I passed a truck the other day that had emblazoned upon it: “Christian Karate”. In case anyone thinks this blog is dedicated solely to religious observation and incident, fear not. There will be other topics, but it does stand out, doesn’t it? “Christian Karate”. It is possible, since I drove past the truck while it was parked and, therefore, had only a glimpse, that this truck belonged to a company owned by somebody by the name of Christian Karate. A florist or a fruit and veg man. However, this is the United States of America , admittedly full of people with all sorts of names - I remember when I worked in a theatre box office and frequently came across a subscriber by the name of Marshall Dump – and I think this truck was in fact owned by a dojo (note the breadth of my knowledge, throwing that little snippet of karate jargon in there.) I began pondering the notion of Christian karate. Did a group of people who loved karate, attended the dojo diligently, listened to the sensei (it just gets better and better), learned the moves and the philosophy, decide one day that they just needed to earn their black belt with fellow Christians? Were these agnostics and Jews, these Buddhists and Muslims, ruining the whole martial arts experience simply by being there and just, well, heck, NOT BELIEVING? Sometimes a karate practitioner simply loses all concentration just knowing that the guy or gal next to him does not believe in transubstantiation and the salvation of the soul. So, they start a new Christian dojo and people flock. Enough people to enable them to buy a nice looking truck. What does a karate gym need a truck for? Maybe it was a fruit and veg man.
There is another possibility. A group of entrepreneurs gets together and decides that the martial arts is a profitable niche. However there are bucketloads of martial arts teachers and gyms out there. We are rancid with sensei. How do we get folks to come to our gym? We could appeal to older people. We could try to attract the Japanese American crowd. Maybe find someone famous to stick his or her name on the door, pay them a small sum for their image rights. WAIT! Why don’t we go for the Christians? There are loads of them and they’ll accept almost anything you tell them – except that Jews go to Heaven, but that doesn’t affect the business plan. So. Christian karate.
Or, maybe, they see karate as reflective of Christ’s teachings. Jesus as the ultimate sensei. To get to Heaven you have to strive to be a black belt. It’s very Gandhi, very Martin Luther King Jr. Only used in defense. You have to do as you’re told and it costs money every week. Blessed are the yellow belts for they shall see more of the punching bag. There’s a very successful graphic novelist who has made a very good living drawing a Samurai rabbit. Apparently its ears are tied in a topknot. How it holds a sword without an opposable thumb I cannot say. That’s always bothered me in cartoons. The thumb thing. Even as a kid. Oh, sure, they can talk, I have no problem with that. But the swordplay, no.
I’ve got a few ideas for a business. Jewdo. Jew-jitsu. A basketball gym called Islam Dunk. Kung Fucious. An acting school that teaches Methodist acting. A new car racing circuit, Nascarma. Possibilities are endless.