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#141143 - 05/11/05 10:23 AM Re: Is sport degrading karate? [Re: Camilo_kun]
Kintama Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 04/17/05
Posts: 2724
Loc: Massachusetts
Let's look at the contributions where they are due.

Okinawans (pre ~1900)
Toudi/Tode comes from a mixture of empty handed Chinese fighting arts('Tang','Tou',or 'To'), brought to Okinawa by political envoys, merchants and sailors from Fujian Province, with indigenous Okinawan martial arts('Te').

Japan (post ~1900)
Using the Okinawan fighting techniques of Toude as a base...
* Organised, systemized and catorgorized practice into it's three major parts: kata, kihon, and kumite.
* Added the 'Budo' notion. (and all the rituals and values thereof).
* Greatly influenced the decision to rename Toudi to Karate, in a time of rising nationalism.

Post WWII - Branching out simultaneously in many directions from Okinawa and Japan... Karate is further influenced by Hawaii,America and the World, in a myriad of interpretations under the 'Karate' distinction of Martial Arts.

Which is the 'real' Karate?
Does it depend on which elements are 'real' for you?

Personally, I strive to study Okinawan Toudi thru the guidance of Japanese Budo art pricipals. I'm a far cry from actually being able to doing this, but thats my intent and journey.

#141144 - 05/11/05 12:08 PM Re: Is sport degrading karate? [Re: Kintama]
cxt Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 09/11/03
Posts: 5844
Loc: USA

Overall, yes sport is degrading karate.

(I read "sport" as open tournament competition BTW)

But such things are NOT limited to karate.

The UFC does weight classes now, plus the list of "illegal" techniques gets longer every year.
It may take years, but sooner or later even the UFC will not be the event that it was.

As far as karate goes, the problem with sport is the same thing that its always been--in order to have tounaments you have to have rules, the rules have to be the same for everyone--which means all fighters HAVE to use pretty much the same set of techniques and tactics--which creates a "sport" style of karate. Where pretty much everyone fights the same and uses the same sdet of techniques.

The other problem is also an old one--people wish to "win" so the folks that want to win the most spend most of the time training and working tournament techniques.

Sure there are advantages, but overall I think the "sport" approach hurts more than it helps.

Just my 2 cents
I did battle with ignorance today.......and ignorance won. Huey.

#141145 - 05/11/05 02:22 PM Re: Is sport degrading karate? [Re: cxt]
AgenT Offline

Registered: 10/11/04
Posts: 314
Thats a good point, give it a couple of years and everyone will want to take ufc off the air.

#141146 - 05/11/05 02:45 PM Re: Is sport degrading karate? [Re: butterfly]
Hedgehogey Offline

Registered: 12/23/04
Posts: 274


Normally I would agree with you, however one has to then decide what is sport karate. I am not talking about point tournaments only here. Harder competitions would be the Kyokushin tournaments...

That's kinda what I was trying to steer this conversation towards. Oyama had the right idea, but he didn't go far enough with his competition format. Kyokushin rules also forbid grabbing the gi for more than a second...Except that so many bunkai involve grabbing the wrist, gi, etc. and pulling it around.

You could go farther by equipping competitors with full face guard and allowing them to grab their partner's gi/wrist and strike the face, with concurrent rewards by the judges for good bunkai application. Hell, grabbing the wrist and pulling it around is perfectly functional and able to be used in competition, but many karateka consider it to be too mega face blasting and ultra joint exploding to ever actually use.

Of course, this might also result in people dancing on their toes, jabbing, etc, which would make it DUN DUNN DUNNN somewhat resemble muay thai, which would mean the death of the pure, nordic, karate ubermensch.

#141147 - 05/11/05 04:41 PM Re: Is sport degrading karate? [Re: cxt]
Camilo_kun Offline

Registered: 05/10/05
Posts: 19
Loc: Chile

The other problem is also an old one--people wish to "win" so the folks that want to win the most spend most of the time training and working tournament techniques.

Good point. For me, i hope winning to myself to evolve my karate, not to defeat another person in a championship or so.
I speak spanish, sorry my bad spelling :P

#141148 - 05/11/05 05:17 PM Re: Is sport degrading karate? [Re: Hedgehogey]
butterfly Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 08/25/04
Posts: 3012
Loc: Torrance, CA

You could do all these things for competition's sake and I don't know if it would help. There are benefits and detriments to various full contact/body protection scenarios. If you put gloves grabs. If you have head gear, you ruin your peripheral vision and change the impact zone of bare hand techniques by 1-2 inches (head gear + glove thickness). This also compromises blocking and parrying since the distance has been changed.

I have also sparred using some of the full face guards that other styles use and this makes your straight punches go to hell since the face plate is again a couple inches out from the face ruining the impact zone of the punch. Some people then start concentrating on hooks to the side of the head where the protection is a little bit thinner. Again, your choice of punch has been limited by the use of protective gear and therefore you focus on more accomodating techniques and take away from what might be more appropriate in a real situation.

I have sparred full contact with grabs, sans face punches with a Nipon Kempo stylist that was used to face gear and body armor. He couldn't take a leg kick and his "body stamina" was not up to par compared with some Kyokushin players I sparred with. Different rules with different allowances for protection, signal different techniques and varying levels of intensity to the contact. However, they are still games.

But I do agree, the greater the live resistance and the truer the contact, the more utility the practice has. But again, I recognize sparring as a type of practice and not the "real" thing.

Warmest regards,


#141149 - 05/12/05 04:38 AM Re: Is sport degrading karate? [Re: Hedgehogey]
Multiversed Offline

Registered: 03/11/03
Posts: 642
Loc: Sa, Tx. USA

You know, as an outsider to karate, I can safely say that the reason people think of karate as innefective is generally due to the LACK of sparring and hard contact sport.

I agree totally. If you're a karate-ka and can't kickbox (not point sparring) then something is the matter. After all kickboxing was started by several karate men, specifically Shorin Ryu stylists. That should be a minmum requirement at least up to Shodan, regular jiyu kumite using minuted rounds.

Beyond that you should understand basic wrestling (ti/tegumi/tuite) and throwing/unbalancing techs as well as the fundamental ukemi. Once you get to Shodan and have displayed some proficiency in all ranges and a mastery of the striking ranges then you can concentrate on more kata analysis, kobudo and the use of full-speed partner drills.

IMO, too much kickboxing at the BB level is actually detrimental to a healthy mind-body (read weapon), the self-preservation mindset and skills needed for SD training and using your waza like a karate man and not some pseudo boxer or kickboxer.

Don't think that there aren't karate people who can't use their MA in a practical manner.

#141150 - 05/13/05 03:38 AM Re: Is sport degrading karate? [Re: Multiversed]
Camilo_kun Offline

Registered: 05/10/05
Posts: 19
Loc: Chile
Here's a very good text that explains the difference between "normal" Karate and karate like a sport. It's a very beautiful metaphor.
The bad news is that is in spanish
Maybe tomorrow i'll try to translate it for you all.

ps: the text was written by Humberto Heyden Sensei.
I speak spanish, sorry my bad spelling :P

#141151 - 05/13/05 03:39 AM Re: Is sport degrading karate? [Re: Camilo_kun]
SANCHIN31 Offline
Former Moderator

Registered: 12/26/04
Posts: 3783
Loc: Arkansas, U.S.
Maybe tomorrow I can read it.
Skinny,Bald,and Handsome! Fightingarts Warrior of the year

#141152 - 05/15/05 09:54 PM Re: Is sport degrading karate? [Re: AgenT]
IsshinRyuBoy Offline

Registered: 05/15/05
Posts: 6
i dont enter in tournaments and my sensei teachs me more katas and self-defense and not so much friends of other styles, like shotokan, they enter in a lot of tournaments but they cant defend theirselves in a rlly street fighting and their punches are weak...if they like that way, what can i do...they like to use high and slow kicks while i prefer kicks on the knees and legs...

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