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Superstition And Ritual In The Martial Arts

            Dorian Antes smokes a pack of filtered Camel cigarettes a day. He always manages to wear at least one article of black clothing and is an avid fan of european death metal. He sports a mohawk though he prefers not to put it up with Knox gelatin and has a pair of black flames tattoed on the sides where the hair should be, among other tribal tattoes that sprawl over his body. This person has also spent ten years of his life earning a first degree blackbelt in Kojasho, a style of martial arts that combines Chinese kung fu and Japanese karate. He has participated in countless tournaments during his study of Kojasho and has won several first place trophies. I thought that a person with his unique personality and outlook on life combined with a relatively dangerous and physical sport would have a diverse and interesting set of ritual and superstitions.
             The martial arts is a sport of the individual. Although it's students congregate and are taught in the dojo, to succeed in karate requires an individual effort. No one is going to make a person practice the extra hours away from the classroom needed to go up in belt levels. Any success in a tournament will come to fruition only because of the person's hard work and training. Therefore karate is an activity favorable to Dorian Antes because he prides himself on his individuality and the way he presents himself to the outside world is proof of this.
             Because Kojasho is a sport of the individual, The dojo itself has very little in the way of superstition and ritual. What taboos that are taught in the classroom have a functional use or are the remnants of traditions dating back to the ancient orient. For example a student is never allowed to let his belt touch the floor. This does not apply when the students are sparring and are knocked down. This taboo is an age old tradition and it is beileved that if you let the belt touch the floor you will bring shame upon yourself and your sensei (teacher) and his sensei.

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