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“I’ll make you a master of Karate” – The Overselling of Martial Arts

Overselling and unrealistic expectations have been a frequent theme of advertising in the health and fitness industry, going as far back as the claims of bodybuilding courses from the 1960s-1980s, to the claims of the supplement industry in the 1990s & 2000s.

Hercules Muscles, Dyna-Method, 1992
Free Muscle Secrets, 1976

Not to be outdone by the courses offering secrets to incredible muscle gain, ads selling self-defense courses would go pretty hard too.

"I'll make you a master of Karate", 1972

The “I’ll make you a master of Karate” ad above, originally published in Sub-Mariner, Issue #59, 1973 promised to make the purchaser of the course a karate specialist within hours.

In just 2 hours after you receive SUPER KARATE you will be on your way to being an invincible Karate Master.

How could you resist paying 99 cents when you owed it to yourself?

You owe it to your own piece of mind – to your loved ones – to be able to defend yourself in these days when attack may come at any time from hoodlums, criminals and ‘wise guys.'”

Karate Power Video, 1992
Karate Self Defense Home Study Course, 1980
Kung-Fu, 1982
Self Defense, Kung-Fu, Karate, 1980
Destructive Power Punch, 1973

Check out the “Turn Your Hands into Explosive Defense Mechanism!” for another example of overselling martial arts.

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