TWO KINDS OF KARATE
"Okinawans recognize two kinds of karate. One is called budo karate and the other is called sport karate. I teach budo karate- this is the traditional karate of Okinawa. A large number of people, especially in the United States, teach and practice sport karate. People are attracted to sport karate and that is OK. That is for them, but it is not for me."
"I choose budo karate because it is a way of life. Sport karate is only good when you are young and people have to understand that sport karate is not the real karate of Okinawa. Budo karate can include a little bit of sport in it and that is OK- a little is OK, but those that practice only sport karate find a distaste for the budo aspect. There is also a danger in that many practitioners say they practice budo karate, but their training does not reflect that-they only think that they are practicing budo karate, and in some cases they even hope that they are practicing budo karate. They do not know because they may have never been exposed to it."
"Not everyone can or should practice budo karate. Budo karate is commitment and dedication. In this case, as a budo karate teacher, have to pick those that you can teach budo karate to. These individuals train hard and are mannerly in their ways. Budo karate is then a challenge to them- and they can and will accept this type of trainng."
" Nowadays people concentrate on sport karate too much. They throw punches and kicks without any focus and without any commitment. In the old days, karate focused on one punch and one kick. People have gotten away from this philosophy. I teach this, and I stree this philosophy. So now it is the only way I know, and through training in this fashion you find that it is also the best way."
"Sport karate is not for me or my students. We practice the budo style of karate. I am teaching my grandson budo karate. All he knows now is budo karate. I have taught him for two years the principles and methods of Sanchin. He is still working on it. Maybe one more year, then I will teach him the kata Sanchin. One time he saw others practicing the kata Sanchin and said that it was clear to him that they did not know what they were doing. When you have one, two, or three kata that are important- like Sanchin,Seisan,and Saseiryu- it is necessary that you research deeply these kata. Not just the surface knowledge, but the dep knowledge and understanding of budo karate kata. This is real karate kata knowledge."
"I teach my Grandson budo karate because I truly love him. You cannot teach budo karate to everyone. Their character and their minds may not accept this method. So you must watch the students training and see how they are as people, as persons and as human beings. Are they honest? Do they train hard? Do they have strong but pliant minds? Above all you must decide whether you can trust them and they must trust you as their teacher. When they give you this commitment, then they can begin learning budo karate."
" Budo karate stresses the toe kick and the single point fist. This is developing a true weapon. It is a hard way and not all can have the mind or determination to develop this. This is also part of budo karate."
"The toe kick is budo karate. The ball of the foot kick is sport karate. Look to see which one is easier. The easier one relates to the sport aspect. The hard one is budo- a hard road, a hard path, but one that is followed by the warrior."
"Sport karate is not for me. Even in Shorin Ryu, the late Chibana Sensei used the toe kick. Nowaays the new practioners look for the easy way and use the ball of the foot kick. That is OK- they practice sport karate but it is not for me or my students. Do you use the toe kick?"
"To develop the toes you must practice balancing on your toes to toughen them. It is difficult to develop, but anything worth having means hard work. You must work the toes all the time and they soon will develop into potent weapons. Every class I teach, I practice balancing on my toes. It is now a habit."
" Traditional Okinawan karate means kicking to the body, but I see all these students working on their high kicks. It looks good, but once again, that is part of sport karate. I tell them it is OK to practice high kicks as long as they understand that it is all part of sport. I don't teach sport, but I don't discourage it."
" The students ask about learning to fight. I tell them if they really want to learn to fight deadly, then buy a gun. havinga gun is a much better way of fighting. Learning budo karate takes a long time, larning to shoot a gun correctly takes about a day. Learning to kill with a gun takes even less time. Learning budo karate can take a lifetime."
WINNING AND LOSING [when pressed about differences in budo and sport, Senseis private thoughts took a different tone-Page]
"Even in Okinawa there are many that do sport karate. I call this bulls**t karate. everyone knows them. But I think in the US that there is more bulls**t karate because you have so many more people."
"Let us sit down and talk about budo karate and sport karate. Many students love to practice sport karate. sometimes they ask me what I think of their methods of sport. I say that sport karate is bulls**t karate. they never ask me that question again. hat is OK if they do not want to hear the truth."
" Bulls**t karate is concerned only about winning. For example, winning championships. Not everyone can win. So the champions are champions and the others-- they are losers because they did not win. So these practioners of sport karate tell me that they are not champions then they must be the other, right? These people give excuses, or say that you don't understand sport. In the end the champion is still the champion and everyone else are losers. What would you call them?"
"Winning and making others losers- to me this is the real heart of bulls**t karate. In budo we all train to make ourselves a better person. The only competition is within yourself. In this way we are all striving to be winners and champions. We strive to be better human beings, better people. This is a far more worthy goal than a tin trophy. Others will argue over this but that is OK. It is OK forthem to practice bulls**t karate, but for me it is only budo karate. If they show me their bulls**t karate, I say that it is good. It is good for them but it is not real karate and it is not for me. This is a very important point for me. I cannot force people to accept my truth, I can just show them and let them make the decision to follow or not follow. Whichever direction they follow, I will still practice budo karate!"
-Tomoyose Ryuoko, Hanshi (Uechi Ryu)
My teacher has been a friend of Tomoyose Ryuko. This lesson, as well as countless others from various illuminaries, was shared with me as a young man. For good or bad this and others has shaped and influenced the way I practice, select students and teach.
I felt that it was fitting in that it tied in with several recent or current topics all aound the forums.
This is a representative sample of one of the old voices. Learn from it, or parts of it, or cast it away completely. There are a few here that will truly understand.
Medical Advisor for the Somolian National Sumo Team