Martial arts fantasy and kids...

Makalakumu

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I wanted to start a thread about kids and their martial arts fantasies...ie power rangers, ninja turtles, and for older kids...martial arts movies. Do you feel like these fantasies are beneficial to martial arts training? Do you think they may create an image of the martial arts that is too far away from the reality? Or is this the hook that brings our young ones into the arts?

My daughter (and now my son) wanted to be a ninja for Halloween this year. We've been playing with swords and shuriken and nunchaku...all plastic toys. Our games have been really fun and my hope is that it will lead to more serious training in the future. What do you think?

upnorthkyosa
 

Sam

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I dont know, but I do know this. I have two instructors who joined when they were 5 and 7 because they wanted to be ninja turtles. They're two of the best martial artists I know.
So it can't be all that bad.
 

Bob Hubbard

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The fantasy aspect is fun, and can often lead to a child asking for lessons. A good school can help keep it fun, while working with the parents to help the child seperate the fantasy from the reality. I've seen alot of kids come in to schools wanting to "fly", and be taught discipline and respect while at the same time having a good time. It's just up to the parents to take an active roll in the childs life. My own interest in the martial arts came from such weird things as the old "Hong Kong Fooey" cartoon and Star Wars. :)
 

CuongNhuka

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It's a two-sided coin, as they say. On the heads (or if you prefer the 'good') side, there is undoubtedly the fair chunk of people in the martial arts that started because they saw a martial arts flick or TV. Show. That actually includes me with the karate kid movies, so if I start to quote Mr. Miagy (I cant spell his name, but you probably know who i'm talking about) you know why. Like Sam said with those two instructors.



But the same movies have made it so that many styles are looked low upon, and create myths about martial arts. There is a thread about every day uses of your martial arts were some one (cant rember who) was poking fun at some of those myths. Like chocking people with Ki (chi), flying, teleporting, yadda, yadda, yadda. Another example is one that happens to me on an almost daily basis. My school has a weight training class that i'm taking. In it when I get done with my work out I used to go out side and do "isometrics", by which I mean Sui Nim Dao. I don't do that anymore, though. Mostly because of these two girls (Jamie and Dena) who spent all day apparently coming up with every martial art fantasy, insult, and a few other nasty little things. Comment slurs were Kung fuey, 'hay dumb @$$ your not a ninja' (yah I know i'm not a ninja, i'm a samurai [joke]), your to old to be doing stupid $#!* Like that, and (most offensive) martial arts are only about fighting, and they cant even do that so stop doing them. They also have a habit of making fun of Bruce Lee, Jacky Chan, and Jet Li. while I don't completely agree with most of what Master Lee did, but i'm still insulted by any rude comment made to him, or Jeet Kune Do (Jeet Kune Do and Coung Nhu are almost like brother styles since they are both heavily influenced by Wing Chun). They made very offensive comments about Boddidarma, Genchin Funakashi, Torihi Ueshiba (sorry if miss spelled there names), and a few other martial arts masters. I'm not even shure how they know who they are, unless they did martial arts. They also know some of the terminology of McAdoos. Odd, isn't it?



But I think that in general MA flicks and shows have probably done more good then bad. Any ways, just my observations.



Sweet Brighit Bless your Blade,



John
 

arnisador

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Yes, it gets them in, but can give them unrealistic ideas. Everyone needs to see how these are filmed early on--wires, trampolines, stuntmen, sped-up film--to see what's really what!
 

mantis

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arnisador said:
Yes, it gets them in, but can give them unrealistic ideas. Everyone needs to see how these are filmed early on--wires, trampolines, stuntmen, sped-up film--to see what's really what!
true. i wanted to be scooby doo at some point in my life, unrealistic.
uh.. have you heard of kids jumping off buildings pretending to be superman back in the 80's? cartoons definitely play with kids minds
 

Andrew Green

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Fantasy is definately important, irregardless of martial arts.

How would we expect a child to grow up and become a hero, if they never even learned to pretend to be one?

Granted a real hero and a 5 year old playing a Samurai or a Ninja are quite a bit different, there is also a lot of simularity in the why, if not the what.

Hero's teach kids to stand up for what is right, to take a stand, to not get pushed around and to never give up. All things important not just for later martial arts training, but for everything they are going to do.
 

Eldritch Knight

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I'm going to take what coungnhuka said and push it up another notch. I hate to be critical of martial arts fantasy, since I personally got started because of the Ninja Turtles, but here're my thoughts. As always, my views are up for interpretation.

By first principles, the more publicity that the martial arts get, the more people will join them. As the demand picks up, hordes of McDojos will start popping up to pick up the slack. This gives us a generation of adults who's perception of martial arts is that it's commercialist drivel that won't help a bit in a "real fight". These adults will teach this to their kids, which brings us straight back to square one.

My theory is that as long as we direct the fantastic elements about martial arts (power rangers, ninja turtles, etc.) towards a younger target audience, things should be golden. Here's the basis for it.

1) Very few parents would watch the Ninja Turtles without prompting, but most wouldn't think too much of it once their elementary schooler starts raving about ninjutsu and karate, and how cool it would be to learn it. By this logic, we get a generation of parents wanting to get their money's worth, while hoping their kid gets their MA fix. If the kids stays, then the MA world just got a new recruit. If they leave, then they figured out it wasn't for them before they got old enough to get cynical about it. You win some, you lose some. The only flaw in the plan is how do parents know if they're looking at the real deal or not? This leads to point number two.

2) Unrealistic martial arts movies aimed at grown-ups. I honestly believe that this is the biggest problem facing the MA community. Sure, it's cool to see Tony Jaa do a double spin drop kick on the guy's head, or see Jet Li be the flying assassin. Sure, some grown-ups might get inspired by these movies and become dedicated martial artists. However, for the most part, people are going to see it like it is, a fantasy, and use that to reinforce their views that martial arts are just a load of commercialist drivel. I'm sure all of us have heard stories of McDojo black belts picking fights with bigger, stronger people and getting their butts handed to them. As coungnhuka mentioned, it's gotten to the point that myths are popping up left and right, fueled by a movie industry that's playing off the public's desire for even more fantastic action. This certainly doesn't help the problem. If we could get the right type of publicity out there, show the masses what martial arts are really about... then it might help MA's image.


Again, I'm trying to be consistent with the scope of this thread by making sweeping generalizations about the masses, and I realize that there are hundreds, if not thousands, of individual exceptions. However, as I wrote this, I kept thinking about the dozens of friends who've asked me if my hands are registered as lethal weapons or made Bruce Lee "turkey calls" at me. I kept trying to think of a popular martial arts movie that didn't base it's action scenes on insane acrobatics or wire-fu. I kept thinking back to when I was a pudgy little 9 year old deciding that I wanted to grow up to be a ninja... Thoughts?
 

Tgace

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Kids? Hell its the reason many adults join the MA......
 

Andrew Green

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Eldritch Knight said:
2) Unrealistic martial arts movies aimed at grown-ups. I honestly believe that this is the biggest problem facing the MA community.
No it isn't, nothing on tv is realistic, even reality tv is silly.

Tv / Movies shouldn't be real, that would be borring. I want sci fi, I want fantasy, I want huge explosions from tiny grenades, I want guys flying around on wires. That's entertaining.

If I want real, well, I can order a UFC and enjoy that too.

The biggest problem isn't the movies, it's REAL LIFE instructors selling people on fantasy.
 

Bester

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Kids used to dream of being cowboys. Then we took away their capguns, imposed "political correct thinking" on them, and the Duke cried.

Kids used to dream of being astronauts. But the realism of 2 shuttle disasters took the magic away.

Kids dream of being the football star, or the baseball great. But we shove "reality" down their throats to "protect" them from disapointment. After all, only a few are choosen. They aren't allowed to just do pickup games, no, we must impose rules, and refs, and parental fistacuffs in the stands, because that shows them true sportsmanship.

Kids now watch Harry Potter, and we fear they will suddenly stop mindlessly swallowing our religous dogma and start dreaming for themselves.

Is it so bad, that a child believes they can "morph", or a Turtle can speak? Must we strip away all of the fantasy of childhood, so that all that is left is our dreary "reality"?

Maybe if parents stopped using the TV as a babysitter, and took the time to get dirty and play with their kids again, they could have both. The fantasy of youth guided by the loving wisdom of the involved parent.

Then again, maybe we can just pass some laws, outlaw dreams, and blame all of our failings on a game, or a song.
 

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upnorthkyosa said:
I wanted to start a thread about kids and their martial arts fantasies...ie power rangers, ninja turtles, and for older kids...martial arts movies. Do you feel like these fantasies are beneficial to martial arts training? Do you think they may create an image of the martial arts that is too far away from the reality? Or is this the hook that brings our young ones into the arts?

My daughter (and now my son) wanted to be a ninja for Halloween this year. We've been playing with swords and shuriken and nunchaku...all plastic toys. Our games have been really fun and my hope is that it will lead to more serious training in the future. What do you think?

upnorthkyosa

Sure it most likely will spark an interest in the arts. I agree with Bob though. There should be a seperation between what is real and what is fantasy.

Mike
 

Cryozombie

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I think that most of the fantasy is ok.

I think SOME things are over the line.

Where do we draw it?

*shrug*
 

Eldritch Knight

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Andrew Green said:
The biggest problem isn't the movies, it's REAL LIFE instructors selling people on fantasy.

I agree with the spirit of what you're saying, but I'd say that these McDojo starters are simply reaping the fruits of a fully grown plant. One might say that the problem lies in the seed itself - the fantastic movies that get adults to believe that the quadruple aerial dropkick is true martial arts. Without these blatantly wrong ideas being perpetuated, McDojos simply wouldn't have any clientele.
 

arnisador

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Many of those who start Mcdojos have taken seminar training in running a successful martial arts franchise. The comparison to McDonalds is apt. I know I've seen ads that say if you're a green belt in anything then you can open a martial arts school through our system--not all of these people want to teach. Some make very good money running a business. I don't like it either...but it works.
 

Simon Curran

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My take on this;

Fantasy is great, sometimes we all need a break from reality.
However, the martial arts are taking a step towards the surreal since the advent of XMA and it's ilk, whose sole purpose is to recreate the unrealistic bs found in a lot of martial arts movies.
For me, that represents a sad development because it further perpetuates the myths surrounding martial arts by showing people that is what it is really about.
To each their own taste of course, but to deliberately degenerate martial arts into martial gymnatics seems like a self fulfilling prophecy for the future of martial arts.
 

Hollywood1340

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People ask me if I liked the ninja turtles back in the day. My answer is like em? I WAS ONE! But it gets harder and harder to impresss my students by qouting the movie. It was over ten years ago. *shakes head*
 

Bigshadow

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upnorthkyosa said:
I wanted to start a thread about kids and their martial arts fantasies...ie power rangers, ninja turtles, and for older kids...martial arts movies. Do you feel like these fantasies are beneficial to martial arts training? Do you think they may create an image of the martial arts that is too far away from the reality? Or is this the hook that brings our young ones into the arts?

My daughter (and now my son) wanted to be a ninja for Halloween this year. We've been playing with swords and shuriken and nunchaku...all plastic toys. Our games have been really fun and my hope is that it will lead to more serious training in the future. What do you think?

upnorthkyosa
I think the martial arts movies feed the imagination of the children. But I don't think this is the root cause that drives them into the dojos, although, it certainly helps. However, I think it begins before the movies.

Reflecting back on my childhood, I see two types of children that are affected by the movies. The first are the children who basically have a half hearted fascination with the movies because of it's cool factor. They tend to flutter from one fascination to another with no ryhme or reason. I think this probably represents the majority of children. The second group of children identify deeply with the heros in the movies and they want to emulate those heros. They too flutter from one fascination to another, but they all seem to have a common thread. IMHO

The movies draw both types of kids into martial arts I think. One is wanting to taste what they saw in the movies and once they have tasted it, they will move on. Then there is the other group of kids, that doesn't want to just taste it, they want to experience it. I think it is these children who stay and grow within the art.

What does all of my rambling mean? Well, I think that there are children who are born with the hero heart and naturally gravitate toward these things (which may describe why they were motivated to watch the movies), and there are others who are not born with the hero heart and prefer to get a taste of it, a sample if you will as they go through life, but they have no real desire to learn the arts.

I personally think that drive is not caused by the movies, but much earlier and may be why they watched the movies in the first place.

Lastly, I would like to add that I don't mean that only certain kids *can* be heros, because anyone can be a hero under the right circumstances. Just, there are people who naturally inclined to be that way. Not everyone has the desire or heart to be a Police Officer, Fireman, Soldier, etc.
 

Jonathan Randall

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Samantha said:
I dont know, but I do know this. I have two instructors who joined when they were 5 and 7 because they wanted to be ninja turtles. They're two of the best martial artists I know.
So it can't be all that bad.
Exactly! I became a landscape painter because of TV artists such as Bob Ross (the "Happy Painter"). Now, years later, I see the shortcomings of their styles (hard edges, over intense colours, landscape done in 23 minutes, etc.); however, I am very grateful to them for giving me the enthusiasm for my art.

Same with the martial arts. I don't think it's right to throw water on those who prodded you and gave you your start.
 
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