With the launch of Street Fighter 6, Secret Identity needed to address the rampant use of Evil Karate in video games and pop culture. What is Evil Karate? Simply put, it’s the malicious misuse of Martial Arts to wound your opponents purposefully critically. It really chaps my lips to see incredibly talented fighters warping the honorable practice of martial arts for ill intent. As a former cardio kickboxing student, I am personally offended by these characters and their extreme negligence.
Let’s examine some of the most deplorable practitioners of Evil Karate. Have anyone else that deserves to be on the list? Let us know who and their crimes against karate in the comments!
Kickboxer is one of Jean Claude Van Damme’s premiere split exhibition films of the 80s. In it, his character Kurt Sloane travels to Thailand to kick the shins of his mortal enemy, Tong Po. Po epitomizes the ideals of “Evil Martial Arts.” Tong Po uses the viciously effective art of Kickboxing to maim his opponents, not by accident but for the joy of kicking things to death.
The movie expertly displays Tong’s evil intent in an infamous scene where Po kicks a wall to death in preparation for fighting Kurt’s brother early in the film. Spoilers, Tong Po, kicks Eric into a wheelchair forever. Not since Sagat have I witnessed a more treacherous display of kicking than from the villainous Tong Po.
Vegeta rocketed himself through space toward Earth to punch, kick, and ki-blast a lovable buffoon named Goku. Why? To prove a point. Vegeta angled to show his dying race that he was the true king of the Saiyans, and was to be feared and respected. Vegeta is a master of Saiyan space karate, which seems inherently evil, as Saiyans are a violent, unforgiving race of space devils. In Prince Vegeta’s search for Karate Power TM, he’s thwarted at almost every turn by his eternal rival (and best friend) Goku.
The light-hearted Goku used his benevolent attitude and dimwitted dedication to sway Vegeta to the light. Sort of. However, that does not excuse Vegeta’s misuse of the sacred art of kick/punch for a good majority of his life.
No, I am not talking about the hit Netflix streaming series of the same name. I am talking about the OG 80’s stand-in for evil karate. Cobra Kai was the best of the worst, led by the nefarious Sensei Kreese. The cabal of karate manipulators utilize the mantra “Strike First. Strike Hard. No Mercy.” to justify their abhorrent corruption of the sacred art of strip mall karate. From illegal leg sweeps to unotherized group beatdowns, Cobra Kai were some bad karate dudes with 80s attitudes.
Thank almighty Naruto for Mr. Miyagi and his noble crusade against the venomous Cobras. He molded gangly-armed Daniel LaRusso into, arguably, the greatest karater ever. Name a stronger move that the Crane kick. I dare you.
No. Can. Defend.
Master of the Satsui no Hado, Akuma, is one of the most famous perpetrators of Evil Karate on this list. He’s so proficient in his karate malevolence he can influence the creation of Evil Ryu. To corrupt Ryu, the Mario of the Street Fighter world, is an unforgivable act and proof enough that Akuma belongs on this list. And I haven’t even mentioned the Raging Demon (LP, LP, forward, LK, HP), which decimates Akuma’s opponents with a flurry of evil strikes and grabs. The move culminates in a devastating display of power as this evil karate practitioner towers over the crumpled heap that once was an honorable fighter.
Bill is a special kind of bastard. He facilitates the corruption of martial arts for monetary gain. In Kill Bill, Bill sends his best assassins to learn kung fu from the eccentric Master Pai Mei. Armed with Pai Mei’s combat knowledge, Bill sent his snake-themed killers into the world with unbreakable Hatori Hanzo swords and tasked them with evil intent. Lucky for us, his greatest assassin, Beatrix Kiddo, clawed her way out of evil karate’s clutches. She expertly used Pei Mei’s heart-exploding death touch to end Bill’s evil reign and retore balance to the universe. Karma.
Hanzo Hasashi is a master of Hapkido. What happens when you send a master of Hapkido TO HELL? They return as Scorpion of Mortal Kombat fame. He’s a vengeful demon capable of throwing flaming death spears at their opponent’s necks. Scorpion may be a victim of circumstance or a malevolent hobgoblin determined to drag every opponent to hell with him. Hanzo turned Hapkido into Evil Hapkido, and there is no redemption for such a slight to this noble martial art. Not to mention his teleport is super cheesy and if you spam the slide attack you are a bad person. OK, I am done.
Team Evil (Shaolin Soccer)
Fútbol is the world’s sport. It’s beloved in (almost) every country and celebrated by the world every four years during the World Cup tournament. There is no more pure sport than Soccer. That makes Shaolin Soccer’s Team Evil’s corruption of the world’s game so egregious. Led by fiendish Coach Hung, Team Evil terrorizes our protagonists with Evil Kung Fu. The team is bolstered by performance-enhancing drugs, giving them superhuman strength and speed. Not only have they corrupted the ancient art of Shaolin Kung Fu, but also sullied the football game. Truly reprehensible.
This is Chong Li, one of JCVD’s greatest foes and the Big Chungus of Bloodsport. This kung fu expert used his superior combat knowledge to inflict pain and death on his opponents intentionally. He resorts to devious and dishonorable tactics to win when that doesn’t work. How could we forgive him for what he did to Ray Jackson during the Kumite? I know I can’t. Chong Li is one of those evil karate masters who gives a bad name to martial arts.
Can you think of any other perpetrators of Evil Karate? Let me know in the comments! Get your Evil Karate gear in our store and rep your dojo. Osu!