"No, Karate is not a weak martial art; however, the way it is practiced can make it appear weak."
I began practicing karate in 1974, and during that era, a black belt symbolised someone who was tough and even somewhat feared. In the modern age, karate has lost its credibility, particularly in the West and surprisingly, even in Japan, where I currently reside. The rise of MMA/Cage fighting has overshadowed karate in terms of sport entertainment and real-world combat effectiveness. Karate's focus on point fighting or non-contact continuous sparring does not effectively prepare individuals for practical defence situations.
Nevertheless, many instructors have resorted to displaying trophies in their full-time karate studios to attract students, possibly indicating a preference for diluted competition fighting over traditional martial arts values.
Karate, as practiced in Okinawa, still adheres to its original principles. Okinawan karate is taught as a non-sport, focusing on conditioning the body as a weapon of destruction. It was originally developed to defeat bandits, and its practice remains true to its original form. Okinawan karate senseis / shihans (masters) believe that mainland karate is not authentic.
Living in Japan now, I have had the opportunity to witness mainland Karate, and I must admit that it often appears to be lacking in practicality when it comes to self-defense. While the katas are visually impressive, a significant majority of its practitioners seem to lack a deep understanding of the techniques they represent. It's disheartening to see black belts throwing punches with improperly clenched fists, employing wide stances that wouldn't be effective in real combat, and using low guards that leave them vulnerable to attacks targeting the head and neck.
I am confident that most Cage Fighters / MMA would emerge victorious in a duel with a modern Karate practitioner. This is not a criticism of the martial art itself, but rather a reflection of its unrealistic training methods.
I have chosen to teach ShinKenDoJapanese JuJutsu, which is designed to equip individuals with the skills to either incapacitate or restrain assailants, depending on the circumstances. It's interesting to note that a surprising number of Japanese, approximately 60 out of 100, have not even heard of Jujutsu. Among those who are aware of it, some confuse it with Daito Ryu JuJutsu, others perceive it as a form of impractical ground fighting sport from Brazil, and still, others mistake it for a variation of Judo.
As a foreigner, I am pleasantly surprised to find that my classes have attracted more students than those of established Karate Senseis.
I would like to emphasize that karate, like any other martial art, is not weak. The unfortunate training methods employed can make any art appear to be of low quality.