Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Was Obama's Tae Kwon Do Scrubbed From The Internet?

Let me begin by saying I am a very strong supporter of Senator Barack Obama's bid to become the next President of the United States. I certainly do not intend this post to be critical of his campaign, I merely find it a curiousity.
Here's the scoop: It appears Obama's campaign may have scrubbed his Tae Kwon Do training from the Internet.
Sometime last year I was reading a martial arts news website, and was suprised to see that Senator Obama was training in Tae Kwon Do. I have to say, it suits him well; he appears very atheletic and has the lean, tall build of a long-range kicker. The article I read included a brief interview with his instructor, who described him as "an average" student, but very dedicated to his training.
I took a mental note of the article at the time, thinking it would be good to revisit as the election year developed.
So both yesterday and today, I have searched Google for that article or any other article that describes Senator Obama's training, to no avail.
There was only one single reference to the subject, one line in this Washington Post gossip column, by Mary Ann Akers -who if I'm not mistaken also runs the political blog "Wonkette".
Akers states "Obama took Tae Kwon Do at the swanky East Bank Health Club in Chicago", and that "his campaign declined to comment on the Senator's Tae Kwon Do"...
I could not find another single reference, and even the link provided in Aker's article had been scrubbed.
Now this got me thinking; why the effort to conceal the fact that Obama, who is extremely popular and doing very well in the primary election process, is a martial artist?
One thing that may be a factor is that Obama went to school in Indonesia when he was around nine-years-old. The Republicans have siezed on this pre-teen era, and the fact that Obama's middle name is "Hussein", to promote vicious, false rumors that Obama is a Muslim. (Not that it matters what Obama's faith is, but he has gone to the same Christian church for nearly twenty years). Viral Republican e-mails are spreading this propaganda arcoss America at his very minute, and several Federal employees are being prosecuted for using government computers to help propagate this myth. Perhaps Obama's campaign thinks the martial artist thing can somehow be confused with the Indonesian Muslim falsehood.
Another thing that is possible is that it may be an effort to protect his Tae Kwon Do instructor or the school itself, which may choose to remain neutral in the Presidential campaign. Yet another possibility is that Obama's family may still be involved with the school, and it is for their protection.
As stated above, I am an Obama supporter, and would be proud to view him as a martial artist. Perhaps after this exceedingly lengthy election has played out, we'll hear more about it.

Coming up next: One Bad-Ass Kung-Fu Congressman...


Patrick Parker said...

ooh@! I like the theme that you're developing - presidential candidates and senators, etc... that are martial artists. I hope you do one on Teddy Roosevelt - can't wait for that one...

Hand2Hand said...

I like that theme, too. Here are some political notables whom I'm familiar with who've been in martial arts.

I'm no fan of his, but it's worth noting that Vladimir Putin is recognized both as a black belt and a former Soviet Master of Sport in Judo. Master of Sport was a title awarded by the Soviets for those who've achieved excellence in a sport.

Yes, Roosevelt held a brown or black belt in judo, depending on the source you read. One source I read was that his sensei was called back to Japan before Roosevelt got his black belt.

Roosevelt pissed off the Japanese by negotiating in Russia's favor during the peace talks for the Russo-Japanese War.

Jhoon Rhee has a long history of providing free tae kwon do instruction for members of Congress and their immediate families. He even likes to feature his congressional students in a demonstration every year in Washington, D.C.

I can't remember his name, but there was a president of Spain who was certified by the Japan Karate Association as a black belt.

Lastly, former Republican Colorado congressman, Ben Nighthorse Campbell, was on the first U.S. Olympic Judo Team in 1964.

For me, I used to be registered as a Democrat. For reasons too numerous to get into here, I got sick of their constant wussiness.

Personally, I believe the Democrats need to take their cues from the Ultimate Fighting Championship than from whatever they learned from their high school debate societies. They need to cultivate some fighting spirit.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again - if I were going into a shitty neighborhood after dark, I'd rather take one of my Republican friends. I need someone who'll throw down when things get rough, not try to see the other guy's point of view while we're being mugged.

Hand2Hand said...

I forgot one less-than-notable martial artist/politician. George Bush, Sr. was awarded an honorary black belt by Chuck Norris during his 1988 campaign.

I recall Norris caught some flack for giving honorary belts to people.

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