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#217707 - 12/27/05 10:46 PM Do Traditionalists have it backwards?
hedkikr Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 02/28/05
Posts: 2827
Loc: Southern California, USA
(I guess I should start w/ a disclaimer):
I was trained in traditional karate - white Gi, regulated Kata, respect/reverance for lineage. Until a few years ago, I never questioned all that I learned &, in turn, taught.

One of the reasons I left my former sensei was because of the emphasis on competition. My life experience included many physical altercations due to the nature of my work. I realized that something was amiss w/ the S-D aspect of my art by training to master competition skills.

I imagine that in the old days, the good fighters were known, not because of tournaments but through real-life encounters & challenges. So if one was a tough karate-ka, he would put his skill to the test. But as Te became Karate & the culture of Kendo & Judo began to influence Karate, rules for safe competition needed to be developed.

Now we have thousands & thousands of karate-ka (from traditional to "Krotty") training for competition & only after they no longer have a desire or ability to compete, do they seek the deeper elements within kata (if ever).

Keep in mind that millions more quit long before they develop an interest/curiosity to look deeper. Maybe they weren't successful in competition or advance fast enough. Now they will never assimilate the core of MA which is self-defense.

So should we train the Gendai (traditional) way or the Classical (orthodox) way?

owari

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#217708 - 12/27/05 10:55 PM Re: Do Traditionalists have it backwards? [Re: hedkikr]
Subedei Offline
Member

Registered: 12/23/04
Posts: 479
I usually equate traditional with self defense focused. I do, however, agree with everything you've said.

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#217709 - 12/28/05 01:04 AM Re: Do Traditionalists have it backwards? [Re: hedkikr]
BrianS Offline
Higher rank than you
Professional Poster

Registered: 11/04/05
Posts: 5959
Loc: Northwest Arkansas
I've only been in a couple of tournaments. My training was always self defense focused,not competetion. It just depends on what you are after. Both will be around,one is just more widely accepted and commercialized.
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#217710 - 12/28/05 01:34 AM Re: Do Traditionalists have it backwards? [Re: hedkikr]
bo-ken Offline
Veteran

Registered: 06/07/04
Posts: 1228
Loc: beaver falls, PA, beaver
I think it ranges from school to school not styles. We focus on competition when a competition is coming up. That is for the childrens class only. Most adults from our school do not compete we don't tend to train that way. I do not think competition is bad but too many people look at it as the only think that matters. A lot of people ask me do you have a lot of trophies and I just say no they don't matter that much.

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#217711 - 12/28/05 08:11 AM Re: Do Traditionalists have it backwards? [Re: hedkikr]
harlan Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 07/31/04
Posts: 6664
Loc: Amherst, MA
Your post leaves me completely confused. I thought traditional (Okinawan) meant 'gi if ya got it', small teacher/student ratio, learning the 'applications from the start and basically eshewing competition.

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#217712 - 12/28/05 08:12 AM Re: Do Traditionalists have it backwards? [Re: hedkikr]
schanne Offline
breaks things

Registered: 02/18/04
Posts: 4370
Loc: Woodbury NJ
So true. Many practioners are stuck in their schools out of loyalty but would rather train traditionally, me for one. I could care less about competing and when we have class it seems it is focused on competition. I have talked with my Shihan about it a number of times and we have compromised with different types of classes, one for traditional and the other for our competition people. Don't get me wrong the competition class is a fabulous work out but please don't take away my kata's, weapons and self defense.
_________________________
The way of the warrior does not include other ways... Miyamoto Musashi Schanne

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#217713 - 12/28/05 09:58 AM Re: Do Traditionalists have it backwards? [Re: schanne]
Victor Smith Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 06/01/00
Posts: 3220
Loc: Derry, NH
A long while back Joe Swift (from japan) suggested the following structure to karate's periods, as a general guideline (not a hard guide).

1. Classical Karate (pre 1920 Okinawan) - no styles, uniforms, just training
2. Traditional Karaate (1920 - 1960) - Styles Developed, uniforms, sport karate in infancy
3. Modern Karate (1960 forward) - Styles plentiful, advanced uniform and belt development - focus on sport karate
4. Contemporary karate (the last 10 years)

This paints a very broad swipe, but is useful to make some distinctions.

What most have trained in (Modern Karate descended from the Traditional Period), has little relationship to the Classical period. The entire use of Sparring is a modern development.

There are instructors who take a more classical approach, and rarely touch the sport aspects of training, and then just when they're useful for the student, not for the group.

My main point is what is referred to as Traditional Karate has very little relationship (except ancestry) to Classical Karate.

Perhaps this will help frame the discussion.


Edited by Victor Smith (12/28/05 09:59 AM)
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victor smith bushi no te isshinryu offering free instruction for 30 years

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#217714 - 12/28/05 11:03 AM Re: Do Traditionalists have it backwards? [Re: Victor Smith]
Toudiyama Offline
Member

Registered: 04/14/03
Posts: 229
Loc: Zaandam, Netherlands
Hi Victor,
would you classify Koryu Uchinadi as Classical or Traditional ?( Koryu Uchinadi is what Patrick McCarthy is teaching

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#217715 - 12/28/05 12:43 PM Re: Do Traditionalists have it backwards? [Re: Toudiyama]
Victor Smith Offline
Professional Poster

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

Thanks for the question. I don't know the answer. Patrick and I have shared over the net, but I haven't trained with him and don't know the scope of his teaching.

I would suspect it's related to the Classical concepts of karate, based on his writings, etc. But my belief isn't proof. I haven't explored them further because first I have more to work on than I can handle in this lifetime anyways, and teaching for free for decades I have no spare cash to train elsewhere or elseplace.

Let me give a simpler answer in turn. I teach/practice/etc a system of karate created in the Modern Period (on Okinawa), and my intitial study and my initital teaching was directed towards the sport aspects, but over the decades I'm using the system I practice to try and re-create a classical approach to how it can be used. That doesn't mean I succeed, it's just what I work towards.

For example I and my students rarely do sport anymore, except where appropriate for an individual student development. My major focus of advanced students is on the full application potential of our art against attack, with layers of looking into those potential.

I'm not sure hard use of the names is important, rather what we do on the floor.
_________________________
victor smith bushi no te isshinryu offering free instruction for 30 years

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#217716 - 12/28/05 05:59 PM Re: Do Traditionalists have it backwards? [Re: Victor Smith]
schanne Offline
breaks things

Registered: 02/18/04
Posts: 4370
Loc: Woodbury NJ
Victor both of my thumbs are in the up "OK" position, good post and I like your attitude.
_________________________
The way of the warrior does not include other ways... Miyamoto Musashi Schanne

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#217717 - 12/28/05 06:36 PM Re: Do Traditionalists have it backwards? [Re: Victor Smith]
CVV Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 08/06/04
Posts: 605
Loc: Belgium
What do you want Karate to be ???
I have done competition and teached competition fighting (WKF rules)/ I am a national referee with international experience (WKF rules). I have been in bar fights and won most of them. I have known people from other disciplines that openly chalanged me into a fight. But I have never had to fight for my life. I train kata, test the applications and spar trying to apply them. I consider some of my knowledge really geared to have decisive advantage in fights and some even very harmfull.
I train focused on kata history and try to 'uncode' kata to applicable fighting principles and specific techniques.
I mostly focus on sanchin, tencho, sanseru and sesan as these are my favorites. The research in kata, I do only with like minded friends and teachers in training with the same level of understanding. I do this because I enjoy it, it is my hobby. In other settings, with other people I am either a student or a teacher. It took me 25 years to come at this level and I am still searching.
The study of karate is to me very dynamic. My level of understanding is influenced day by day. To understand the old aspects/ways I think you have to travel back expierencing the evolution of karate. Just to dismiss certain aspects because one thinks they have no value in real fighting without serious study (walk the walk) could be a potential miss in valuable knowledge even when the conclusion is that it's not for you (like sport karate).
Victor Smiths timeframe analysis and designation is one I can agree. In that regard, it will be very difficult to understand what happened before 1920 as we no longer have a physical link to that period (teachers that have lived through that period). The same will happen with generations after us. Karate is a unique system through the kata that are left behind. There should be as much documenting as possible to give the possibility to rely on the old information for the generations to come. Nothing should be limited only into one way (like the standardization of kata into one format for competition).
Karate has evolved in the past and will evolve in the future or it will vanish. For the better or worse ?? Only time will tell and we will not live to see that. But looking at available information and ways to comunicate and train globally, I think it will evolve in a way that it has potential for the sporter as well as for the SD oriented practitioner. Only few will become top sporter in karate and only for a limited time. There will still be a lot of time left after a sport carreer either as a coach/trainer or as a 'traditional' practitioner or both.

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#217718 - 12/29/05 12:46 AM Re: Do Traditionalists have it backwards? [Re: CVV]
hedkikr Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 02/28/05
Posts: 2827
Loc: Southern California, USA
1st off, Thanks Vick for the break-down (saved me the time/effort).

When I think of all the hours devoted to improving my competition skills & making my kata picture-perfect... Nothing was wasted but I could have been dedicating myself to bunkai.

If we take the break-down & reverse it, you'll probably have an accurate list of the greatest to least number of practitioners. Still, Traditional (Gendai or 1920-1960) based karate is recognized as "authentic" possibly due to the fact Japan had the greatest influence in spreading a little-known fighting method(s).

It's as if one were to say American history started @ the European crossing while neglecting Native American history.

The question isn't so much "Is a tournament fighter able to defend himself?". It's "What's the focus of your training today & what will it be in 20 years?".

owari

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#217719 - 12/29/05 01:28 PM Re: Do Traditionalists have it backwards? [Re: hedkikr]
Neko456 Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 01/18/05
Posts: 3260
Loc: Midwest City, Ok, USA
CVV - Only few will become top sporter in karate and only for a limited time. There will still be a lot of time left after a sport carreer either as a coach/trainer or as a 'traditional' practitioner or both.


I agree with CVV the MAs is a cycle in persons career unlike boxing (over at 35 on average)or Thai-boxing (in Thailand over at 28-30) after the ring fighting is over you graudally stop training, on average. In Karate you come to a new horizon and start to discover what it is you are really studing. I've had numerous sport fighters come back to training serious and have discovered a whole new art instead of sport. They are even more serious in their training understanding that they don't have to kick high anymore, but know it exist.

Hedier -
Karate cycles start at 6-35yrs old, the sport aspect entices them, (mines was s/d then sport then back s/d)then you start to gravitate toward more serious training at 18-35 yrs of age. You start listen and training on whats being said and taught instead of if it will score in tourneys.

25-40 years old you may even quit competing and start training on self defense skills, personal devlopment and awarness, maybe keep up on tourney skills because its is a big draw and you can't teach if the doors are not open.

25-50 years - Old you are travelling particpating in other arts or digging deeper into your base. Studying with like students and teaching and learning variations of what you already know or new totally concepts of delievery.

30-7X - Your studies continue and you are able to deliver a more concise idea of what a technique is and how to apply it. You learn until you die just an accepted reality.

Few boxers or Thai-boxers become coaches or teachers compared to Karate students, all my people have a chance in front of the class at a certain level. This might just be their nicht.

I think the state of Karate in 20 years will be more reality and self defense. Point tourneys paids the bills,
But there are already continuous sparring division, full contact at some tournaments some are even having MMA like bouts. Karate will be looked at like Judo or JJ a skill you can start as a base. But really it will still be a life time journey.
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DBAckerson

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