Basically every hobby I have is either problematic in nature, or quickly becomes problematic because of the way I do it. Take memes: I can’t just enjoy them and move on; I have to dig into them. I have to research them. I have to hunt them to the ends of the earth until I finally corner them, having already taken everything away from them, leaving them only animal desperation. That moment — when a once civil thing becomes feral? When you can see intelligence die in their eyes, to be replaced by fear and fury? That’s what gets me off, but with memes. Do y’all know The Most Dangerous Game? I’m going to Most Dangerous Game this meme. Here’s the Karate Rap, a third tier viral video that did around a million views back in 2012.
We open on Sensei Dave, who’s got kind of a sexy stepdad in a sitcom thing going on. There’s definitely a Patrick Duffy That Fucks vibe. Let’s call him Patrick Muffy, and move on.
He looks at the camera and the first words out of his mouth are “keep training, you’ll get it!”
Then the camera spins around to show him talking to a sleepy ten year old who came here to learn how to Crane Kick bullies, but his parents paid for a whole month so they won’t let him quit now that he knows real karate class is just Sensei Dave hitting on moms. Yes, somehow this video actually has the balls to take place in a strip mall karate dojo full of 9 year olds with anger issues, making it the most realistic depiction of karate ever put to film.
Sensei Dave really goes through the rolodex of ‘80s karate shit. He meditates and then glows with energy as he ascends to another plane where karate is relevant:
And he throws mild punches to the camera in between extreme zooms on his kiai face.
It’s right about now when Sensei Dave starts rapping, a term I use generously. The chorus — “Ichi, ni, san, shi, come on everybody train karate! Karate: train your body!” — will stick with you until the day you die. But Sensei Dave’s flow is somewhere between Debbie Harry and grandma making fun of your music after too much wine.
Next we meet Karate Girl.
I’m not being sexist. She is.
That’s how she introduces herself:
I’ve trained karate around the world
I’m known all over as Karate Girl
I’m witty, I’m pretty, got the female smarts
So listen to our rap about the martial arts
I’m not going to touch ‘female smarts,’ and I’m also not going to touch Karate Girl, since she’s sultrily lounging around on the foot-sweaty mats like she only gateway’ed on choking and now nothing less than a full shoulder throw gets her going:
The video really does seem to think karate is sexy, a logical fallacy nobody has made since Van Damme. Here, enjoy Karate Girls bending over in their formless white gis to show what might be formless white asses.
Then Sensei Dave brings in his mistress to show them how it’s all done.
As is the way with all karate instructors, the child’s dojo soon gives way to grander delusions. Now Sensei Dave and Karate Girl dress up in Meat Loaf’s bathrobes to rap with a backup band whose every member is competing to be the first asked to leave the costume party for poor taste.
They go full ‘80s as hard as they can and in every direction. They shift transparent over a nighttime cityscape like they’re in the credits of a sexy detective show:
Sensei Dave channels that Top Gun energy to break boards with the band and high five, while Karate Girl only catches part of the message and kicks the bass player in the gut.
They even slip in a few quick seconds of that most ‘80s musical moment: The flirtatious conversational duet.
Sensei Dave: “I’m a black belt!”
Karate Girl: “Makes my heart melt.”
Again, nobody has been this turned on by a white guy doing martial arts since Jean Claude Van Damme got to star with himself in Double Impact.
You know what’s especially crazy about this? They actually had some kind of budget. When Sensei Dave fails to rhyme “I train in my car” with “I’m a nin-ja!” we cut to…
Those were cutting edge effects back in the day!
Here Karate Girl briefly changes her name to Samurette – the only martial-arts themed self-burn more dismissive than Karate Girl — just for this sweet sword slice cut.
That’s actually what worried me about this video. The budget was too high for something of this caliber. It was filmed too well. And there were moments like…
That black belt over the excessively tiny towel? It feels too self-aware. I get that they intend a bit of silliness here, but that feels like the moment in a parody where you stop laughing because they’ve taken it too far. And this is before Karate Dog, with his Karate Bone:
This is the internet. You know the rules: We’re not allowed to laugh at somebody if they want to be laughed at. For this to be truly funny, they had to have meant this video in earnest. At least a little bit.
And so the hunt begins.
Jump down to the YouTube comments and you’ll find multiple people claiming to be in this thing:
But the concept of internet points combined with anonymity have turned every commenter into that kid who told everybody he was the basis for Boy Meets World. We all have Canadian Girlfriends now.
Still, this is a positive start. Next we find out if Karate Rap has an IMDB page. That’s not a high honor — I have an IMDB page and fans regularly message me on Twitter to tell me they loved me when I was Robert Evans.
But it does help legitimize the date: Karate Rap was made in 1986 – well before we invented irony!
More importantly, Sensei Dave has his own page! His name is David Seeger, and he went on to direct music videos for the Mickey Mouse Club and daytime soaps. So he actually specializes in making short films so shoddy they leave you questioning their legitimacy:
Now we’ve got a name. This is the part in the hunt where I kneel down to touch some spoor and crumble it between my fingers, looking to the horizon and whispering “he’s near.”
You hear me, Sensei Dave? I have fondled your spoor!
On one of his pages, Sensei Dave posts a little explanation of the Karate Rap, which is thus: His kids found out about their parents’ embarrassing past and wanted to post it on YouTube for Canadian Girlfriend Points.
Another page clarifies their intent in making Karate Rap: Yes, they were serious. They meant it as a demo reel to kickstart a career in music videos. And it worked! Sort of! Disney saw it and thought “these people look like they work cheap” and that happens to be the exact and only requirements for working on a Disney live-action show.
Please note I have switched to “they.” Because now we have learned that Karate Girl was actually Sensei Dave’s wife, Holly Whitstock Seeger.
Please also note the repetition of the hilariously false claim that MTV wouldn’t touch rap in 1986 (they’d been playing it since 1984), with the twin implications being: That’s the real reason MTV wouldn’t play Karate Rap even after the Seegers’ many desperate submissions, and also that the Seegers were actually pioneers in rap and it might not even be a thing without their important work.
Sensei Dave was serious about his karate, too. If you hadn’t already guessed that from lyrics like “I’ve walked the streets, I have no fear — I always know my karate is near!”
In Karate Rap, he variously claimed to be a ninja, a shogun, and a samurai, but he is actually a 9th degree black belt, which qualifies him for one free pretzel (with purchase of child-sized drink) at any Wetzel’s Pretzels in the greater Davenport area. He’s rocking that mall ninja lifestyle to this very day with his fanny pack full of shurikens and, presumably, hard candy snacks for the grandkids.
He’s also a Knight of Malta! Somebody please just introduce Sensei Dave to Dungeons & Dragons; it is a much cheaper way to get people to call you cool pretend titles.
David Seeger also started Samurai Studios Inc., which has apparently pivoted from making ‘80s videos that look like 2000s videos making fun of ‘80s videos, to making 2000s websites that look like they’re making fun of ‘90s websites.
Wait, holy shit – Sensei Dave actually inherited the legacy of making “media that’s hilarious because somebody tried” from his father, Hal Seeger, who you might know from one of several cartoons you definitely don’t know:
A legacy which Karate Girl is tragically optimistic about!
This is an entire family based around the rapid-fire production of D-list media to be made fun of by internet comedians. Seriously, every single one of his siblings also pursued careers like “frequent extra on CSI shows” and “staff writer for sitcoms that last four episodes.”
This is too much. I’ve gone too far. You stopped rooting for me six paragraphs ago. I’m not even the anti-hero anymore. I’m just the bad guy. And now I’m hunting this poor meme into its den. I’m coming after its children.
That’s not a metaphor.
There’s a small, almost shy little subheading hidden in the About section of one of their production studio pages. It’s called ‘It’s a Family Affair.’ Sensei Dave and Karate Girl have many children. And those children have also gone into making media you laugh at for the wrong reasons.
That is three generations of an entire family dedicating their lives to making stuff for us to make fun of! Each new baby, with their first breath, inherits a storied legacy of crap! They’ve been churning out pop culture corn syrup since the 1930s — nearly 100 years of Hot Dog material!
I may be the only person in nine decades to say this: Thank you, Seeger family. I am a fan of your work!