I watched Karate Kid when I was small and wanted to take up karate. Then I found out that the Crane Kick (as originally intended) was actually impossible without the use of Magic, and, after a little cry, I gave up on that dream.
(although I did become really good at cleaning cars)
Then I watched Hero Turtles and wanted to take up [censored], even though the BBC had very cleverly managed to replace [censored] from all the cartoons so no one - apart from every single child in the country - knew that it was supposed to be...oh hell, it's ninja! There, I said it! The secret is out! Say it with me: NINJITSU!
Anyway, there are 'issues' with nunchaku in this country so I gave up on that dream too. If the guy who lived across from me at uni is anything to go by, these 'issues' stem from hitting yourself over the head with them.
My sister was a lot better than me. She stuck with karate and is now a black belt. So if anyone messes with me, I'll set my little sister on you!
(I have done a bit of Muay Thai in my time, however. The mention of 'Bob' is enough to frighten anyone with even a little common sense. Some idiots tried to mug him once. Bet they had a bit of a shock. Heh heh heh...)
But this is getting off the point.
I have touched briefly upon the 'uproar' in the media that came with the launch of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers and its 'violence' (presumably they'd forgotten about the horrors that occur in most fairy tales). I'm not at all convinced that violence in children's television makes them any more violent than they would be anyway, but I do think that it encourages children to take up martial arts.
This is good.
As well as the self-defence aspects, there is a huge importance in martial arts on discipline. You will have large muscley people shouting at you if you attempt to do martial arts outside the dojo (/whatever the training place is called for the specific martial art you're doing) - unless you're getting beaten into a bloody pulp. This discipline & training then carries across into other areas, such as other sports and into schoolwork.
So while I was reading through all the promo material for Power Rangers I was interested to learn about the 'Empower' program which promotes the values of the Power Rangers. ThunderCats had truth, honour, justice and loyalty and the Power Rangers have...
Teamwork and Cooperation: Power Rangers always work as a team. By working together and looking out for one another, they overcome challenges, succeed in their missions, and solve important problems.(Yes, I did just c&p that from the press release.)
Confidence: Every Power Ranger succeeds because they believe in themselves and their friends! Confidence gives them the personal strength to face every new difficulty.
Health and Physical Fitness: The physical action in the Power Rangers inspires kids to get up and move around. Imitating Power Ranger poses and moves promotes early patterns of exercise.
Caring and Friendship: They may be a team of fighting superheroes out to promote fairness and save the world, but the Power Rangers also are a close-knit group of teenage pals. Even though they’re all different, they accept each other’s individuality, and are always around to help a Power Ranger in need.
In these days of scary numbers of obese children, Power Rangers could well be one of the key elements that motivates kids to get out of their armchairs and into the dojo. Are they going to start exercising because their parents tell them that in 20 years time they're going to have health problems? Or are they going to do it because that's what the cool guys on TV do?
The new series,Power Rangers Samurai, is currently on Nickelodeon from Saturdays to Wednesdays at 3pm, with repeats at 4pm.