One of the most annoying and inaccurate stigmas with the martial arts is that you have to be a child or pre-teen to enter and take away anything of value from it. As a practicing Karateka of 23 years I am here to warn you that formal training could and will save your life.
The statement that is the title was stated by Nas, a rapping emcee who has made a living echoing the sentiment of the street. Of course if you are familiar with the street’s sentiment, it is “I practice Gun fu not kung-fu” which is arrogance in assuming that a. you will always be in a place where your gun is at the ready and b. you are born with the natural skills to fight.
My question to you older folks that shy away from martial arts based on this is – why are you listening to street thugs? Why are you still trying to be “cool” as a grown man? Isn’t your safety and those you love more important than the worry that you may look silly in a Gi (Karate uniform)?
What rapper Nas takes for granted is that his skinny ass is defended by big, formally trained bodyguards with guns. He can make that statement because in his minds eye this world is one of opportunity and not one of chance.
If you listen to Nas and you weren’t born scrappy (knowing how to fight), what would you do if a male rapist corners you on your daily run on a quiet trail?
The rapist is unarmed but is bigger than you and wants your ass. You aren’t “packing your tool” because you’re on a damn trail jogging – assuming 2 dumb things: 1. males don’t rape other males, 2. the trail is safe because you’ve run it 100 times already.
A trained karateka would avert that rapist or at the very least put him down with harsh prejudice. An untrained, standard, panicking man would get “got” and be left scarred and traumatized for life. Extreme example but I hope you see my point. What if you’re the thug who thinks Nas’s “real” lyrics are your code and only pussies take Karate and real n—as pack guns? You end up locked up for whatever and you are forced to show and prove on the inside… did I mention your lack of fighting experience pales to the wolves inside the jail? Yup you guessed it, again you’re shit out of luck.
A list of The Real Perks of Knowing Martial Arts
Forget everything that you see in the movies (yes even the old kung-fu theater ones). Let me give you the harsh reality of what the martial arts benefits a grown man or woman that chooses to pick it up.
- You will have a skill that most of the people who would potentially attack you lack. For one, the basic philosophy behind martial arts is in self-defense. We are taught not to become Anakin Skywalkers, walking about, beating people up, and being all-around douchebags. Most practicing warriors abide by the rule hardcore, so the chances of your assailant on the trail being Michael Jai White is pretty slim.
- You will have a confidence in yourself that cannot be described. Throughout your training you will have been punched, kicked, destroyed and most importantly overcome all of those punishments. So by the time you are committed, the thought of someone squaring off against you anywhere does not seem as dreadful. Hell you may actually want it, your hands will have broken wood, bricks and hard plastic, so what are a couple thugs? Live bait for your sharpened tools no doubt! No, you will walk around chest out, back straight, and aware of your surroundings. You will no longer be one of the gazelles grazing through life peacefully, you will be a badass buck gazelle with horns and battle stripes, ready to bring the drama back to any hyena that steps up to your loved ones.
- In defeat you will know inner peace. Even if that guy on the trail got a few licks in and ran off before you could retaliate, you have the philosophy and training to heal. Eddie Murphy made a joke about us saying “karate man bleed on the inside” he was right! But he didn’t allude to the fact that the bleeding heals, and you better not give us a round 2!
Beneath the Gi lies the heart and soul of a warrior
I love martial arts and I love martial arts people. It is a family that transcends race, gender and age – we are the ultimate warrior clan. We may fly different colors but beneath the Gi lies the heart and soul of a warrior. How can you let some millionaire, out-of-touch rapper dissuade you from joining such a beautiful fellowship? I don’t care if you’re 60, it is never too late to get in.
I will never forget the tiny girl in school who was picked on for her complexion and pushed into a corner by the trashiest bullies that hated her. We thought she was a goner but when the “self-defense” kicked in and the dust had cleared, it was the biggest heifer screaming for help as her arm was about to be broken.
Inside that little kitten lay the training and the heart of a sabre tooth tigress. Who cares if you’re older, who are you impressing? Get with the martial arts! Gang!See some words or phrases that you don't understand? Check out The Dragon's Lexicon.