Now it could be Kung Fu Lessons, or Karate Instruction, or Kenpo online, or any number of beasts, but it is all the same. It could be the backs of comic books or late night infomercials, but you know what I mean. You can have the power to destroy eight skinhead neo-nazis with a single secret technique that has never been seen before!
Now, the weird thing is, some of these things you see on the web actually have worth. Some of them are the product of dedicated martial arts senseis. The sad truth, however, it is still a ‘buyer beware’ game out there.
The plot line for these magic courses is usually the same. First build some common ground with the reader. Since everybody grew up and has been picked on, telling the crowd that you used to be picked on by bullies, or telling a story of bullies, is a pretty good method.
Now that you’ve inserted the idea of being picked on in the rube’s mind, the second step is to help him solve this problem. You’ve got to convince him that if he studies your method or purchases your gimmick he will be capable of fighting back. This magic formula, if you think about it, is at the heart of every kung fu movie, from Shaw Brothers to the Karate Kid, ever made.
Now, except for the taking his money part, you’ve basically got it figured out. It is all that simple. Sell him a problem, give him the solution, take his money. Or, if you want to get egghead, suspend his belief, lead him to a fantasy, take his money.
Now, let’s be honest, some products actually have some great worth, and some should be avoided like smelly, day old toilet seat covers, and the way to figure out the difference is easy. If the pitch follows a certain predictable line, you might want to avoid it. A guy who follows an exact script has done his homework, and he is trying to build his bankroll on your back.
The better choice is the guy who doesn’t follow a script, but who actually has something to say. It is not a script you are hearing, but a voice that has substance and belief. It is a guy who believes in what he is doing, and is selling out of love for what he does.
This is not to say that there isn’t some gold in some of the Snake Oil Kung Fu Lessons, of Karate Instruction, or Kenpo Online, or whatever. Be it prison fighting or ghetto blasting, or secret spetznatz techniques taught in secret by an ancient Mayan nun…there could very well be some juicy stuff, or even a new way of looking at things. Sometimes, you know, Snake Oil really can work!