I watched Iain's latest video on YouTube about people criticizing what he does as not karate and I have a specific situation I would like to go over with you people.
Sure, it's hard to see beyond our own prejudices and I too suffer of this detrimental reflex of downplaying everything that is not what I practice. Some times I still relapse into that rhetoric from time to time, but I'm happy to see that most of the time now my immediate reaction to a different stile, routine, etc, is one of respectful inquire.
Here in Brasil we have a "stile", named Shobudo-ryu, that claims to be Brasilian Karate. No doubt an attempt to fly under the success of the Brasilian Jiu-jitsu and that in itself is kind of fine, everybody needs a little self-promotion to get going.
If you check the guys on YouTube, it's quite hard not to take it as a joke, but they are like everywhere (I would guess the same number of gyms as all the other traditional stiles combined in my city) and I already stumble upon a couple of their practitioners and they are good fighters.
There is one at my boxing class and we have become good mates, he is even helping me to start a martial art's club there, but the more he talks and explains about Shobudo-ryu, the hardest it gets for me to consider it as a genuine karate stile.
He claims the stile was founded by am ex-police officer and that the bases of everything is Taekwondo with a mentality of ring fighting kickboxing but also practical self-defense when needed.
Now, what REALLY creates a problem for me is, they do everything in portuguese and that makes it impossible to have a conversation with him, we simple don't share a common culture except by the mainstream version of karate history. Not even our common issues with hikite and kime are something he ever encountered because in essence, he is not training karate at all.
Is Shobudo-ryu a MacDojo? Yes, I'm inclined to say categorically it is.
Are they being well trained? The ones I encountered, yes.
But are they learning karate in any broad sense of the term?????