5 Violently Debunked Martial Arts Myths
Every child who ever learned how to snap a fragile board in half knows an instructor who knows a master who trained under an eight-stripe dragon whose karate can do the impossible. They have snatched bullets out of the air, paralyzed men with a single touch, and seen a lady's boob -- and not in a breastfeeding pamphlet. Many of these martial arts myths still live on if your heart is filled with enough magic or your placenta was filled with enough opioids. But some, like the ones here, have been violently and spectacularly debunked.
You Can't Stop a Running Attacker with Invisible Energy
Yellow bamboo is a Balinese martial art that uses the power of God to blast beams of negative energy at your opponents. And these beams are crazy. Once you have them charged up, a yellow bamboo beam causes everyone in your field of vision to have a seizure. This is not a martial art for someone looking for a fun workout. This is for people who want to be closer to their creator but also liquefy a man's organs, plus the coffee shop and nursery behind him. You can tell when a bar fight has started in Bali because one half of the room will suddenly drop to the floor and die screaming. Right now, there's an Indonesian homicide detective standing over a room of contorted corpses and telling a rookie, "Puke if you need to, kid. This is the job. Now mind-probe those exploded testicles for yellow bamboo residue. You're murder police now."
In most demonstration videos, a yellow bamboo practitioner stands very firm until they have enough god energy ready. Then their friends run at them and get blasted into oblivion. Those who survive give testimonials about how real it all was. It seems like a fighting style vulnerable to unscheduled attacks, blows from the side, and opponents who aren't playing make-believe with you, but I bought the training guide anyway. I'm just some asshole making fun of them, and even I was disappointed.
The book lays out a rice diet plan and teaches you some weird meditation techniques, but has shockingly little information on how to summon seizure beams. It's almost as if the author was hoping some other phenomenon had already given the reader energy powers and they were simply interested in some plain white rice recipes. Here's an an actual excerpt from the part about getting your energy beams to work. I added the blood splatter so my friends would think I was good at it:
I'd describe myself as a skeptic, but only because the thing they're doing is ridiculous, they have a financial incentive to lie, and I followed their instructions precisely and gained no superpowers. I don't want to get too political, but when an obvious liar tells me something that violates reality, my brain doesn't freeze up and reboot in Fear of Hillary Clinton Mode. Other people felt the same way and set out to prove yellow bamboo was fake. It turned out to be easier than you'd expect.
A man named Peter Dellys somehow convinced them to demonstrate their powers against his Brazilian jiu-jitsu, a fighting style with less magic but far more field testing. They all went to a beach, and Peter gave one of the yellow bamboo nutbags all the time he needed to summon his magic. The yellow bamboo master shrieked as he squirted mighty power from his palms, but they were no match for Peter's light jog. Peter rammed into him with the impact of a Steven Seagal punch and the predictability of a Steven Seagal sexual assault allegation.
No one knows what happened. Maybe he relaxed his entire reproductive system and anus too early, or maybe dumbness and wishes are ineffective self-defense methods. They tried it again with similar results. In a final, desperate attempt, they called in the most magical yellow bamboo master to gather all the power at his command. They even had another student stand behind him and swirl extra magic into him. Which means they're allowed to performance-enhance themselves with other people's chi? If you believed any of this was real, you'd have to consider that cheating. Which means these yellow bamboo guys not only lie about a thing they can do, but also cheat while they're not doing it. These are bad people. Also, if you ever find yourself saying, "I will defeat you for questioning me, but first I must devour the life force from my follower!" you're not the hero in that fight.
For this third, ultimate challenge, Peter was replaced by his friend Fraser, another jiu-jitsu practitioner. I guess the yellow bamboo guys figured there was no way a second man could be immune to chi rays. Fraser ran toward the man filled with the wishes of two, seemingly unaffected by God's hateful powers. He took down the world's dumbest and fakest sorcerer and choked him out instantly. If your martial art style was Unprepared Burger King Customer, you would have defended this attack with exactly the same effectiveness. It was humiliating, but it was nothing compared to another notable yellow bamboo incident.
In a documentary called Three Miles North Of Molkom, a group of hippies are training in yellow bamboo at a metaphysical retreat. Everything is going as planned -- the instructor is running at the students while they marvel at their sudden ability to give a man a seizure with their screams. But then both things that could go wrong, well, go wrong. The instructor charges at one of the women, everyone forgets to scream, and he forgets to have a seizure. He runs her over like he's a bus driver trying to catch a Snorlax.
After just laying her the fuck out, the instructor awkwardly looks over at her. Quickly, but not even close to immediately or imperceptibly, he makes the decision to fake a chi seizure, even though no one shot him with any chi. So while she wails in agony, he convulses around hoping that the time he Lawrence Taylored one of his students into a wheelchair will get written off as an inexplicable mystery. Plus, it leaves the door open to the possibility that he's not a simple conman but a guy whose nervous system shuts down when he runs, and for years he misdiagnosed his affliction as nearby people having chi powers. I made this comic in case you don't want to watch the video.
What happens after this insane accident illustrates what's so great about these people. They think spirit powers are real, and that's cute, but this particular spirit power was proven to be a fraud right in front of them. And instead of asking for their money back, they stood right by that moaning woman and made wild speculations as to why she might be dying so loudly. Two of them even got into an argument about whether the still-not-quite-dead woman was very bad at yellow bamboo or in fact very good at it. That's how pointless yellow bamboo is -- when it does less than nothing, almost fatally, the people training in it are pretty sure that's a best-case scenario.
You Can't Stop A Regular Attacker With Invisible Energy, Either
When the UFC debuted in 1993, we all learned the most effective martial arts were wrapping yourself around your enemy's neck and/or being much bigger than them and ravaging them like a rival chimpanzee. Watching the tens of hours of our kung fu practice rendered obsolete before our eyes was disappointing, but we held out hope that word of this new fighting challenge would reach an ancient temple filled with kumite monks. We kept expecting one of them, any day now, to descend from a mountain and defeat Mark Coleman and Oleg Taktarov with a forbidden shadowless kick, or maybe just dodge punches until everyone agreed that love could be the only real winner. Ryuken Yanagi was exactly what we were hoping for.
Yanagi was a Japanese psychic and a master of aikido and qigong. For the non-nerds, aikido is a martial art used to make sprinting idiots do front-flips, and qigong is the Chinese word for "Jedi powers like in the hit film Star Wars." Yanagi was so good that he could clap his hands at people to make them fall down. He knew secret ways to touch a woman that let her knock down other men grabbing her. That's not a weird joke. Watch.
Let's talk about this power for a minute, ladies. It obviously requires that someone be touching you, so it seems like it's only useful if you're being grabbed by two men and want to cause the one who isn't a wizard to shit his pants. Even as an academic endeavor, that's specific enough to almost not be worth learning. Also, it's unclear how the death energy can pass harmlessly through the woman but then explode the heart of the man holding her wrist. Do these powers not work on women? Or does the wizard have to choose which gender his energy kills before he shoots it? Hold on, this is giving me an idea, and I don't want to be presumptuous, but it feels like it might be the best idea. I'll be right back.
OK, I'm back. What made Yanagi different from other ancient chi masters was that he wasn't content with levitating alone in some cherry blossom grove. He wanted everyone to think he was a badass. So he would make combat challenges to give the illusion he was a lethal street fighter, then weasel out of them to give the illusion he was a lethal street fighter who was just very bad at scheduling. I've also read that none of this was true, because due to the nature of intentionally mysterious charlatans, it's hard to get a straight account of anything he's ever been involved in. But we do know that he participated in at least one actual fight, and it did not go well.
When he was 65 years old, this crazy fuck agreed to a fist fight, probably his first one ever, then weaseled out, then somehow got talked into it again. With cameras and witnesses, he was scheduled to fight a man half his age named Iwakura Tsuyoshi. Tsuyoshi was not a professional fighter, but trained in judo and jiu-jitsu and figured these styles would match up well against Yanagi's psychic aikido and lying.
When the fight began, they cautiously felt each other out. Tsuyoshi may have been concerned about Yanagi's unlikely abilities, but that seemed to go away after Yanagi tried a wild bitch slap like you might see from a kitty cat or a grandmother playing Mario Power Tennis. It missed, and no one could see what happened to its lethal charge of qigong. Unknown to them, two buildings away, a family watched their father's face go blank and fall into his soup. The man's eulogy would be only questions -- another dot the police would never connect. The family's screams would last far longer than the fight raging two buildings away, where Yanagi's opponent answered his missed slap with an actual punch to his amateurishly unprotected face.
The blow he took wasn't very technical or particularly hard, but it made one thing very clear: This old man had somehow made it 65 years pretending to be a martial arts master without ever being hit in the face. He looked so confused and disappointed that the guy who was there to kick his ass stopped and asked if he was OK. And here's a hot karate tip: When someone beating you starts to get genuinely worried about your health, trust their judgement.
Ryuken kept checking the blood coming out of his nose as if it was a new discovery he had to name. "Leakbrain? Gerald? Hold on, who are all these people watching me? Hi, everyone! I have a Gerald?" In his confusion, he agreed to continue the fight, which was a dumber idea than pretending to have magic powers for 50 years. Tsuyoshi grabbed Yanagi's pointlessly outstretched arm with one hand and bashed him in the face with the other. And that was before the kicks started. It's not only that Yanagi didn't know how to fight; it's that all those years of make-believe combat had somehow trained the fight-or-flight instincts from his body. It would have almost been sad if Yanagi hadn't later claimed he was sick, and that it was the kind of illness that interferes with his normally quite useful chi abilities. The lesson got beaten into him so hard that it blasted out the back of him and he didn't have time to learn it. So keep in mind that he's a lying moron while you watch this sad old man get the fucking shit kicked out of him.
You Also Can't Stop A Gently Shoving Attacker With Invisible Energy
This is a video of Master Jukka Lampila in "action." For three and a half minutes, his mind powers cause a simple man in a ponytail to fall softly down and get right back up again. It's probably not real, and if it is, it's only useful for forcing a troublesome farmhand to keep picking strawberries.
There are three possibilities when you're talking about using martial arts energy to move people around or knock them out. The first is that it's a hypnotic suggestion. Believers want it to be real, so their brain helps them perceive it that way. The second possibility is that it is real. You can't say something doesn't exist simply because it's not real and no one can find it except the people selling it to you. The third possibility is that these chi masters who are personally and financially motivated to lie are ... lying. You know, it's probably a combination of all three. Except it's not. That last sentence was an example of the first possibility -- your soft ape brain finding comfort in vague, open-ended explanations that feel logical but in fact involve a lot of intentional ignorance and pretending. There's no mystery or wonder here. These guys are just full of shit, and here's the video to prove it.
Master Jukka Lampila uses something he calls "Empty Force," which is a game of Star Wars that went on 35 years too long but is less fun than that sounds. Master Jukka can stop attackers mid-punch using only his mind, which has allowed him to ascend to "Master" while still maintaining the physique of a garbage bag of breast reduction medical waste. With his amazing mind powers he could do anything, but he decided on karate because the black robes help make the rolling dunes of the frosting graveyard he calls a body look more like a human torso.
Everyone likes to think they're hard to trick, but we still have magnetic therapy bracelets and Donald Trump and diet pills and books on female orgasms. The point is, Master Jukka was getting away with his scam for a long time until a seminar in Barcelona several years ago. He made three simple mistakes. One, he let people film it. Two, he let them ask questions. And three, he is qualified to be the ingredients of a canned ham, not a martial arts instructor.
Jukka started the demonstration by knocking some of his suspiciously clumsy students down by looking at them. They fell over with all the acting talents of Shaquille O'Neal trying to draw a charge in a movie about a basketball player who becomes Santa Claus. PROMOTED: Shaq is back to Shaq The Halls this holiday season.
It didn't go as well when Jukka tried using his Empty Force on people who weren't his students. They stood very still while he pawed at them. Of course nothing happened, making it a terrible martial arts scam but a pretty good man-fondling scam. After that, Jukka opened the floor to questions, and they asked obvious ones like "Ha ha ha, what?" and "Come on, you fat fuck."
One audience member asked if he could try actually attacking him, so Master Jukka established the parameters for the "attack." The guy was allowed to slowly, very slowly, push on him, and Jukka would deflect his energy. Even assuming you were generous enough to call this light shove an "attack," it didn't work anyway. Master Jukka wasn't doing anything more than gently rubbing his palm on a confused guy. And it seems like wildly irresponsible self-defense advice to tell students to start a handjob and explore where that takes the conflict.
After it was proven that Master Jukka's powers only work on embarrassed students with bad acting abilities and too-long answers to any question about anime, the audience started to turn on him. One awesome guy stood up and gave a speech on how he wasn't very tough and didn't know how to fight. Then he added, "But I can do this," and threw a couple un-tough, untrained punches against a dummy. He asked if he could try the same thing on Master Jukka. Easy, right? If you've had ten minutes of martial arts training, you've learned how to handle that. If you've read the Hulu description of Karate Kid, that's good enough. Master Jukka said no.
No? Master Jukka, you handjobbing thumb, if you can't block two punches from a normal-sized man with no fighting skills who has warned you he's about to punch, what the fuck can you block? What's the point of your life's work? What circumstances would be ideal enough for your self-defense method? You sloppy bitch, you probably only invented your mind powers because there was a hot dog slightly out of reach.
You Can't Stop A Motionless, Willing Friend With Invisible Energy
George Dillman was once an award-winning user of karate. On its own this isn't very notable, since the hobby of karate generates ten trophies and three world champion titles for every one participant. What is notable is how in the early '80s, Dillman was introduced to a very special type of karate -- the kind of that can defeat you with one finger. The idea is that humans are covered in pressure points that obliterate you when they get poked. I don't think this is true, or the first bra I unhooked would have at least blown the arms and legs off that patient girl at sleepaway camp.
For years, George went around selling books and teaching students how to incorporate harmless pokes into an already impractical fighting style. Soon he took his teachings to the next level, replacing the harmless pokes with harmless nothing. His chi was so powerful that he could knock you out without touching you. He bragged about shoving entire crowds of people away with his chi, which is possible, since a chubby bug-eyed man summoning fireballs has a studiable effect on herd movement.
National Geographic wanted to see if Dillman's abilities were real, because at least one producer at National Geographic is a fucking idiot. The show was extremely open to the idea of chi existing, and they gave Dillman every chance to explain and demonstrate his no-touch karate. They started with a real-world test, having a Navy SEAL ambush him during the inte- I'm kidding. They sent in a friendly 125-pound chemist and had him stand perfectly still for a very, very long time while an eighth-degree black belt bombarded his skull with chi from both hands. It was seriously enough chi to kill the mayor of Prattville, Alabama (which is impressive when you find out that's two married horses), and it had no effect on the guy. You can watch it here, but be warned, it is gruesome how much chi this guy takes right to his face.
When it failed, George didn't have a good answer ready. This frog-faced ball of banana bread dough was so goddamn stupid that he never considered what he might say to someone when they saw his completely fabricated chi bullshit not work.
In the video he flounders, making up excuses in every direction. He blurts out that the chemist isn't a believer, meaning chi karate only works on you when you truly believe in it. Like it does to you, it instantly occurs to him how that's a hilarious prerequisite for a self-defense technique, so he changes gears. He suddenly remembers a carefully protected secret thing you can do with your tongue to block chi. Oh, oh! And if you have one toe up and one toe down, that also works. OH! And you can switch them back and forth if your chi attacker figures out you're doing the toe trick. So I guess you wouldn't call them "excuses." They're more like things you would tell a pediatric psychiatrist who specializes in dumb fucking kids with no imagination.
The incident was a career-destroying stream of brain diarrhea. No one needed to convince George Dillman to test his abilities in an actual fight, since he already admitted his weaknesses were rationality or literally any part of the human body. He was a superhero who had the bad luck to land on a planet made entirely out of Kryptonite. He is a dirty veal bucket of sloshing milk, but before we move on, it's important to me you hear Black Belt Magazine's 1997 Instructor of the Year's exact words:
Ninjas Are Cowards Who Can't Even Fly
Ashida Kim, who is not as Asian as that made-up name sounds, has been a hilarious fraud since the early '80s, and at least some of you were expecting to see him at #1 the moment you read the title of this article. "Ashida" is the author of many classic ninja books, like Ninja Death Touch, Ninja Mind Control, Dancing Ninja Masters, and Ninjitsu For Women. They explain every lethal secret of the ninja, from vanishing to floating to throwing sand in someone's eyes and running away.
We'll be here all day if I start showing you crazy shit from his books, so instead, here is a video wherein he demonstrates "27 of the deadliest poison hand techniques ever devised, each one of which is guaranteed to kill, cripple, or maim any attacker." By the end of this combo, he has broken his enemy's foot, arm, elbow, shoulder, and spine. He has shattered his neck three times. And watch for the move in the middle where he claws the guy's face, "ripping away any remaining flesh." I should have mentioned that a lot of these moves will also be taking chunks of face flesh off. This little man is built like a juniors swimsuit model, and he is so sincere about the very serious danger your fucking face is in. It's awesome.
Ashida Kim wrote an erotic novel about himself in which he is an intelligence operative in Africa disguised as a whorehouse bouncer, and it is based on his real-life experiences. Here's another fun fact from the author's website: "Rumor had it at one time that this property would be the screenplay for a soon to be released motion picture. Those plans did not materialize because of political considerations. The script, however, is still available." This seems like a good time to let you know that Ashida Kim is completely full of shit and never learned how to lie.
Look at how many ways he screwed up that one simple lie. He wants us to think someone optioned his book, but called it a "rumor." He's the author. He's at least one of the people who can verify the rumor. Who is optioning his book about his made-up sex adventures without him? And what is this production schedule? It didn't have a script, a green light, or a studio, but it was "soon to be released"? This is the lie of someone who hasn't even heard of movies. And then he ends it all with a sad plea for someone, anyone to buy the script that didn't exist two sentences ago adapted from a pornographic book by a politically controversial liar. It's a pass, Ashida Kim.
Ashida Kim is such a frequent and easily discredited liar that he actually got banned from Wikipedia. He was spending his days making false claims on his page and warring with anyone who corrected them until finally Wikipedia deleted his entire entry. But there must be some basis to his martial arts skills, right? You c-can't just ... just decide one day you're a ninja and write a bunch of books on how to tear faces off, right? Why don't his ninja masters seem to exist? Why hasn't anyone challenged him to some kind of ninja fight? I'm so glad you asked about that.
Ashida Kim has a standing $10,000 fight challenge to anyone willing to face him. To be clear, you pay him $10,000. This is due 30 days before the fight starts, and he keeps it no matter what. You also pay him a $25,000 bond to make sure you show up. You also cover the airfare and hotel for him and his +3. It needs to be at a public event center, and he keeps half the money from tickets and concessions. This is paid to him before the fight. You also have to sign a waiver in case he kills you, but this seems unlikely, since his weight class is right on the edge of "tiny man" and "large cow vagina." He's definitely going to leave with the money, but if the fight does start, you should know there are no rules. Also, there are a lot of rules. You can lose from any number of subjective things, and can be disqualified at any time for unsportsmanlike conduct. And maybe I grew up too soft, but what the hell is unsportsmanlike conduct in a ninja death match, Ashida Kim? Refusing to shake your hand when it's ripping away my remaining face flesh? Using non-dolphin-safe throwing star poison? Tearing your dick off before you've lost your virginity?
This is ridiculous, but remember, the man is 100 percent sincere and seems to think he's tricking us. He has spent decades filing lawsuits and arguing online to protect his reputation as a deadly ninja -- a reputation he hasn't had since the last of his readers turned 13. I think the issue is that his fighting style is ancient and shadowy and he has no training for his opponents in the information age. Despite the suspiciously insane maze of obstacles that is his $10,000 fight challenge, several years ago, some debunkers fulfilled all the requirements and demanded a match. Ashida still refused to fight, but that doesn't mean he wasn't destroyed.
Dozens of citizen journalists started digging up dirt on him. They found out he was a man named Christopher Hunter, or at least he was after he changed it from Radford Davis. According to court filings from 2007, he only owned half a truck and was making about $300 a month, which presumably includes the profits from his various ninja-related ventures and self-insert erotic literature. His book sales are unlikely to pick up now that EPA regulations keep lead paint away from babies, but maybe he's still holding out hope for that sweet five-figure payday when a bizarrely trusting rival ninja mails him the fight challenge money.
It's easy to mock a man who claims he can tear off your face and genitals in a single combination of deadly poison hand techniques, because he probably can't, but to his credit, not all his abilities are so easy to dismiss. Science is not going to like this, but this is a video in which Ashida Kim is, no bullshit, can't-be-faked, levitating.
This fucking guy. That's the perfect video to describe Ashida Kim and all of these martial arts myths. At first it looks like he's doing something impossible. He's actually floating off the ground! Yet you still might think, "What would be the easiest, most obvious way to explain that?" In this case, it's a tie between ninja magic and just lifting your knees off the ground. A real ninja might float high enough that you can see the bottom of him, and a shitty, insecure ninja might have his buddy come in with a hula hoop and do some "sleight of hand." In this case, he practically bonked it into Ashida's still-attached-to-the-floor ass, so it actually did more to explain the trick than verify it.
Which is exactly the point I'm trying to make: Everyone knows how all karate magic is done the second they look at it. Every attempt to "prove" it only makes this game of ninja you're playing look more pathetic. You might make the point that it's irresponsible to take money from people who thought they were learning self-defense, but it's almost a public service to teach very stupid people fighting techniques that can't hurt anyone. So in their way, maybe these fraudulent pussy idiots are the real heroes.
Seanbaby is a secret intelligence operative and grandmaster-certified lover who holds the world record for fastest kick with knockout. You can follow him on Twitter, or play his hit mobile game Calculords.
Forget that yellow bamboo, just get some regular bamboo to keep on your desk.
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