Getting to the Point
By Jon Desrosiers
"I know Point-Fighting Karate, that's not really fighting!"
I hear it all the time, especially since the birth of the U.F.C. and growing popularity of "No-Holds Barred" fighting competitions. It's generally the same remarks time after time, "Those guys wouldn't last a minute in a real fight." or "They always pull their punches."
Granted, after seeing veteran MMA fighters Ken Shamrock and Dan Severn attempting to rip the arms off one another, sport Karate does seem a little "nursery school", and to think a (Point- Fighter) competitor would stand any chance in the cage or octagon with the likes of those two, well…let's be realistic, ok!
Still, I'm not saying we're scared. That's right, I happen to love Point-Fighting and, even at my age, still participate quite often. It's not that we're afraid of a little contact, it's just that we understand that with most of us weighing in at a meager 185lbs. or less, we couldn't withstand too many hard blows from a 275-320lbs. MMA opponent, especially one who has trained well and really knows how to fight hard!
"Well...maybe we're a little scared?"
It would be like throwing the average Major League baseball player into a professional football game against the Raiders back when Howie Long led the defensive line, it would be a massacre! That doesn't mean that baseball should be bumped or knocked; it simply serves a purpose and manages to entertain millions of loyal fans every year. Point or sport Karate also serves a much needed purpose, it allows smaller fighters to match up with larger ones and live to talk about it. Not just because their heads are still attached to their bodies afterwards, but also because they never seem to contract Parkinson's disease as a result from absorbing numerous blows to the head. It may provide our youth with a forum to nurture their fighting skills in a controlled arena, teaching them some basic fundamentals of fighting and competing. It is also a great source of entertainment.
"Who said there was no contact in Point-Fighting Karate?"
By the way, whoever said there was no contact in sport Karate matches was incorrect. Let me tell you something, I recall a time, during the final match of my division
at the late Ed Parker's famed Long Beach International Karate Championships in 1992, when I got hit with a painful Scoop-Kick to my groin that cracked my cup in two! Barely finishing the match, I spent the next two hours sitting on the cold cement floor of the arena because every time I tried to stand it felt like my "family jewels" were bowling balls and gravity was yanking them downward with fishing gaffs! Yeah, it may not be an Arm-Bar dislocating someone's elbow, or ten bloody crushing strikes to the face of a downed opponent, but let me say...it is definitely making solid contact! No, there wasn't any blood or broken bones, in fact you might have missed the exact moment of the impact if you had blinked. I didn't even look like I'd been in a fight, but I felt like all the members of the U.F.C. had taken turns introducing their knees to my private parts!
The truth is there is a lot of contact in Point-Fighting, plenty of broken noses, cracked ribs, and my personal favorite: swollen bowling balls!
There are constant breaks in the action, but that is what Point-Fighting is all about. It's a controlled form of fighting, which promotes polishing relied upon skills like initiation, quickness, timing, and targeting aspects. Point-Fighting tournaments are also one of the only places where your children can safely pit their martial arts skills against others of their own age, helping them to build that all important quality of self-confidence.
I know it's not the U.F.C., but it sure isn't golf either, and there are many new promoters working on bringing up the level of action to a higher degree without taking too much away from the original concept. All I can safely say is if you haven't personally seen a Point-Fighting event, come out to a local tournament and you may be pleasantly surprised and entertained. The worst thing you'll end up doing is helping to support your local Dojo's, one of which your child may attend. If you cannot do that, then at least read www.amam-magazine.com and I'll try to keep you abreast of the evolution of Point-Fighting Karate, plus introduce you to some of the more prominent players...
"That is as long as I don't get another swift kick to the crotch from the Editor of this glorious magazine...I hope you get my point!"