I don't know if anyone else noticed but the Heian/Pinan to Channan thread has been getting complex and perhaps starting again will make it clearer.
First everyone, FightingArts.com is an open discussion forum. The topic may be Karate, but any FA.com member may join in. So you have dedicated karate-ka of all stripes, people who practice other arts and want to see what karate is all about, people who don't believe in tradtional karate and want to wet their claws or logic against it's existence and practices, and others of all stripes.
When a discussion gets interesting everyone joins in and it becomes difficult to always keep separated who anyone is.
For myself as a martial artist who practices Isshinryu and a number of other arts I have absolutely no interest in Channan, Pinans or Heians. My art doesn't use them, my art works and has a lifetime of infinite study in its own right, I have no interest in tacking anything else on. I am fully engaged in ongoing studies and efforts on my own arts.
For myself as a martial researcher, I have an avid interest in everything. I've translated books in French into English on the Bubishi, Mabuni's early writings on Sanchin, Seiunchin and Seipai, and other works. I've written a few articles about various aspects of different arts. Along the way I've made many friends around the world who've shared tons of information with me, most in confidence which I don't break, ever. But I still try to understand the depth and bredth of the arts. Not for my students, only for myself.
As a reseacher the existence or non-existence of Channan kata holds interest, but only in its historical context. One of my friends Joe Swift living in Tokyo, knoweldgeable in Japanese as a translator, and actually teaching karate in Japan himself, has written about his Channan study, and as I understand it hasn't found anyone practicing theform along his way. That means just that he hasn't seen it in his study and he does travel to Okinawa too.
Of course with the disporia of Okinawan's in the depression across the world, and the intense bombing of Okinawa in WWII, resulting in tremendous loss to Okinawan karate (the least of the losses), it may well be if Channan survives on the Island it remains very private. That doesn't preclude it remaining in other Okinawan communites around the world. I have actually read Okinawan Hogan really only is alive overseas anymore and in Okinawa almost all is in the Japanese language too.
As we know there are various versions of Channan showing up. From Dr. Sheissman's (myspelling may be off) out of Shotokan, to Mr. Mertz's version, to the one Mr. Wax is describing. When you can see a version you can at least make a somewhat informed guess to it's potential history.
When you can't see it, it becomes more problematical.
Let me digress. Once upon a time, about 30 years ago I was lied to my face by someone of Mr. Wax's generation as to the intenst authenicity of their art from Japan. They were a strong force in the tournament circuit. Their people were fast and strong with their technique. And at that time there was no information about many arts available. And they had a strong organization. As martial artists they weren't bad.
But time passes and 15 years later I learn their house was built on lies. They were real but absolutely none of their 'history' was. And you know that does make a difference. It doesn't detract from what they can do, it does however make you question everything they said, do say or will say forever.
On the internet we cannot prove anyting, we can only discuss. Making strong claims (by ANYONE) gets no where.
If we look at the Okinawan video record we see several trends. No.1 is most of the time the demonstrations are walk throughs for many reasons, as much as not to make a mistake in public, as well as to hide the full transmission. There are even senior instructors how consciously changed their demonstrations so others would not know the correct way.
All of which is fine, they're just demonstrating, not passing a truth test.
On the other hand there are those who kick butt when they demonstrate. Such as the young Hiagonna Morio, or http://youtube.com/watch?v=mGIHXVeL24o&mode=related&search=uechi%20ryu
They're not trying to hide anything because they know they can kick butt, and want you to see everything they have. Of course they don't show you the myriad of steps it takes to get there, and in effect are showing you little.
But the Okinawan's go to both extremes, and there are plenty who follow the older tradition and don't share anything. But of course they don't talk about what they're not showing either.
At the very best they show a shape you can reflect on. Only the misinformed will try and learn from that shape.
There is no right tradtion, they're all traditional.
Mr. Wax, I've actually had Mr. Heart call me. I liked our discussion and feel he has always been truthfull and constistent describing his practices. But rationally that doesn't mean I can understand their truth because I can't see them.
Nor can I travel to do so, because teaching for free for decades doesn't pay for travel bills, if I had such inclination.
What that leaves us with is discussion.
We all want to understand the past, even those who don't believe in Karate still want to undestand why and how things happened.
I've practiced many arts, some for a while and some for an instant. I don't know much, but I do know before I can honestly believe there is a link between the Okinawan arts, without outstanding documentation which doesn't exist, I first want to see a Chinese practionier performing a form that even remotely looks like something that is done on Okinawa. Then I'd say there was a credible source to consider.
In the case of other research I'd honestly like to see the same. For example, with absolutely no disrespect to your practice, I'd foremost want to see an Okinawan practicine Channan kata. But baring that seeing even the grainiest, poorest shape of the form by someone else presents a link to consider, that no discussion can resolve.
Yet I agree with you. You have every reason not to share that shape. The path of study is very long and a glimpse of a kata doesn't describe anything that goes into crafting that version.
Earlier today I posted a link to OkinawaBBTV showing the Kasiba Juku Pinan 1,2 and 3. There they took the time to share a slice of their practice. Not the final goal, but a part of their way towards that goal.
It may or may not make much sense to any of us, but they did take the time to share a piece of their private practice (and they are a small and on the whole private group). I don't know why they did so, but the fact they choose to make it available to view does say something.
I don't know much. My instructors are or were all better than I will ever be, but I do my best to try and make my students better than them.
Lets try and discuss with respect, and perhaps even learn.