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#107018 - 01/05/05 11:09 AM If you think you know Karate History...

This post really should go in the MA books section, but who looks at that???

I recently obtained a book called Shotokan's Secret, The hidden truth behind Karate's fighting origins, by Bruce D Clayton. Don't let the name put you off, it is not about Secret death touch fireball techniques, but the name does make sense when you get into the subject matter.

This is everything a Karate Book should be. It actually has new information and ideas, something I'd given up on finding in a Karate book years ago.

Most importantly this book fills in the gaps by linking all the hinted scraps of info together. For example most photo's and written accounts of the great okinawan masters mention they were friends and that they shared information, Funakoshi even states that he was sent off to train with various masters across the island. However talk to the students of the various ryu and most everybody will be pointing out how wrong the other styles are in their technique and execution.

This book blows many such myths out of the water and presents an interesting theory as to the true nature of Shuri-te Karate. The really controversial point is that the book points to Shotokan and Shito ryu as the most authentic Shuri-te/Shorin ryu styles around.

Yeah I knew you guys would love that! [IMG][/IMG]

The basic premis is that all the great shuri-te masters, the students of Matsumura all worked together and lived in very close proximity. The art Matsumura taught them was a bodygaurds art, for fast destruction of an enemy (allowing you to face many) in order to protect someone else. This involved removing most of the grappling, night fighting (imagine being attacked on a country road with no street lights) and ground work techniques that wer present in the southern kung fu styles that were Karates origin.

Whatever you feel about Shotokan, buy and read this book. It is well written and a very interesting read. All the little tid-bits of Karate history come together very neatly in this work and the picture Dr Clayton paints of Old Okinawa ad it's Karateka is a fascinating one.

#107019 - 01/05/05 12:44 PM Re: If you think you know Karate History...
medulanet Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 09/03/03
Posts: 2142
Loc: Phoenix, Arizona USA
That is interesting, I may actually buy the book. However, is it that most grappling was removed, or that there is only just enough to immobilize and put an enemy down, which is all there ever should be unless you are "playing" with rules. What if an enemy gets past you and is about to attack the one you are protecting? Shouldn't you know how to grapple to stop them. Sometimes a grab can stop movement better than a strike. It will, however, be very interesting to see if it suggests any "new" information, because most of what is known about old style karate is already known.

#107020 - 01/05/05 01:12 PM Re: If you think you know Karate History...

I would definately recomend it Medula. The context as to why grappling was removed was quite convincingly put forward. The okinawan King was under greater threat from invasion forces than single assasins, multiple opponents are a greater concern. However while advanced grappling was removed, hikite and grappling basics are still present. In the situation you described you dont need to grapple as such and besides no karateka is a robot, just because you dont grab in the kata dosnt mean you wouldnt if the situation warrants it.

The books strengths lie more in the combination and interpretation of old info than discovering new info. Anyway, read the book it explains it better than I ever could.

As an aside do u know anything about a style/school calles Sho Bu Kan?

#107021 - 01/05/05 02:56 PM Re: If you think you know Karate History...

I bought this book some months ago. It is a very good book that throws up some very interesting theories. Highly reccommended.

#107022 - 01/10/05 09:46 AM Re: If you think you know Karate History...
chinto01 Offline

Registered: 03/03/04
Posts: 102
This book is great. My wife bought it for me for Chistmas on the recommendation of one of my Sensei. It brings up many thought provoking points and truly does add some pieces that were missing to the puzzle.


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