Ameri-Do-Te is the fictional martial art taught by the fictional Master Ken, portrayed by Matt Page (himself a black belt in Kenpo karate). Master Ken is an embodiment of the Bullshido stereotypes. His art is the best and all other arts suck, his art is so deadly you can’t spar full contact, etc. He has elected himself the 10th degree black belt in Ameri-Do-Te, an art that does not have any other black belts. Even though the show is fictional, I thought I would take a look at 10 of the techniques in Ameri-Do-Te, and analyze their potential effectiveness in a real-world scenario. I will specifically be looking at techniques taught in the Enter the Dojo series, and not in ancillary videos (such as Master Ken’s Privates or the other Instructional Videos). #10 – Hurticane The Hurticane, featured in S1E9 (The Hurticane), is probably the dumbest move that’s ever been put onto film. It is just a bunch of wild flailing. Most of the techniques are not even done in such a way to be delivered with power. Even if they were, the Hurticane seems to be in the exact worst spot that you want to be. One of my criticism of some of the advanced Taekwondo forms is the idea of a double block blocking attacks from multiple partners. For example, you might down block to one side and outside block to another. The idea being that you block a kick to one side and a punch from the other. In a multiple opponent situation, it is much better to use your footwork to avoid at least one of the attacks, and put you in a position where it is essentially 1-on-1. The Hurticane puts you in the middle of a group of enemies, and you can only throw so many punches or kicks at a time (and the more you throw at the same time, the weaker each one is). The Hurticane could be improved into an actually useful technique with one of two ideas: Include footwork into the Hurticane (and clean up the techniques). The Hurticane in the show is static. Add footwork to help isolate opponents. Add lateral footwork and forward footwork to keep you moving while delivering strikes. This would much improve the strategy vs. multiple opponents. Keep the name, but change the concept. Instead of a random flailing against multiple attackers, change it to a constant spinning combination against a single opponent. Right hook, spinning left elbow, left backfist, right roundhouse kick, right tornado kick, left back kick. This “Hurticane” becomes a combination built on momentum. #9 – Dim Mack Seen in S3E5 (Dim Mack Daddy), the Dim Mack is a 1-inch palm strike to the heart, with the intent to stop the heart. I think the 1-inch punch is a great way to build your punching mechanics. However, it tends to be more of a push than a strike. Palm strikes to the chest do the same thing. The chest isn’t even a very good target. Yes, that’s where the lungs and heart are, but they’re protected by the ribs and muscles. The heart is further protected by the lungs. Very few people are going to be able to punch hard enough into the chest to cause damage, especially to the heart (as Master Ken suggests). Palm strikes lack even more penetrating power. They are very good for strikes to the face. They’re even better than a punch for hyper-extending a joint (for tsahe same reason that the soccer kick or field goal kick is with the side of the foot – it’s more stable). But a 1-inch palm-strike to the chest? I don’t think they need to use the whoopie cushion for padding. #8 – Attack the Heart Yes, the Dim Mack attacked the heart, but this is another way of doing so. S1E8 features “Attack the Heart”, and the concept can also be seen in his seminars. The idea is you break the neck or dislocate the jaw, and then you reach down through the throat to rip their heart out. There’s only one reason this isn’t lower on the list: should you manage the previous steps of breaking the neck or dislocating the jaw, you’ve probably won the fight already. The amount of strength required to reach through someone’s throat and pull out their heart (an organ not even directly connected to the trachea or esophagus) would be incredible. At that point, you should probably just go through the sternum. #7 – PP Master Ken calls pressure points “PPs” in S3E2 (Pressure Point Blank). Pressure points are iffy enough if you’re good at finding them; and virtually useless to try and target if you’re untrained with them. Because of the high learning curve and low percentage, I wouldn’t rely on these. However, the way they are used in Ameri-Do-Te takes it to the level of ridiculous. In the show, Master Ken uses pressure points to essentially turn the other person into a puppet. He uses different pressures on a wrist lock to cause his opponent to punch and kick someone else. While it is entirely possible that they will flail in response to the pain, this will be much less reliable and predictable than normal pressure point use (which was already iffy). The fact that this is #7 speaks to how unrealistic the previous techniques are. Pressure points can be a way to control your opponent, but not to the level that it’s used in Enter the Dojo. #6 – Kill Face S1E5 (Kill Face) introduces us to the…well…Kill Face technique. A face you make that is so scary you can kill someone with fear! Well, Master Ken supposedly can. Most people will only paralyze you. According to legend. This is pretty much a load of rubbish. The only documented case I can think of this happening is from Samara vs. Noah Clay. What’s that? That wasn’t a sanctioned fight, but was actually a supernatural character in a fiction movie? Oh…then I guess there’s no documented cases of this happening. However, what is well documented is the use of warpaint and battle cries throughout history. Scaring or demoralizing your opponent is a valid concept, especially in self-defense. If you look too scary to fight, they might pass. In fact, I remember one time I was holding boards for a belt test, and this one lady had such anger and determination on her face, it terrified me. I’ve sparred against guys who are a foot taller than me and in great shape, but this short, stout, middle-aged lady breaking boards scared me more than they did. Can you kill someone with a kill face? No. But you can definitely give them pause with one. #5 – Groin Grab Seen in S1E2 (Destroy the Groin), this is the first of the techniques that would be viable as a self-defense technique. However, it wouldn’t be my first choice to train, nor to use. The biggest training issue is going to be the potential for a sexual harassment or even sexual assault lawsuit. In fact, if used in a street fight, you might escalate your charges from assault to sexual assault. Or go from self-defense to sexual assault charges. Sexual harassment/assault issues are also going to plague #3 and #1 on our list. Then there are issues with its use. Heavy clothes or a groin cup can make it more difficult. As stated in the show, it’s a lot more difficult to use against a woman. It’s generally going to be banned in most competitions. You’re using one of your weapons to hold onto a non-weapon of the enemy. As compared to grabbing an arm or leg, or clinching the head. With all of that said, this technique would be particularly useful in defense against sexual assault. In fact, I had an old coworker who told me about just this situation. Her ex-boyfriend was trying to assault her, and she used the groin grab to incapacitate him. However, outside of that specific scenario, I don’t think this is as effective as Master Ken thinks it is. #4 – Re-Stomp the Groin This is one of the staple techniques of Ameri-Do-Te. It’s seen as the last technique in the first self-defense combo in S1E1 (Welcome To The Dojo). The re-stomp is similar in mechanics to a front snap kick, except thrown downward behind you. Personally, I’d rather use a back kick in that situation. The heel is a stronger target, and the back kick is one of the most powerful kicks you can have. I think that when kicking down behind you, the back kick becomes a stomp, where the “re-stomp” is a front kick without your hips behind it. Even so, this is finding its way into my curriculum as an alternate application for the front kick. #3 – Thrust of Freedom S2E2 (Thrust of Freedom) gives us one of the craziest moves in Ameri-Do-Te. There’s even an entire kata built around this move in the Ameri-Do-Te system. The Thrust of Freedom is essentially a striking technique using the hips. Yes, it’s a pelvic thrust. Used in the show, it’s a great way to find yourself as the defendant in a sexual harassment lawsuit. One of my favorite lines is Anthony saying, “I can’t think of a better way to scare someone off than to violently hump them…I also can’t think of a better way to get someone to want to beat me up than to violently hump them.” However, the Thrust of Freedom can be used in training to help with the following: Side thrust can be a hip check or a hip toss Rear thrust can be used to lift someone in a body grab situation to break their structure Front thrust can be used as a way to visualize driving your hips through a punch, kick, knee strike, etc. I personally wouldn’t use it as a teaching method, but I see how it could be used to achieve that goal. Side note: the thrust-of-freedom is a very short-range attack. I’ve had better results on a hanging punching bag than a standing kicking bag (like a Century Wavemaster or BOB). The base of the kicking bag makes it difficult to get close enough to follow-through with any sort of power. #2 – You-Jitsu S2E1 (You Jitsu) gives us this technique. Well…it’s more of a training method than a technique. The idea is to try and out-fight the mirror image of yourself, because you are your own greatest opponent. (Funnily enough, the same idea can be seen from Rocky in the Creed movie). Training in front of a mirror has numerous benefits: You can check your form You can see what openings you leave Compared to shadow-boxing, it gives you a human target to aim for I also believe in the introspective nature of You-Jitsu. It’s a good way to find your strengths and weaknesses, as well as figure out how to exploit those same weaknesses if you see them in your opponent. In fact, if it were not for current circumstance, I would put You-Jitsu as the #1 technique. However… #1 – Tongue Punch This technique doesn’t get its own episode, but is seen as a quickly drilled technique in a few different episodes. The idea is to tongue-punch someone in the eye to blind them. Of all of the ways to gouge someone’s eye, this is the worst one. Honestly, I’d put it at #7 if it weren’t for one fact: COVID-19. Yep. Right now, we’re in the middle of a pandemic. Using your saliva as a weapon is probably going to scare anyone away faster than any kill face or groin grab. Of course, you run into the same problems as with the Thrust of Freedom and Groin Grab regarding sexual harassment, and you run into much greater legal troubles if you use this technique than before the pandemic. But we’re not talking about that. We’re talking about effectiveness. And this is certain to scare off anyone. Final Note: I know that fraud-busting is frowned upon. However, since Master Ken is not a real person, and in fact the show exists as a satire, I feel no shame in pointing out the flaws inherent in his system.