Ryan Lau | @agorisms | Satire
In a shocking new development in California Sunday afternoon, Governor Gavin Newsom signed a law that would ban martial artists from becoming black belts. The measure passed through state legislature easily after the murder of an innocent man at the hands of a karate black belt.
Three weeks ago, 35-year-old dojo owner Jason Shreve was walking home from work when a masked man attacked him with a knife. In defense, he disarmed and broke the leg of the man, who died that night from hypothermia. One state senator called the act “inexcusable”, pointing to a recent rise in attacks by martial artists and comparing it to gun violence.
“You simply don’t see this pattern in other developed countries”, asserted Toni Atkins, the state’s Senate President pro Tempore. “And in those countries, people aren’t allowed to just turn themselves into military-grade weapons. This measure will certainly help to keep citizens of California safe”.
Penalties for Black Belts
The bill, which goes into effect March 1st, makes it a felony to knowingly promote a karate student to the rank of black belt or higher. Existing black belts may keep their positions, but may not advance in degree. Dojo owners in violation of the law will face a minimum fine of $100,000 and up to three years in prison. Black belts caught seeking training will also face a smaller fine of $5,000 for the first offense.
Additionally, it outlines severe penalties for practicing self-defense techniques in the real world. Lower ranks may continue to practice only in registered dojos. Anyone learning or teaching martial arts beyond a state-recognized location may face up to a year’s imprisonment. Black belts doing the same may also be subject to treason charges. The bill makes it clear that the government provides security for its citizens; therefore, the only reason people would need to turn themselves into weapons is to use themselves against the state.
In efforts to pacify martial artists in the state, California will be voluntarily buying back all black belts from March 1st to June 1st. Compensation will vary depending on the age of the belt and what school it came from. However, lawmakers warn that any citizen hoping to pass off their normal black belt for a martial arts black belt will face stiff penalties.
America’s Martial Arts Problem
Proponents of the law have pointed out how easy it is to begin martial arts training in America. Brown has previously noted that “it’s easier to begin the road to a black belt than it is to get birth control. You can just walk into a dojo and sign a form; the next thing you know, they’re converting your body into a deadly weapon. This practice is not American and does not represent the values we preach in California. I hope other states can follow our lead and bring this country out of the dark”.
All in all, the state legislature echoed Brown’s sentiment. They believe that the new measure will help to deter violence. Despite this, minority rights groups believe that the new law will unfairly affect minority colors.
“The government is clearly banning black belts while allowing white belts to still train”, remarked minority rights activist from the group Black Belts Matter. “I thought that we had abandoned these policies 50 years ago, but it appears discrimination in America is still rampant”.
Currently, seven other states require all martial artists to register themselves with authorities as lethal weapons. This move is unique thus far to the Golden State. However, the United Kingdom recently passed a similar measure that strictly outlawed all martial arts in formal dojos.
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