To Uniform or Not to Uniform….

Of those who visited my school, over the last 18 (actually this month is my 18th year in business) years, there have been several characteristics drawing interest to me and what we do. I would say that the main thing is that we are different from most schools, and it intrigues people. “Karate” is a dime a dozen in America, and I’m sorry to say it, but if you’ve seen one, you’ve seen em all.


See, one thing about martial artists here in America is that we tend to follow the pack, and buy into trends–even when the “trend” is to do something different. The problem is when that “something different” is the same thing everyone else is doing. Need an example? How about the recent shift to adult-oriented, self-defense-so-called-non-traditional-realistic-streetfighting-survival schools? Kinda like how FMA schools are usually alongside JKD, BJJ, Muay Thai, Krap Maga, and “street survival” classes? You know, the guy who was a Tae Kwon Do or Kenpo black belter back in the day, but he’s now got about 10 certifications in various “realistic” arts, like MMA, Brazilian Jujitsu, or CQC?

Then there’s the uniform thing. Some guys want to shed any resemblance to Mickey Mouse dojangs, so they reject anything close to a gi. They’ll don camo pants, (black belt with 8 stripes) tight-fitting T shirts, “martial arts shoes”, and MMA/BJJ logos. Yeah, you’re not wearing a uniform, so this makes you more “realistic” than traditional guys. But your costume is the same one that 20 other schools in town are wearing. Sounds like a uniforms to me!

And we all know that these McDojos–yes, even the “realistic non-martial arts/self defense” guys can be McDojos too–like to make money. That’s why those 3 or 4 seminars they attended to get certified are not exactly tuition… as much as it is a “business investment”. Gotta pay your dues if you wanna get out there and turn that dollar over to make your “investment” back.

Oh, correction. It was only ONE seminar. And yes, I think he did break a sweat or two during the drills portion of the seminar. One time, he even got a splinter on a rattan stick while doing sinawalis. Who said this shit isn’t dangerous? These guys are the real deal!

So, in the effort to look UNLIKE the shopping center dojangs who make you take classes for 2 whole years in order to get a Black Belt (you know you can learn in ONE day… the whole TWO YEAR thing is just a ploy to get more tuition money out of you… those bastards), he actually shuns things he actually likes so that he can look the part. Oh, things like:

  • certificates. You know the McDojo guys LOVE certificates. That’s why they make you take a test and pay another 50 bucks to get it. But not me! No sir, I am only into certification. That’s what us real fighters go for. Certificates is for kids!
  • bragging rights. The shopping center Take-Yer-Do master likes to brag about tournament wins and how many degrees he has. Hell, the only degree you need is the degree of pain you can put an attacker in! No, I am not into sissified tournaments, I fight for REAL! There was this time in the 8th grade the school bully pushed my head into the toilet, but don’t worry, I got him. I beat him up with my empty handed Eskrima when no one was watching. That’s what the art’s really about…. streetfights with your life on the line. It’s the only thing that matters. Go home alive, I always say. Bragging rights is for the sissies in the pajamas.
  • and speaking of pajamas, PAJAMAS. Those guys love pajamas. And patches. And tape on their belts. I don’t wear pajamas. I mean, if you get attacked on the street or in a bar, what if you can’t get to your gym bag to put on your pajamas in time? How will you fight? That’s why I practice in muscle pants, muscle shirts, desert camos, and martial arts shoes (for safety)… things normal people wear every day. And me? I only wear my belt to hold my pants up. Plus, the American Black Belt Master Streetfighters Association awarded me a 7th degree Black Belt. Look here, brother, I earned this rank…
  • unrealistic weapons. Wait! Are you on Star Trek or something? Why are you training with those outdated ASIAN weapons when you live in America???  Who in the world is going to attack you with a double steel whip these days? Man, you got to keep it REAL! That’s why I only train with live blades, gurkhas, kerambits and whips. You know, stuff you see every day on the streets. And what serious streetfighter is complete without a 24-blade training rig? What if, you were fighting, like, 22 guys and you get disarmed 22 times? What would you do? Most of you guys with your backwards mentality would end up having to fight unarmed against 22 men with razor sharp edged weapons. Not me, I’ve got 2 more blades on me, thanks to my multi-purpose knife rig. Learned these deadly skills for a good reason. I had unpaid tickets and got arrested, and while I was in the joint, had to use my disarming skills to keep the inmates off the booty. Luckily, I picked up some 52 Hands/Jailhouse Rock while I was there. I’ll send you to the website so you can pick up a copy of the DVD to learn some of those best-kept, never before seen secrets…

The so-called non-martial artist of today is now more ridiculous than the traditional guys he likes to mock. But the difference is that most traditional guys are willing to get on the mat and show you what they’re made of–regardless of how tough they look–while the so-called “realistic” guys will tell you how UN-realistic sparring is… all the while, avoiding a very real fight. But a major part of their image is to shun the uniform by saying they don’t wear them. I agree. They’re not wearing uniforms, they’re wearing costumes.

In my school, we really don’t wear uniforms. Everyone’s got one, and it’s a Karate uniform, which they wear in tournaments. We wear street clothes mostly, and we don’t ridicule people who wear uniforms. Because the bottom line is, can you fight? So, forget the rhetoric. To hell with inviting people to our next seminar when they question if our stuff works. Save the excuses about how fighting isn’t really fighting, or how I’d have to kill you if I ever had to put hands on you. When it’s all over, the question of it all is whether or not you and your boys can fight. Being different is good, if you are different in a way that it really matters. But some people are just commited to being different for the sake of being different, but if you look underneath the surface, they are just trash-talking, padded-resume bearing, unskilled buffoons trying to act like they are fighters. They are not much different than the Mickey Mouse Dojang master who fools 12 year olds into thinking Jujitsu sucks. It’s just that their “12 year olds” are grown, freaking men. But all I want to know is, can you fight.

Can you?

Thanks for visiting my blog.


Author: thekuntawman

full time martial arts teacher, full time martial arts philosopher, and full time martial arts critic

3 thoughts on “To Uniform or Not to Uniform….”

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