karate school in Las Vegas NV.
Family Karate in las Vegas is a huge part of why traditional dojos still stay in business, because they are able to create a tight nit family type of community.
Here are some my views in regards to a Japanese Karate schools and what my thoughts are,
The pros of a Japanese Karate school,
- Definity focuses on more traditional aspects of Karate do
- Conditioning is harder and often times more riskier
- Rather than focusing on awards it focuses on attaining the skill
- It follows the traditions of the Samurai and its ethics and codes
- meditation can be a huge part of this can be non religious or reflect its customs
- The sensei is not there as a customer service has there to teach you a skill and you listen.
- Most traditional Karate schools are on hard wood floors developing your feet.
- The uniforms never changes and you wear one symbol to represent the school
- They are not overly focused on ranking or business practices
- There are not upgrade fees, nor do they care what rank you are you traini from beginning to end.
- Repetition is key, always focus on that no matter what, you will attain that skill if you do it over and over again.
The Cons of training in a Traditional Japanese Karate school
- I hate saying this but some traditional schools have been kind of a cult at times
- There sometimes is no substance to the curriculum, meaning there is no variety in the training
- This is due to lack of knowledge and the instructor convinces you repetition for 5 years is good.
- One art, nothing outside of that is used. Therefore can create unrealistic fighting self defense situations
- Sometimes there is no rank split up, white belt belt train with black belts.
- Blacks belt or other ranks don’t have their own classes or don’t have their own set curriculum.
- You don’t know when youll test, youll test when the instructor said other wise.
- There is no organized curriculum besides the Kata. All techniques are taught that day and are made up throughout the class
- Overly traditional customs that have no relevance to martial arts training that are unnecessary
- The teaches seems like a cult leader than a martial artist.
- They teach ” No contact” the whole entire curriculum.
- Overly charging on black belts.
In conclusion these are just my personal experiences between the both arts and I hope you enjoyed the read.
For more information about my classes go to www.agelesskarate.com or call/ text 702-374-3323