Posts by Marcus Callis:

Know Your History


Wednesday, May 13th, 2009

I was at a tournament last weekend and asked a boy (he was about 9) what style of martial arts he did.  He was wearing patches all over his uniform and they didn’t make much sense.  Some were Kungfu, some Taekwondo, and some were Karate.  So I asked him his style and he didn’t know.  I asked him the name of his school.  That also was a bust because it was named after the instructor.  As the day went on I asked several other students decked out in similar patchwork fashion the same questions and received the same answer.

Later on I met his instructor and found out it was a mix of several systems. No problem.  Not my cup of tea but I respect diversity.  My only problem was that his students had no idea what they were studying.  That to me is like growing up in the United States and not know the Pledge of Allegiance, National Anthem, or Preamble. Oh, wait, ask around most Americans don’t know this either.

The Martial Arts is full of stories of violent deaths caused by the insulting of ones Martial Lineage.  Am I showing my age?  The day of the Mixed Martial Artist is here but I think that to not know your lineage is to not know who you are.  Part of my training included the history of the art.  That’s part of what makes Martial Arts what it is.  Without history we are a sport for sports sake.  The word Martial relates back to the military past that we came from.  Our teacher’s teacher’s teacher fought for survival, honor, and love. Not for plastic and metal. He protected his culture, his family, and his life.

To forget that brings shame to yourself and your Martial family.  For those of you reading this who are instructors, take a moment, after kicking and playing and laughing to make sure and remember and teach your students were the sport they are playing came from.  We are doing a kick and throwing a punch that was practiced a thousand years ago.  In the age of Innovation we must never forget our past or we will one day forget who we are.

“Chuck Norris once ordered a Big Mac at Burger King and got one.”

MMA Here to Stay


Monday, March 2nd, 2009
Don't you?

Don't you?

So I have a confession.  I love watching the gladiatorial combat that is MMA.  I laugh out loud when I see a guy or girl get punched right in the face.  Does that make me a bad person?  In schools across the nation I hear the debate of “Do I or Don’t I MMA it?”  While I feel that is still a personal choice, I don’t think anyone can deny the huge following the sport has on television.

I think its also a sign of the times. Throughout history, when things got a little rough, we sit back and watch people beat the tar out of each other.  Is it hard to imagine UFC President Dana White sitting in a flowing white toga with a crown of laurel leaves on his head drinking from an urn while the thousands seated around him scream for the lions to be released (or Lesners in our case)?  We love violence for its distracting value and sheer lower base brain waves–at least I do–and MMA has a fan base larger and faster growing than just about any other sport.

So unless anything unforseen happens in the future,  MMA is now part of our culture as Americans and martial artists.  It is the step-cousin we didn’t invite to the family reunion until he won the lottery. Well, MMA just hit the Powerball and now its time for us to embrace our new-found relation.

Of course everyone in MMA right now is lucky that one man has decided to sit this one out. I’m talkin’ about Chuck Norris.  Just to tease me he started his own league but to everyone’s dismay he remains on the side lines.

Chuck Norris Makes Onions Cry.


Which Generation of Martial Artist Are You?


Friday, November 14th, 2008

Every martial artist I know has a story of how they got interested in the martial arts that in some way, shape, or form involves the media. Every few years, a new generation of martial artists enroll in schools, inspired by the latest film or TV show. There was the Bruce Lee generation. The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles generation. The Power Rangers generation. Now, the MMA generation. I am part of the greatest generation (arguably). I am part of The Karate Kid generation.

The author costumed as a Cobra Kai student.

The author costumed as a Cobra Kai student.

With that said, I find myself torn this week upon discovering the greatest martial arts movie ever made—nay, perhaps the greatest movie ever made—is being remade. The Karate Kid is coming back, with Will Smith as the producer and his son Jaden in the lead role.

Now don’t get me wrong. Jaden Smith can act, and I think Will Smith is about as good in the acting industry as you can get, but to me, remaking The Karate Kid messes with something I held as sacred. Will anything match Pat Morita as Mr. Miyagi telling Daniel to “Paint the Fence,” or “Wax-on, wax-off”—or watching Daniel-san practicing the Crane Technique as the sun sets behind him? Oh well. All I can hope for is a huge increase in enrollment in schools across the nation, like the increase we saw in 1984 after Daniel-san survived a vicious leg sweep to return for victory.

Oh, and by the way, I want to end my blog entries with an appeal to another Martial Arts Icon from my past: a tribute to Chuck Norris.

Chuck Norris’s genes aren’t a double helix. They are barbed wire.

Call me, Chuck. Love to meet ya.

1-800-821-5090—Tiger Claw