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#243471 - 05/09/06 08:22 AM Re: Anyone practice Shorin ryu? [Re: Sensei Paul Hart]
Victor Smith Offline
Professional Poster

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

When I realized I didn't like how the name karate had been hijacked to be what anyone wanted it to be I realized that I couldn't change the world. After all dictionaries don't define words, they're compilations of how words are being used and change the meaning when the people use the word differently.

What I tried to do was work to make sure what I was doing focused on the definition of what I wanted the art to be, not what others define it as.

My instructors taught very much like they studied on Okinawa, they taught the physical art, period. Not history, not philosophy, not morals, just how to.

But they were great people and from that I really learned the more important lessons is only do the hang with good folks. Lesson 1

They also shared not to let anyone define your art but your own efforts. Lesson 2

All the rest came from a lot more sweat equity.
_________________________
victor smith bushi no te isshinryu offering free instruction for 30 years

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#243472 - 05/09/06 09:06 AM Re: Anyone practice Shorin ryu? [Re: Victor Smith]
TeK9 Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 12/22/05
Posts: 2257
Loc: Northern California, USA
Hello Victor Smith,

I hope you don't mind me asking you questions, I am not trying to argue, make fun nor judge. But you said something in your last post that captured my attention.

"My instructors taught very much like they studied on Okinawa, they taught the physical art, period. Not history, not philosophy, not morals, just how to."

You see I've recently read George Dillmans first book on pressure point and kata interprtation. And in the introduction he mentions that karate was first taught as a fighting system and that he feels that morals should be learned just not in a dojo but in a church. The only thing taught in a dojo should be the physical.

I guess I have a few questions and a few points I want to get across.

- Did the Okinawens change their view on them martial arts like the japanese; changing it from a war art to a tool of spiritual development which honored their culture and history? The change from bujutsu to budo.

- Perhaps the reasons why many of the instructors that came back from Okinawa did not learn the history, morals was because they failed to understand or comprehend the language and customs? I assume that many of the instructors were white who joined the arm forces stationed in Okinawa.

I suppose I have more questions but I think I can save them for later. I don't want to get ahead of myself.

Understand that I am not a practitioner of the Okinawen arts, not have I ever picked up a book and read on Okinawa and it's history. I suppose I am trying to learn from you, if you don't mind sir.
_________________________
"Poor is the pupil who
does not surpass his
master" - Leonardo Da
Vinci

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#243473 - 05/09/06 09:06 AM Re: Anyone practice Shorin ryu? [Re: Victor Smith]
Sensei Paul Hart Offline
Banned Member

Registered: 12/05/03
Posts: 279
Loc: Lehigh Acres, Florida
Now there is something everyone can agree on. Grandma use to say "One bad apple spoils the bunch" so I guess the same rules apply in other cultures as well. I loved Japan, and I got along fine with everyone Japanese who I ever met. They are very good people, IMHO.

I also agree 100% with making Karate your own. To me that is personal, I do not think that when we do this, we invent some new style that we now deserve a Judan in. Fact is, on Okinawa, it was the way of life to adapt to what information you had available, and to incorporate that information if you found it useful. I think this may be why Sokon Matsumura did what he did with Uchinadi. Maybe that is why the other Karateka made their own styles as well. I do not think that if I took my Karate and mixed Jujutsu with it I would be inventing a new style. There for I would not be able to claim Judan, for any purpose. I have no problem with Helio Gracie claiming he is a Judan. Nor do I have a problem with Eizo Shimabuku, or Tatsuo Shimabuku doing the same. These were truly men who Mastered their art. What I do have a problem with is when Joe Blow trains for six months in Shotokan, four months in Kali and another nine months in Judo, then invents ShoKaDo and claims he is a Supreme Grand Master. Why is it people would think that by mixing two or more ingredients together, that makes them a Master Chef?
_________________________
Paul Hart http://allshorin.org

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#243474 - 05/09/06 09:25 AM Re: Anyone practice Shorin ryu? [Re: Sensei Paul Hart]
Victor Smith Offline
Professional Poster

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

"Why is it people would think that by mixing two or more ingredients together, that makes them a Master Chef?"

I think the answer to that lies with Betty Crocker <GRIN>.

When my ears were wet and the tournaments were all being run by the 'great ones' in the mid 70's, I recently thought about that and almost to a person, none of them had been training more than 15-20 years. Gives one pause.

Time change, and I only do what I do. My practice is personal for my students. All the kids leave when they graduate, and the adults do it for their own reasons, not mine. Change is guaranteed, but we're still bound by the past and our sweat equity in the end.
_________________________
victor smith bushi no te isshinryu offering free instruction for 30 years

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#243475 - 05/09/06 09:34 AM Re: Anyone practice Shorin ryu? [Re: TeK9]
Victor Smith Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 06/01/00
Posts: 3220
Loc: Derry, NH
TeK9,

I can only really detail how Isshinryu was taught. It's founder found a way to provide for his family in the horrible depression on Okinawa in the 50's, by teaching the USMC.

He didn't speak English (and choose not to learn it as time passed) so the instruction was the physical art, with little else.

Whether this is fair for other Okinawan system or not I can't say. George Dillman originally was traained by Harry Smith (no relation), an original Isshinryu student in the USMC.

In turn my instructors taught as they studied, and for the most part so do I.

Many of these discussions I take part of never work into my program. The students are there to train and that is the focus. Morals are how we live and I try and conduct myself fairly with my students from their first day, and as I said in the long run what's important is that you hang with good people.

Good technique can be found with sweat, though a knowledgeable instructor can shorten the path a great deal, but in the end we have to do the correct sweat on our own.

I'm certain others have different paths.

My one instructor in Shotokan had a father who trained with Funakoshi in the 30's in Japan. His Shotokan is totally focused on application of the art, which may make it quite different from others in Shotokan. He did live morals and only fouced on karate was to preserve life, not to destroy it. Of course his technique level was among the highest I've even seen, and I doubt many could even touch his technique, but he would and does not entertain any of the BS that karate is to be street lethal. Which is a conflict of realities.

The MA world covers a very wide range of potentials and aspirations.
_________________________
victor smith bushi no te isshinryu offering free instruction for 30 years

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#243476 - 05/09/06 12:16 PM Re: Anyone practice Shorin ryu? [Re: Sensei Paul Hart]
theoldone Offline
Member

Registered: 03/05/06
Posts: 172
Quote:

I really like Victor Smiths posts.




Dang! I was hoping to keep that a secret and keep Victor all to myself. But you guys have blown the lid on this. So I'll come clean and say it.

Victor Smith is a veritable treasure trove of well-reasoned knowledge. I "felt" that when I first saw one of his posts. That's why I asked his permission to "speak" with him via email someday (Which I haven't yet. I'm still unsure how to go over the ground I want to cover)

BTW, if you haven't been to his site, take a peek one day and read the opening verses on his home page. Gave me goosebumps. If you're a teacher, you'll know what I mean when you read it.
_________________________
We Are Beautiful, Temporary Patterns

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#243477 - 05/25/06 05:01 PM Re: Anyone practice Shorin ryu? [Re: TeK9]
Hiyoshimaru Offline
Newbie

Registered: 05/23/06
Posts: 22
Loc: Colorado, U.S.
I have to admit that my interest was peaked at seeing this post. I thought I was somewhat alone in the world in my practice of Shorin Ryu, I did significant research and found my school to be on of about three in my state. I also must admit, however, that I did not read this entire discussion (I know, shame, shame), so if I am out of place, please inform me. I have been studying the art of Shorin Ryu under a fourth degree black belt instructor who has proven to be the very essence of a good karateka and businessman as well. I have been training for a little over a year now, and hope to recieve my brown belt this summer, so please don't think I hold any expertise on the matter. And I know that the post that this next comment references to has been a while back, but I should like to post it anyway. It is the personal opinion of my school, and to my knowledge, the rest of the Shorin Ryu community that Shorin Ryu is the original art of karate, the very first art that can truly be called karate, when the Chinese came to Okinawa. Therefore, it would be logical that Shorin Ryu is not a "new" art per say, it is simply the re-discovery of a very old art. However, this is so highly debatable that it probably wasn't even worth expressing, since Okinawa did not really keep many written records of karate at that time. Once again, this is not really fact at all, merely an opinion.

Anyway, I should like to express my experience as far as Tek's last post.

"- Did the Okinawens change their view on them martial arts like the japanese; changing it from a war art to a tool of spiritual development which honored their culture and history? The change from bujutsu to budo."

Surely I believe that the martial arts have always had a connection to the heart and spirit of their practioner, therefore the step to religion would be short, in my opinion. However, in my experience with my school, and the other in the city, there has been no expression of such religion in the art. However, in every style of karate to my knowledge, there is some reference to spirit and heart, and gorwing in that to make one a better fighter and person. So, if this is considered religion, then I suppose the answer is yes. However, fighting and defence is always the primary purpose of such an art, but, as my sensei constantly reminds us, "About 50% of us will use our self-defense in our lives, but 100% of us will use the character traights we learn."

"- Perhaps the reasons why many of the instructors that came back from Okinawa did not learn the history, morals was because they failed to understand or comprehend the language and customs? I assume that many of the instructors were white who joined the arm forces stationed in Okinawa."

In my experience and research, this has not been the case at all, on the contrary, most sensei who have actually studied in Okinawa have been more than enthusiastic about expressing the culture of the art to their students, however, my sensei has admitted before that we are quite Americanized, as he has never studied in Okinawa or Japan. But my experience with all who have is that they have well expressed the culture of Okinawa, and, in my opinion, rightfully so. I hope I haven't buttted in and I hope that I have been helpfull in some way.
_________________________
"Karate practice is for the whole life; while one breaths, one practices."

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#243478 - 05/25/06 07:19 PM Re: Anyone practice Shorin ryu? [Re: Hiyoshimaru]
TeK9 Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 12/22/05
Posts: 2257
Loc: Northern California, USA
Thank you for sharring your experiences. I enjoyed reading your post.

-Tek
_________________________
"Poor is the pupil who
does not surpass his
master" - Leonardo Da
Vinci

Top
#243479 - 05/25/06 08:44 PM Re: Anyone practice Shorin ryu? [Re: Hiyoshimaru]
PaulHart Offline
banned member

Registered: 05/23/06
Posts: 192
Loc: The Real
Quote:



"- Perhaps the reasons why many of the instructors that came back from Okinawa did not learn the history, morals was because they failed to understand or comprehend the language and customs? I assume that many of the instructors were white who joined the arm forces stationed in Okinawa."

In my experience and research, this has not been the case at all, on the contrary, most sensei who have actually studied in Okinawa have been more than enthusiastic about expressing the culture of the art to their students, however, my sensei has admitted before that we are quite Americanized, as he has never studied in Okinawa or Japan. But my experience with all who have is that they have well expressed the culture of Okinawa, and, in my opinion, rightfully so.




I agree with most of what you have said. I think it may be a little of both. While the guys in the Military that learned from the Okinawan Dojo's do impart what the understand of Okinawan culture, I believe that some mistakes in transmission were more than likely made. Perhaps this is the reason that so many things that are not fact, have been taken as such.

Shorin Ryu is very much alive in the world. It is usually not the style that people advertise much, it may even take some calling around to find a Dojo. However, I think you may find more than you expect in your area of the country.

Very good post, I look forward to more from you!
_________________________
Paul Hart http://allshorin.org

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#243480 - 05/25/06 11:28 PM Re: Anyone practice Shorin ryu? [Re: PaulHart]
Hiyoshimaru Offline
Newbie

Registered: 05/23/06
Posts: 22
Loc: Colorado, U.S.
Well, I was certainly exaggerating about the number of dojo's in the state, and I'm sure that I would find more, given time and research, but, in truth, when compared to other styles, at least in Colorado, in my experience, we are few. Although, this is not always a bad thing, I don't remember where I read it, but someone wrote that the best dojo's are generally the hardest ones to find.

I'm sure that there are many gaps in the tradition of teachers learned in Okinawa, although, still, when compared with other schools, they do teach their tradition well. And, it is certainly a pity that such misunderstandings occur, but it is only logical that there should be such mistakes made, isn't it? I am certainly not near being a sensei yet, but when performing my duties as a senpai, I often find that what is expressed to me from my sensei's teaching is not always expressed to those I assist, as is evident in some classes or belt tests. When this happens, the student is naturally at odds with those students taught the technique directly by sensei, and, logicaly, they usually turn to sensei for answers, at which time he points out their mistake and it is fixed. I know that's somewhat of a ramble, but my point is that maybe it is the responsability of the student of a teacher taught in Okinawa to do the same, return to Okinawa and learn directly from the source. I think that this ultimately might be the path to laying to rest certain incorrect beliefs in the tradition of karate. After all, the teacher isn't always right, one should learn from them and respect them, but it never hurts to verify something they've said, does it?

Thanks, I'm not sure how much your comment will hold true after I've been here a while, haha.
_________________________
"Karate practice is for the whole life; while one breaths, one practices."

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