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#180503 - 08/24/05 03:25 PM Re: Nunchaku Kata???? [Re: kenposan]
Victor Smith Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 06/01/00
Posts: 3220
Loc: Derry, NH
Why aren't there any "traditional" nunchaku kata? Why was it trained in differently than, say, bo, sai, tunfa?

With only logic to guide us, I would say it was never a major field of study. Because of Taira's efforts, where many, many different weapons training sources were pulled together, and he enhanced them with his own kata too, it looks like all of the weapons training consisted of kata.

Actually except for a few family traditions, before 1900, most kobudo seems to have been very much small local, individualized practices. Perhaps with only one weapon.

If for the nunchaku one could swing it effectively and knew a few other things it could be used for, it was likely enough for anyone, because they really were not in a high weapons usage environment.

I don't see nunchaku as a primary weapons system, but more a back up weapon, such as the Bando short stick I practice. An emergency weapon for surprise.

But Taira, and other more modern researchers, saw a value in combining weapons and kata practice, and something new was created. The original kobudo kata (pre Bruce Lee) were not more than effective basics, probably on the older principles.

Then again after all does one need more.

And depending on the traditions, some weapons practice didn't work on basics, just some kata practice.

So many unanswered questions,
_________________________
victor smith bushi no te isshinryu offering free instruction for 30 years

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#180504 - 08/24/05 08:48 PM Re: Nunchaku Kata???? [Re: Victor Smith]
BuDoc Offline
The doctor will see you now

Registered: 05/03/05
Posts: 1067
Loc: USA and Abroad
Thanks Victor. Every time you post, I receive a valuble lesson. Sometimes it's technique. Sometimes it's philosophy or history. In any case it is always valuable.

bd: Quit worrying about getting ahead or looking cool. With a lifetime to train you will have plenty of time for the former and little need for the latter.

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Medical Advisor for the Somolian National Sumo Team

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#180505 - 08/25/05 09:55 AM Re: Nunchaku Kata???? [Re: Victor Smith]
glad2bhere Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 08/11/00
Posts: 663
Loc: Lindenhurst, Illinois USA
Dear Victor:

Has anyone done a survey of forms/hyung/kata to assess how much the use of kata is a function of civiliam arts versus martial arts? There is some bit in the back of my mind that wonders if the use of kata is more of a tool for people who might not have benefit of regular military training (as it were) and would have to rely on more variant and infrequent training over the generations. In my own research it seems as though the closer one gets to a military souce the less forms are used. On the other hand, the more one moves towards civilian practice with, say, family arts, village teachers, and commercial schools the greater the frequency of forms. By extension, since nunchukas are argeably more of a civilian weapon one would expect a great reliance on kata for teaching. Thoughts? Comments?

Best Wishes,

Bruce

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#180506 - 08/25/05 01:44 PM Re: Nunchaku Kata???? [Re: glad2bhere]
Victor Smith Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 06/01/00
Posts: 3220
Loc: Derry, NH
Hi Bruce,

Some thoughts. I do not equate the use of kata with a focus on martial (military) training.

On the whole the pace at which a karate system develops a students potential, it is too slow for military needs, where most individuals in the military received very specific training for certain types of missions.

As the first goal in the military is to get people on line ASAP, kata would not be useful. As troops seem to be trained mission specific, a faster focus of training is called for.

And in contemporary military training, what we think of as the martial arts, are most often subsidiary training and as a personal choice. In such cases long term development is useful over a longer career, and the subsidiary values are likely more important than the primary values. Such as a sniper training in the MA to develop stronger confidence, than the Sniper’s need for hand to hand expertise, for if they get hand to hand their mission really has been compromised beyond belief.

On the other hand I don’t personally accept that arts such as karate were really developed for civilian self defense. We only have oral history to support this, and there does not seem to have been a need for the citizenry to do so. Of course people with karate training became officials and police, so there is a secondary case. But the civilians, when have they resorted for karate, except in antidotal evidence.

While karate in the last century was added to some of the secondary schools, it seems likely this was for pre-military training in following orders and overall physical development than for self defense.The events in the mid century did really not leave personal self defense as practical, against the armies, the bombs and all the rest.

I think karate developed because 1) some had an individual interest in paralleling Chinese systems of martial study, 2)Perhaps the Okinawan’s were interested in developing a similar system of creating officials where martial competence would be part of the testing, 3) Some were looking for something interesting to do. Outside of keeping on developing reasons, none of which constitute any proof to the fact.

All we can say is it did develop, and various individuals wrapped different reasons about its presence, with no subsequent ‘proof’.

While karate developed with some parallel to the Chinese systems (and their much more complex forms work), the Okinawan kobudo traditions were far more private. Some used forms, and others likely just consisted of techniques (till the modern era).

So the nunchuk was just there, and could be swung, etc. That didn’t mean anyone on any regular basis ever split their neighbor’s head open. So they may have just been what they were, nothing special, just a different sort of stick. Only in contemporary times have other approaches been developed from what I’ve seen.
_________________________
victor smith bushi no te isshinryu offering free instruction for 30 years

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#180507 - 08/25/05 01:53 PM Re: Nunchaku Kata???? [Re: BuDoc]
b_d_41501 Offline
Member

Registered: 07/05/05
Posts: 67
Loc: US
Thanks for the enlightening statement, BuDoc. To get back on topic instead of turning this into a philosophy thread, does anyone know of ANY websites whatsoever in which I can learn anything at all about nunchaku techniques?

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#180508 - 08/25/05 06:23 PM Re: Nunchaku Kata???? [Re: b_d_41501]
glad2bhere Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 08/11/00
Posts: 663
Loc: Lindenhurst, Illinois USA
B-D:

Do you have something against buying and using books? You can get just about any title--- cheap--- through AMAZON.COM and HALF.COM. If you had the book you could make notes, tear out pages and put them in a binder--- whatever. Is there an issue here that I am missing?

Best Wishes,

Bruce

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#180509 - 08/25/05 06:32 PM Re: Nunchaku Kata???? [Re: Victor Smith]
glad2bhere Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 08/11/00
Posts: 663
Loc: Lindenhurst, Illinois USA
Dear Victor:

Thanks for your thoughts. I really value your opinion. Having said that, though, I have to tell you that I think I am a bit more confused about where you put kata in relationship to martial vs civilian arts. What I thought I heard you say was that though some civilians might move on to assume a military or paramilitary position, the development of the arts themselves (such as Karate) were probably more civilian. If I heard this right, I think I am understanding that because military training would be more mission-specific, the use of general kata would be more trouble than they might be worth. Right so far?

If I am on track I would conclude that you agree that kata are more of a civilian training/education tool. And if THAT is true, would our Thread Originator actually be doing himself a disservice by learning a kata since a kata would actually be intended for teaching/learning and would be LEAST applicable for demos. Thoughts?

BTW: This is why I thought our friend would benefit most from just mimicing Tournament demos rather than try to make something out of a serious learning device. Comments?

Best Wishes,

Bruce

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#180510 - 08/25/05 08:04 PM Re: Nunchaku Kata???? [Re: glad2bhere]
Victor Smith Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 06/01/00
Posts: 3220
Loc: Derry, NH
Bruce,

First Okinawa had no military tradition with karate. In the 1500's their militia lasted 15 hours against the landing Japanese and then the Okinawan military was over.

Of course there were minor officials like the kings guards, or police but there was no tradition of training them in karate. The closest I've seen was occasionally somebody with karate training would become a police officer, and perhaps because of that training.

But Okinawa 100 years ago has police records which didn't show a violent society. So a real need (excepet for wild kids and drunks) was hardly there. Wheh the Japanese volunteered Okinawan's in the defense of Okinwaw during the American invasion they didn't train them in karate, and whatever they did train them in was inneffective against the bombs, the cannons and modern military might, more the saddness for we destroyed an entire Generation of martial seniors.

Look at militaries, real militaries, they're mostly geared to large unit operations. If you look at Tom Cruises movie 'The Last Samauri',while fiction, as generally correct about the military campaigns being used in Japan, around the same time that Karate was being solidified on Okinwawa, who in their right mind would believe Okinawan Karate and/or Kobudo had any place against either sort of military large unit action.

Those in the military who are all round specialists are alwlays few. Perhaps they might benefit from long term karate, but not the military.

I personally believe that the desire to imitate the largest oriental society, China, and it's use of MA testing as a qualification for gentleman and govenment service had somethign to do with karate being developed.

Karate did not develop for the 'people', mostly for the very very few and eliete. The common persons were not included, even in the 1900's as the common persons children could not afford to go to the schools, that was the province of the upper classes.

I find it unusual wrap karate into a civilan defense tradition when it wasn't offered for training (till the mid 1920's or so) more openly.

Long ago I heard rumblings that specific chinese traditions were 'crafted' into the developed karate tradition, with the plan that certain Okinawan's could participiate in a theater wide attack on the Japanese interests. In other words as an attack art (read strike from behind) where many karate traditions would work just great. But there is no documentation that I've ever seen to support that theory, just hot air. There is a logic, the tradition was trasmitted to Okinwaw, to be taught in secret, for the day of the uprising. Then joe average could strike suddenly. Nice story isn't it, but just a story. Still one that makes sense why there were so many older 'secret' traditions behind karate's transmission.

I simply accept there was some undocumented reason why the art developed, and on the whole it's transmission in the past 100 years focused on trying to keep it straight, except where changes were felt were necessary, then everyone changed anything as they wished. For there were no real rules.

I think kata became what it did because that was what was originally transmitted or copied from China (even though in vastly differnet form), and the Okinwawn's just made it a tradition.

Kata has vast value, but it takes a long, long time to get it. There is no free lunch. For quick training, different answers are always more logical. But I only do karate, and don't worry about the others.

Now for somebody today who has a burr under their saddle tha t they have to have nunchaku. The only logical course is find an instructor, enter whatever training they provide and wait till the time is right for the instructor to choose nunchaku for you.

Thought I know there are 'mcdojo' type clubs that will teach anyone anything (I've seen enough of that).

As for needing nunchaku, wake up. Almost everywhere they are ILLEGAL to carry and use. So they make absolutely no sense for self defense, a SD tradition that can land you in jail is worthless.

If it's to look cool, good luck. I don't do that. I don't suggest books, video tapes or .mpg files will give anything. They might provide some value to somebody actually training in the art but that's it.

Personally for Nunchaku, while I know how to use them, have studied a kata, I dropped all of it decade(s) !! ago. Because I found no real value in it. If need be i can use them. All the rest irrelevant for my own training and teaching needs.
_________________________
victor smith bushi no te isshinryu offering free instruction for 30 years

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#180511 - 08/25/05 09:57 PM Re: Nunchaku Kata???? [Re: Victor Smith]
Kintama Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 04/17/05
Posts: 2724
Loc: Massachusetts
Victor, you covered so many grounds in that post, I can only answer cronologically...interesting theory about okinawa, but I suspect karate practice goes even deeper, or I could be just caught up in some of the hoopla that has gone on for a century. I'm still looking into that, progress is slow. but if karate was reserved for upper-class, how do you explain the formation of naha-te? was it simply money that gave dock workers interest in learning the art enough to stowaway on a ship to China to seek additional training? The theory of China being a lure for prestige, I can buy into, but not the theory that only nobles pursued this prestige.

as far as weapons training, I'm not into Karate for tradition sake - therefore I don't feel the need to learn weapons...the only serious weapons class I have attended was instructed by the US Army. Nunchaku and other weapons which I'll never have available in a SD situation, have only peripheral relavance to my art so far. however, if I had an instructor that can show me otherwise, my mind is a sponge. for instance, nunchaku is not interesting to me, but if my instructor was Bruce Lee or Fumio Demura, I might spark an interest and see it's relavence in my empty handed studies.

on topic for the impatience complainers of where this thread is being taken: buy a video on amazon, or e-bay if you want to save a buck. or better yet, it's the fad nowadays to create your own kata...

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#180512 - 08/26/05 05:51 AM Re: Nunchaku Kata???? [Re: Kintama]
Victor Smith Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 06/01/00
Posts: 3220
Loc: Derry, NH
Kintama,

From what I've read, the karate tradition pre 1900 was an extremely small gorup. It wasn't that people didn't know they practiced, but there was no general admittance.

I'm willing to accept almost any form of 'proof' outside of just oral tradition to support otherwise, but to date I haven't seen anything that seriously contradicts that.

As for Naha tradition, I'm assuming you're referring to Hiagonnna K. He had previous karate training on Okinawa, and yes he and several others did move to China for training. But it was Miyagi that made his tradition public, in the 1920's onward so to speak. Which takes us into the modern era.

Not trying to start any argument over this, just explaining what I've read and accumulated.

As for weapons training, it has been an integral part of advanced Isshinryu instruction since the 1960's. On the whole I find a large subsidiary value in strength and grip development that comes from weapons training, a development that strengthens the layers of karate execution potential.

The Chinese systems which have very large weapons training components, really are using those traditions for their subsidiary values too (IMO).

Don't need Kobudo for good Karate, but I can make a case that good Kobudo can help move good Karate a step forward when one advances into advanceed kata application study.

But thats one of my personal mantra's, and almost all of the greeat karate-ka I've trained with in many systems, have good kobudo skills too.
_________________________
victor smith bushi no te isshinryu offering free instruction for 30 years

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