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How Will the New Karate Kid Movie Affect the Martial Arts Industry?

In 1984, "The Karate Kid" movie was released in theatres throughout the country. Martial arts schools all over the United States saw an immediate increase in student enrollment, and children everywhere wanted to dress up like Daniel Larusso for Halloween. The martial arts industry would never be the same.

Prior to the release of this movie, the martial arts were characterized as being mystical arts primarily studied by people of Asian descent, members of the Special Forces, or action heroes. People were able to relate to the main character because he was an average teenager with problems that most of us have faced throughout our own lives.

Throughout the 1980's, the traditional martial arts continued to increase in popularity. Movies like "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" and "Bloodsport" became instant hits and martial arts schools again saw an increase in students. In the 1990's, things began to change. On November 12, 1993, the Ultimate Fighting Championships premiered on pay-per-view. The UFC was meant to be a competition of individuals from many different martial arts competing to determine which style or instructor was the best. Out of this event, one thing became very clear....ground fighting is something not to be sneezed at. Prior to the UFC, the martial arts were characterized by people kicking, punching, and karate chopping to win a fight. After watching Royce Gracie win match after match by choke or submission, it became clear that the martial arts would be forever changed.

Since the first UFC, things have changed tremendously. While there are still martial arts schools that only teach punching and kicking techniques, most dojos that I visit now teach ground fighting techniques in addition to their traditional routine. The martial arts are all about adapting to your opponent, and I think it is great that many of the traditional schools have adopted these techniques. We just need to be careful that we don't lose the important values taught when learning martial arts in a traditional dojo. Now at age 31, I've spent many years training in mixed martial arts schools, and while I like the casual environment many MMA schools embrace, I miss some of the old traditions like bowing in and reciting the philosophies of the style you are studying.

On June 11, 2010, the new "Karate Kid" remake will be released in theatres throughout the country. While I have a huge respect for the Mixed Martial Arts, my hopes are that this movie brings popularity back to the traditional martial arts.

In celebration of the new "Karate Kid" movie, we have add a new Karate Kid Costume to KarateMart.com.

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