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#206311 - 11/24/05 08:02 AM Re: Karate Katas. [Re: Victor Smith]
kyushoguy Offline

Registered: 12/28/03
Posts: 14
Loc: uk

The only constant that exists in karate history has been one of constant change. Each generation did their best to make their art strong.

And people being human always deride all change but their own. With humility I would point out that Funakoshi Ginchin ordered his students not to change kata, of course he had changed or watched over all of them being changed anyway.

Other note, it's more likely he was talking about beginners not advanced students.

As for the premise Japanese versions are less worthy, with good secret stuff missing, Balderdash!

Any one anyplace who makes such a claim knows absolutely nothing about kata. The Japanese versions are just different and as a result have differenet application potential. That's all.

That and of course many systems don't explore kata except as exercise. And that's ok too, different perceptions.

I spent 10 years training with a great Indonesian Shotokan stylist with incredible layers of application 'bunkai' in his art. Perhaps it's not the same as other Shotokan, but it works.

There are no short cut answers. Styles or kata versions are what anyone makes of them.

The rest is 'yak', deriding others and proclaiming oneself the only true arbriter of 'right'.



According to Nakayama, Funakoshis successor, Funakoshi did not teach bunkai.

It is debatable whether he knew them or not.

But on Okinawa he only taught school children.

Shotokan was a derivative of Itosus school boy karate.

Nakayama said he (Nakayama) was not interested in Bunkai till the Americans started to demand explanations for the Kata.

(They were where the money was.)

So he devised Applications based on his knowledge of Geometary?

The JKA guys did not know about bunkai or fighing, according to Nakayama in one of his last interviews.

JKA was and remains childrens no contact competition karate.

It is us Westerners that are reverse engineering to discover bunkai.

But as the rochac(sp) tests prove you can see anything in anything.

The rest is YAK


#206312 - 11/24/05 08:09 AM Re: Karate Katas. [Re: kyushoguy]
Mark Hill Offline

Registered: 08/12/04
Posts: 1068
Loc: Australia
I've devised applications from Shotokan kata which are quite effecitve against larger, resisting opponents.

By chance, some of these turned out to be some that Sensei Mc Carthy showed me later on.

What's wrong with this?

What is wrong with reverse engineering - say I learned the original form of Nepai and the bunkai as taught by Fujian Shaolin. Great!

If I study the body dynamics and apply martial theories and my own experiences, and make up more bunkai which is effective, is this wrong as well?

#206313 - 11/24/05 09:02 AM Re: Karate Katas. [Re: Mark Hill]
Victor Smith Offline
Professional Poster

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

I don't believe there is anything wrong with your creating your own answers.

Nor do I accept the closed minded opinions that anyones karate is useless, such as the falacy of school boy karate.

The problem with today's world is everyone want's instant gratification. Theres a lot of material that you can't really learn until you've trained in enough depth to be able to receive it. Just becasuse you personally want it doesn't mean you're capable of receiving it.

So lots wasn't presented until somebody could actually accomplish those skills. Of course I've actually trained people for decades and have some basis how human performance works behind my claims.

Karate has always been just karate, not some modern definition of what someone want's karate to be. It's use depends on what the instructors needs are, no more no less.

If people weren't presented with kata applications, it's likely they didn't need them. Only a technique snob really believes one answer is really better than the next. Technically any proficently delivered answer should be sufficent.

So if presented with an attacker, a lunge punch that is delivered with power and corect timing, isn't better than using the technique for an arm bar lock, nor is it better than using the technique to break their leg.

In that end they're all technique.

The larger issue of couse is plain envy of what others do and then spending a lifetime declaiming their existence instead of working on one's art.

We don't re-fit an art to discover its uses. We use the art as our needs dictate.

The only true art I learned from my instructor was never to let anyone, anywhere, anytime do your own thinking, including them. And that is the most important thing I try to share with my students, that even they must not let me do their own thinking.

Live your own path, love your art and use it as you need.

That's far more powerful than the continual attempts to re-write the reality of martial history to feed the current zeit geis of todays world.

victor smith bushi no te isshinryu offering free instruction for 30 years

#206314 - 11/24/05 09:15 AM Re: Karate Katas. [Re: Mark Hill]
Victor Smith Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 06/01/00
Posts: 3220
Loc: Derry, NH
Lo' again Mark,

Were advanced applications passed on?

In my art Isshinryu I was taught absolutely no applications from my first two instructors who trained on Okinawa 10 years apart.

So from my persepctive there are no applications for karate, as I was trained. When I suggested there were, one of my instructors took great umbrage with me being a young upstart.

I can see it from many sides. One school of people currrently training on Okinawa study that applications are not taught, but expressed as requrired when needed from kata study.

On the other hand one of the people who shared only a few hours of his life with me, the late Sherman Harrill, shared 800 applications in those few hours from the 8 Isshinryu kata, and that was only a small part of his art and work. And he trained with my original instructor and was taught no applications in 59-60. He got his inspiration from the 40 or so self defense techniques taught, separately, realizing they came from the kata, and then went to work over then next 45 years using them.

He always maintained the techniques were not what was important, rather the principles behind the techniques, principles that could be used anytime on any kata section. A simple example was what defined a kate technique. Many times he would completely use only a tiny piece of what was considered a kata technique, to its fullness.

On the other hand the 10 years I spent training with Tristan Sutrisno, his incredible bunkai to his Shotokan, did not follow todays's bunkai analysis approach. Instead in his fathers art (his father had studied in Japan in the 30's and trained under Funakoshi Sensei), kata were and are a mnemonic reference to thousands of wazza, really great techniques to disrupt an attacker. Any one of which is a complete defense, forever.

And in the end, the simplest basic, with full knowledge how to interrupt any attack with it is as advanced as the most subtle deriviative kata application.

I strongly believe that is why applications were often not stressed. Why spend time on such if you don't develop the ability to truly apply the basics correctly.

And that is often, IMVHO, a much greater task than most today want to address.

And if you really want to learn arts, I strongly recommend the entire range of Northern Chinese arts, Shaolin, Mantis, Eagle Claw, Crane, etc. Their challenges make all karate combined look like kindergarten.

O that I could be a child and start learning again.

victor smith bushi no te isshinryu offering free instruction for 30 years

#206315 - 11/24/05 10:30 AM Re: Karate Katas. [Re: Mark Hill]
Ironfoot Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 06/10/04
Posts: 2682
Loc: St. Clair Shores, MI USA

...If I study the body dynamics and apply martial theories and my own experiences, and make up more bunkai which is effective, is this wrong as well?

It's the most "right" thing you could do! Just before we made shodan 2 friends and I would challenge each other. Each Monday at class we had to come up with a new bunkai for the kata we were studying. I sincerely believe by the time we became yudansha we had more bunkai than our sensei.

If no new applications were "discovered", the art would just get weaker as some were lost.

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