Archive for Thursday, March 4, 1999


March 4, 1999


To the editor:

I saw an ad in the Sunday edition that concerned me enough that I felt I should write in. The ad featured a photograph of a small, middle-aged woman staring down a beefy, villainous-looking man that was about twice her size. The header of the ad read: "Six weeks ago, this wouldn't have been a fair fight." Then below: "In only six weeks, you can even the odds with a BLACK BELT in Self-Defense."

The ad then gave the name of one of the local martial arts schools that could be contacted for more information. This ad concerns me for a number of reasons:

1) False advertising. There is no such thing as a fair fight. While it is possible to defeat a larger, stronger opponent, you certainly can't learn to do it in six weeks. It doesn't matter what "self-defense secrets" a school promises to teach you. There are no secrets, just results of hard work and dedication.

2) False black belt. In six weeks, a student doesn't even understand what a black belt is, how could they possibly be one? It does not mean that you are tough or able to perform superhuman feats. This isn't Tekken. To be a black belt is to have dedication, perseverance, and knowledge of your particular art. Most instructors will tell you that real learning begins after you take your black belt. A black belt has learned the basics, nothing more. Beware of schools that promise expertise.

3) It's dangerous. I'm not exactly what you would call an activist. I'm writing in because I am literally scared of what may happen to someone who attends a crash course like this and is instilled with false confidence that comes with what some martial artists like to call "paper black belts". There is nothing wrong with short self-defense courses, but to advertise that one course is all you will need is a lie.

If anyone is truly concerned with their protection, I would encourage them to look into continuous training rather than support such a ludicrous program as this.

Jarrod Fobes,

1002 W. 24th.

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