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#217195 - 12/25/05 01:02 PM How many Karates are there?
mean_fighter Offline

Registered: 12/18/05
Posts: 160
Just wondering........... how many, "original" karates are there and which style is the oldest? And which is more popular? And how do you tell the difference

#217196 - 12/25/05 02:45 PM Re: How many Karates are there? [Re: mean_fighter]
MikoReklaw Offline

Registered: 12/24/05
Posts: 145
Loc: Memphis, TN USA
Well, the oldest styles of "karate" are kung fu brought over to Okinawa from China. They were called simple Te. Naha, Shuri, and Tomari [each cities in Okinawa] had their own forms of Te. Naha-te, Shuri-te, and Tomari-te. Those early forms evolved from various forms of kung fu and kempo from China, and then evolved into the various forms of karate.

Shuri nearly enveloped Tomari's system, and thus those two are hard to distiiguish to my knowledge. Shuri-based styles usually [but not always] practice the Heian/Pinan training kata. They seem to be a decently standard staple of Shuri-te based systems. Please someone correct me if I am mistaken. Naha seems a slight bit more difficult to spot. However, the use of the kata SanChin is a decent, yet not definite, cue to a Naha-based system.

These are the basic guidelines I use when distinguishing the origins of an art, but they are not perfect...and have failed me on occassion.
Solve et Coagula ~ The Alchemical Process RIP Vangelus

#217197 - 12/25/05 04:41 PM Re: How many Karates are there? [Re: MikoReklaw]
CVV Offline

Registered: 08/06/04
Posts: 605
Loc: Belgium
The distinction Naha-te/Shuri-te/Tomari-te was first made in 1927 to disguise the Chinese roots in anticipation of the visit of Jigiro Kano. Before that time Okinawan's talked about Tode (Chinese hand) or Te/Ti (hand/fist fighting). However, the fighting traditions around Naha, Shuri and Tomari were well known from before 1927. They were more commenly known, but not the only.
Many old styles were family traditions of training methods and kata. There were village dojo were local bushi would teach (read Shoshin Nagamine's 'Tales of Okinawa's great Masters' or Richard KIm's 'Weaponless Warriors'). Mostley, young men of shizoku (samourai) class would seek instructors to teach them kata and fighting technique. They would visit many masters to collect their own curriculum and sometimes they would not transfer these kata. So karate (or Tode) was a fighting system were kata (some indigious but mostley foreign(Chinese)) were thaught as means of transferring fighting knowledge.
Some masters created teaching curriculum that became styles, but these weren't established until roughly 1930. Before that time kata were catagorised as Shorin(indicated as coming from the Shaolin fighting traditions, in my opinion catagorised as kata from the time of Tode Sakugawa and before) or Shorei (coming more recently from China, mostly from Fujian and Guangdon province in China).
Anyway, the instructors of the past had their own system and curriculum. In the 30ies these sytems were named (under pressure of the Japanese) and so the styles were created. Some styles had deep family roots (Uechi / Kojo / Ruyei ... -ryu), some were structered by one person in honour of his previous teachers (Goju / Shito / Shoto / the different Shorin .... -ryu) and some were practically unkown (Toon / Motobu ... -ryu, Motobu udon-ti).
And then there is Kobudo. It is not that commenly practised nowadays as Karate but in the 19th century and before it was incorperated in the fighting traditions (Sakugawa no kon, Chatan Yara no sai, ...).

So in that regard, you could discuss on what are the oldest kata. Sesan kata (seishan, seisan, hangetsu, ...) is considered the oldest as it has several versions known in most of the current styles. Passai (Patsai, Bassai) is also a kata were many versions exist in current styles.
On behalve of Goju (the style I study) we can state Miyagi sensei (founder of the Goju style) that the roots of Goju-ryu karate are found in a school established in Naha in 1828. Certainly is not the oldest tradition of karate.

#217198 - 12/25/05 10:16 PM Re: How many Karates are there? [Re: mean_fighter]
Taison Offline
The Forum Dragon
Professional Poster

Registered: 09/06/05
Posts: 3629
Loc: BKK, Thailand
Good thing you didn't ask "How many Karate ryu are there?"
If you did, I can say one thing, if you listed each and every ryu including those that are almost the same but under different organizations, you'll end up with something as thick as the US phonebook.

That's thick.

-Taison out
I got two fists.. Don't make me use my head as well!

#217199 - 12/26/05 01:00 AM Re: How many Karates are there? [Re: Taison]
Ed_Morris Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 11/04/05
Posts: 6772
a Ryu is created every 3.4 hours

a Soke dies every 12.7 hours

do the math. lol

#217200 - 12/26/05 02:02 AM Re: How many Karates are there? [Re: mean_fighter]
BruceJW Offline

Registered: 12/24/05
Posts: 6
Where I am, the most basic forms of Karate that seem popular in the schools etc are:

and Tenshinkan

Apparently Shotokan and Tenshinkan have a close history.

Does anybody know how these styles fit in with the styles I've read on this board. I haven't heard of most of your styles.

#217201 - 12/26/05 04:14 AM Re: How many Karates are there? [Re: BruceJW]
Bushi_no_ki Offline

Registered: 05/03/05
Posts: 1669
Loc: POM, Monterey CA
If you count sport karate, fighting karate (SD), and the derivations that are Japanese, there are literally hundreds of different styles of Karate. Often the difference is a small part of a few katas. Karate is probably the best "living" proof that MA is constantly growing and adapting to cultural needs.

#217202 - 12/26/05 10:07 PM Re: How many Karates are there? [Re: Ed_Morris]
Taison Offline
The Forum Dragon
Professional Poster

Registered: 09/06/05
Posts: 3629
Loc: BKK, Thailand
*Scratch, Scratch*

hmm. . . 3.4 * 30 days. . . 12.7 * 200 soke's. . .

I give up, this math thing is killing me.. .

-Taison out
I got two fists.. Don't make me use my head as well!

#217203 - 12/26/05 11:23 PM Re: How many Karates are there? [Re: Ed_Morris]
ButterflyPalm Offline

Registered: 08/26/04
Posts: 2637
Loc: Malaysia

a Ryu is created every 3.4 hours

a Soke dies every 12.7 hours

do the math. lol

That just gave me an idea. I am registering a domain name -- "Soke-ryu"
I'll rather be happy than right, anytime.


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