Bodybuilders are amazing. Bodybuilders have an enormous capacity for dedication and discipline, and I get their dedication and discipline, I respect it a great deal. Powerlifters, physically, look a lot different, I have a lot of respect for that as well. And members of the Navy SEALS look even more different. Respect for the SEALS, well the word respect falls a little short.

To a young man, the Bodybuilder is powerful, “Just look at him!” says the observer, ” The evidence is right in front of you.” Yes, Bodybuilders are strong, very strong, but they are first sculptors. Power-lifters are not sculptors they are power generating machines. Powerlifter bodies are a result of the function. The SEALS, with the legends of their can do, no quit, endurance and smarts are — well neither, and yet some of both.
Let’s compare the modern kata champion to the three previously mentioned; the Bodybuilder, Powerlifter, and Navy SEAL. Which one of these three is the modern kata champion most closely related too? The answer is the Bodybuilder.

The modern kata champion is about posing, and drama, two key elements to a good sculpture. Even the modern treatment of classic kata has turned these great summations of fighting knowledge into posing and drama. The unlinking of the body, disassociating arms from body, isolating muscles and stopping to, as Madonna once sang, “Strike the pose.” in search of a trophy, is a…fantasy.

I like to think of myself as pretty flexible – but on this issue, I have no flexibility.

So when I see a young man with spiked hair striking a pose that he saw on the cover of an anime magazine, I say, “Ok, there are worse things to do with your life.” however, know that they are closer to Arnold Schwarzenegger and Madonna then (insert any historical karate master’s name here).


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