You are here:

Karate/Copy write my own style/system


I have been in the martial arts my whole life, and I have worked ever so diligently on perfecting my own style and art. I have copy write on the katas, techniques. But what to do next, if people do not know of the art they will not support the style or the art. So how do I go about promoting my american style martial art, is art form one's own?


This is a little outside of my expertise, but I can offer a few suggestions.  I have copied a previous answer I gave regarding a similar question.  The text has been modified for and applies to your request.

One caveat before I offer my humble suggestions.  Although not impossible, it is very difficult to create a new style of martial art and gain recognition and respect in the martial community.  This is not an overnight process.  By nature, most experienced martial artists, no matter their respective backgrounds, are skeptical of anyone claiming to have founded a new system of martial arts.  Especially if you are not a senior citizen with a long list of martial arts history and experience!  But it can and has been done before by some talented young martial artists (remember Bruce Lee?).  If you have came up with a truly new or improved style, then I think it would be easier to first establish a school boasting a new or updated interpretation of an old style.  This would still meet much skepticism, but would be a little easier for most to accept.

In any case, here goes.  The first thing to do, to legalize your style, is copyright the name of the style or school.  In addition, if you haven't already done so, create and copyright an instructional syllabus outlining your system's grading/ranking requirements.  Make this as detailed as possible.  It may take some wrangling, but all this is doable, so don't be discouraged by the US Patent Office.  After all, it is very possible to copyright intellectual property, which is what you have at this point.

If you want to be taken seriously in the martial arts community, apply to a state, regional, national or internationally recognized martial arts association (preferably one that caters to your particular style of martial art, i.e.  karate, kung fu, kendo, etc.)  You may have to apply to several, but be sure they recognize school, association and/or style memberships, not just individual.  This will probably involve fees or dues, so be careful in your selection.  Make sure you pick a reputable association and stick with them.  After acceptance, you can be ranked (in your style, if possible) and use that as additional validation.

If you so choose, you could create your own state, regional, national or international association, but I recommend against this until you establish your reputation and build a solid following.

If you have a decent video camera, make a few how-to or introductory videos.  Then post free snippets of these on the Internet (think Youtube).  Link those to an address or website that you can sell your syllabus and/or videos.  Or give them away if you want.  Just be sure to follow my advice from paragraph three and make sure everything is copy written.

You could also write a book and seek publication, or if you savvy enough, self-publish.  If you're tech-savvy and can set up a site, you could also publish and sell an ebook or manual along with your videos.  Or you could give them away.  Your choice.

A lot of local newspapers are always looking for local-interest, promotional or feel-good  pieces.  For free.  See if you can get one to do a small article on you and/or your style.  Although, I will have to say that they might be more inclined to do an article if you are opening a new school or putting on a tournament.

Finally, as much as I dislike this idea, you should probably enter yourself and any students you might have in local, state, national and international tournaments and competitions.  This will put your name and style out there for evaluation by your peers (and superiors).  If your style does not do the tourney or competition thing, find some other positive way to make yourself known.

These are just my humble suggestions, so I don't guarantee that all or any of these will legalize/legitimize or otherwise promote your style/school in the manner you are asking.  However, these steps could help to legitimize your style/school and put you on the path to acceptance in the martial arts community.  It's going to take some work, but if you keep at it you can succeed!

Good luck in your quest!



All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Michael Cummings


I am available to answer your questions in regard to the history, philosophy, technique and practice of Okinawan and Japanese karate, jujutsu, kenjutsu and iaijutsu. I also have knowledge and experience in Okinawan kobujutsu and traditional Japanese. I also have a good foundation to answer general questions concerning various other Japanese, Okinawan, Korean and Chinese martial arts, including their traditions, history and philosophy.


I have a diverse background with over 30 years of study and practice in Japanese and Okinawan bujutsu (martial arts). I presently hold licenses/rankings in karate, iaijutsu, kenjutsu, jujutsu and Okinawan kobujutsu. I have also studied several Chinese systems, including Hung Gar tiger/crane and wing chun, and hold a black sash (shodan) in Song Shan Kempo. I have been fortunate to have studied and trained with a number of highly qualified and revered practitioners, sensei and sifu from several different martial traditions. I am also an amateur marital arts historian and student of hoplology.

Bachelor of Science in Psychology Black Sash Song Shan Kempo Chuden/Mokuroku (Karatejutsu/Jujutsu/Kobujutsu) Tengu-Sho-Oku (Kenjutsu/iaijutsu)

©2016 All rights reserved.