Senshin: The Enlightened Mind

Martial Arts Blog

normrobitza On March - 14 - 2013

MV5BMTUwMTg4NDkzMV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTYwMjU4Nzc2._V1._SY314_CR87,0,214,314_Martial Arts have taken a roller coaster ride over the last century. Many martial arts styles have been around for 100’s of years but in the late 1900’s, everyone wanted to be a Martial Artist.

You can trace many martial arts back centuries but only in the latter part of the 1900’s did it really take off. What caused the huge growth of Martial Arts in the 1970’s and 80’s? The answer is simple…BRUCE LEE!

In 1971, The Big Boss was released and Martial Arts fans began popping out of the woodwork. Bruce was in many films and TV shows before that. There was a “mini boom” when The Green Hornet (called the Kato Show in Hong Kong) hit TV. Bruce Lee’s look, skill and delivery changed the direction of martial arts films. Before this point, martial arts movies were silly with poor dubbing and bad stories.

It was the Big Boss that first caught my eye. I will never forget my first time seeing it. I was at a friends house. It blew me away. I ran right out and started buying martial arts magazines and books. Shortly after I took my first karate class.

After Bruce passed away, the direction of Martial Arts movies went back to the standard format before Bruce came on the scene. The films became cheesy again. The good thing was that people were hooked and training continued. Then in the 80’s we were introduced to a new Martial Arts hero, the Ninja!

Sho Kosugi portrayed ninjas in several films and TV series. Every where you went people wore ninja shirts. Ninjas entered the world of pop culture. The films were full of the mystical aspect of Ninjitsu and once again martial arts training we on an up swing.

We were then introduced to a flotilla of Martial Arts action heros. Steven Segal, Jean-Claude Van Damme,  Jackie Chan, Jet Li and more. The genre of film took off and the market was flooded with Martial Arts films.  Soon martial arts movies were no longer as popular. Those that were training continued but the steady flow of new students started to disappear at dojos.

Recently, martial arts have taken another upturn. With the growing popularity of Mixed Martial Arts, people want to train again. Not every town has MMA classes so people are taking what they can find. I am not an MMA fan but if it causes students to flow back into dojos that is great.

We will see this roller coaster ride continue for a long time. Hopefully it will never completely crash. The economy is tough which makes it difficult for students to be able to afford training. To help with this try offering special rates at your dojo or do fundraising activities to help those students that can’t afford the fees.

Dojos need to promote themselves to the community that they are in. Don’t portray ourselves as the school of fighters but as the Doctors, Lawyers, factory workers, school teachers, high school students, etc. that get together to practice the art of self defense. When people in the community can see that their doctor or neighbor trains then maybe they can see themselves training as well.

If we as instructors can keep up our numbers in class, we can keep the Martial Arts alive.

Categories: Teaching/Training

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