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Do you remember that feeling of putting your white belt on for the first time? For most people, recalling the first time they stepped into the dojo undoubtedly evokes mixed feelings: Nostalgia. Fascination. Curiosity. Sometimes a bit fear. It s actually pretty weird when you think about it from a beginner s point of view: Funny-looking techniques.

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Japanese words. Strange rituals. Unfashionable clothes. And to top it off, there s often a dude in front who everyone bows to and calls sense-eye. Pretty unlike any other physical activity you could have chosen, right? And indeed, the fact that you even started training Karate is pretty awesome, considering all the other things you could have taken up. But when you think about it, it s actually far from a miracle that you re still training Karate. In fact, if you ask me, it s probably only 6 percent miracle. You see, there s a whole bunch of stuff your sensei NEVER told you about Karate. And rightfully so. Because, if you were told these things when you started out, you would probably have slammed the dojo door shut and sprinted the heck away from that god-forgotten place faster than a speeding bullet. And if you don t know what the heck I m talking about, you re living in denial. So without further ado, allow me to present 6 Things Your Sensei NEVER Told You About Karate (Luckily). But no matter how crushing it might sound, the statistical, mathematical, scientific, logical, proven, reality is that most people who join a Karate dojo will never get to the legendary black belt. Thousands of new students pass through dojo doors around the world every minute. How many of those even get to the second belt? How many get to the third belt? Fourth? Fifth? Sixth? It s just simple statistics. Nobody is trying to discourage you or anything. It s not a plot. Nobody is out to get you.

But let s keep it real here: Just like most businesses fail within two years of starting, most Karate students don t get to black belt. They just don t have that time, dedication, willingness or spark. And thankfully, your sensei was sensible enough to never tell you this. Here are 65 random things that are more effective than most Karate stuff out there, for keeping safe and avoiding physical danger: The reality is, although Karate was originally developed to be an all-encompassing martial art for civil self-protection, today s average modern Karate dojo teaches not only highly impractical, but sometimes even downright immoral or illegal techniques for self-defense to be used on the notorious Street. And, if you do find a dojo that actually teaches functional self-defense Karate, they ll often practice it in a laid-back fashion with little or no active resistance making you as effective for the Street as a one-legged midget in an ass-kicking contest. I mean, in what other sensible martial art do you train several years and still have almost no improved chance at winning a street fight, should you ever find yourself in one? Really, any ice hockey player, rugby player, footballer or basketball player will have more fighting spirit, toughness and die-hard never-give-up attitude than your average Karate-ka today. (And hey, even if your style of Karate is super practical for self-defense, YOU WILL PROBABLY NEVER KNOW. Unless you go out and search for trouble. Which I don t recommend. )Blind faith is a prerequisite for ultimately transcending your boundaries of knowledge, hopefully arriving at an elevated level of understanding in the end. And when was the last time you saw somebody use a cat stance (neko-ashi dachi) in a real fight? ). But that s not all: To top it off, in the process of trying to get you to understand Karate better, your sensei will often mess things up even more. One door will open ten new doors. Those doors open a hundred new doors. This might frustrate you. Corollary, it follows that Karate attracts people who are trying to steer away from the mainstream for one reason or another. Why? Often because they secretly hope it will bring them a unique sense of belonging. Sadly, however, many beginners think Karate is a huge leap up the social coolness ladder.

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It s not. If you truly want Karate to fulfil somekind of innate alpha male desire (girls, adjust the following advice to your worldview), you re better off learning to a) juggle, b) drink ungodly amounts of beer, c) do a handstand, d) bench press twice your bodyweight, e) memorize classic movie quotes,   f) have a solid right hook, or just g) learn a few simple card tricks. Nine times out of ten, that will give you more social cred than Karate EVER will. But, as you know today, the real purpose of Karate is something entirely else. You didn t know it back then though. And you were probably not interested. It might be something minor, like a sprained toe or hyperextension. But it might be worse too: Like a cracked rib, broken arm or knock-out. Either way, you will get injured one way or other during Karate practice, and it will affect your everyday life whether you like it or not. Especially your mood. And then we have the mental injuries: Your feelings will get hurt. Repeatedly. Your ego will get checked too. You will feel provoked. You will get sad and you will get angry. You will lose motivation. The word fighting comes first for a reason, and the implications should be obvious to everyone. This is a tough pill to swallow for many beginners in Karate. But the truth is, your sensei is just a regular dude/dudette who happened to realize there was a business opportunity in teaching Karate to others! And sure, some people claim they teach Karate because it s their passion. Congratulations to them. That might be what they tell themselves.

They might even actually believe that. But don t get it twisted: There is ALWAYS an incentive hiding in the background whether it s a social, moral, spiritual or economical satisfaction. It s an inescapable part of the human condition. Sure, your sensei knows a LOT about Karate. But that doesn t equal saint-like status. And I doubt your sensei would want it either. For all we know, your training fees might be going to hookers and blow. Because if you had been told these six things when you started, you might have quit and never looked back. And you would never have learned what it truly entails to be a martial artist. No, it s a life lesson in goal-setting, planning, and tactical execution. Kids who master trick-or-treating go on to become successful world leaders. Kids who don t could possibly also do the same, but with less chocolate to show for it. The point is that chocolate is delicious, and you should fill your pillowcase with as much of it as possible. You just have to master the 9 Rules Of Strategic Trick-Or-Treating first: Dress for success. Trick-or-treating is a race against the clock, so set yourself up for success by wearing running shoes and avoiding masks that affect your visibility. No robes, capes, or togas. And none of those cheap plastic masks from the dollar store that attach with a thin elastic and a couple of staples. Basically, keep simplifying your costume and then timing yourself running up and down the basement stairs until you ve found a winner. If in doubt, go as Carl Lewis. Timing is everything. The last rule is all about the three key stages of Halloween candy collecting. Times may vary depending where you re from, but they go something like this:

Now that you ve got a game plan, just remember to keep it clean out there. Under cover of night and camouflage facepaint some folks venture into the murky trick-or-treating ethical gray zone. Stay away from these folks, because while they re telling people it s their birthday too, collecting a second bag for a sick sibling at home, or body-checking toddlers into bushes on their way up the walk, you can rest knowing that you came out to play by the rules. Hey, since when are teeth supposed to be beaming white, shining like little flashlights whenever somebody laughs or smiles? So to that I say: Wait! Let s just settle down and calmly rethink this whole situation before it gets out of hand. We haven t checked the box and stamped approved on the application just yet, so people, there s still time. We can reject unnaturally white teeth and go back to the way things were. Yes, I m talking about the yellow teeth of your youth, the au natural teeth, the teeth you grew up with, the modest aw shucks pearly yellows of Joe Everyman and Jane Everylady. We can still embrace the teeth that get stained with coffee and smoke and spaghetti sauce and Indian food. The teeth that love us no matter who we are or what we eat. If you aren t yet picking up what I m putting down, then I ve got just one more reason to love yellow teeth again:. I m talking hot and cold sensitivity, weakened enamel, and receding gum lines. Girl, it ain t pretty. Don t get messed up and addicted to the whitening stuff. No, we like having you around. So come with me, back to the world where teeth are yellow. The way they were meant to be. And hey, next time someone comes up to you, points you square in the mouth, and says Buddy, your teeth are yellow! , just smile, look them square in the eye, and say, Why yes, yes they are. And you know what? I think that s alllllllllright. Sometimes you drive by those construction workers and you just can t believe what they re going through.

Everyone s face is covered in hot soot, sewer grease, and rain. One guy is up to his neck in the road, another is jackhammering his spinal column into dust, and then there s the guy driving the big roller, smearing steaming asphalt around like butter. And littering all these folks are the guys cranking pickaxes into the ground and the ones trying to steer big, clunky bulldozers down the narrow gravel shoulder beside the ditch. Of course, everyone on the team s losing brain cells by the minute from the fumes which smell like a jammed laser printer had sex with a gas station.

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