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Many kids growing up in America are taken to Karate class. Karate teaches disciple, self-respect and self-defense. But how has Karate been transformed from a method of protecting oneself in pre-modern East Asia to a class where mothers take their children at the local mail. This past semester I have decided to take Karate at Occidental College for many reasons. Once I enter the dance studio, which acts as our dojo, I am suppose to bow and before we start training we have to sit in a traditional Japanese manner and meditate. We then do seemingly normal Karate training. At the end of the class we also sit in a line and meditate and repeat after the sensei Japanese phrases of honor and self-respects. I do no believe that this style of Karate training has been domesticated or Americanized, however, most of the students in the class could be categorized as Caucasian. Therefore, concepts of fetishism for or collecting of Japanese culture must be considered. For myself taking Karate could be another way for me to collect another aspect of Japanese culture. James Clifford’s essay “On Collecting Art and Culture” speaks to this concept of collecting culture as a way to defining oneself to the other. Karate might be a method for defining oneself in society by training for a sport that the connected with the exotic.


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jfknudson21 — Last modified Mar 30 2011 8:01 p.m.

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