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#294082 - 10/16/06 10:29 PM Re: Karate 'styles' [Re: yamaguchi]
Ed_Morris Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 11/04/05
Posts: 6772

they took what they liked and threw away what they didnt

exactly. based on their chosen assumptions.

#294083 - 10/16/06 10:38 PM Re: Karate 'styles' [Re: Ed_Morris]
yamaguchi Offline

Registered: 09/02/06
Posts: 32
Loc: mississauga, Ontario, Canada
thats exactly my point
"Take the lesson and throw away the experience" -Hanshi Wallace Platt

#294084 - 10/16/06 10:49 PM Re: Karate 'styles' [Re: Ed_Morris]
bo-ken Offline

Registered: 06/07/04
Posts: 1228
Loc: beaver falls, PA, beaver
Ed you have made some of the most interesting threads as of late. Thank you for keeping my interest. I knew Funakoshi "cross trained" before that was a common term. I didn't all know this though.

#294085 - 10/17/06 04:39 PM Re: Karate 'styles' [Re: Ed_Morris]
hedkikr Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 02/28/05
Posts: 2827
Loc: Southern California, USA
Body mechanics haven't changed so why are there so many "styles"? We each have strengths & weaknesses. An expert who discovers he's adept @ kicking will pass along kicking skills more proficiently than (maybe) combination punching skills.

Students believe (often as taught or insinuated by their instructor) that what they're learning is the BEST way or "style". Pride or tribe mentality then takes over. Unfortunately, not all the students are so good @ kicking & either never realize their full MA potential or migrate to a "style" that emphasizez (maybe) combination punching.

Some students learn from an instructor when he is older & therefore emphasizes different aspects based on his decreased ability to perform young men's skills in exchange for strategy & timing (that come w/ experience). Now what? Same style, different emphasis.

Tani said "We each make our own karate" meaning that if the basics are mastered, our body type, muscle speed, timing ability, temperment & strength will dictate your "style".

But politics always seems to rear its ugly head. Nothing to do w/ technique but who's boss. This is the antithesis of the concept of humility that is so necessary in developing responsible fighting skills. More money, ego & power never made a better MA-ist.


#294086 - 10/17/06 09:15 PM Re: Karate 'styles' [Re: Ed_Morris]
Unsu Offline

Registered: 09/29/06
Posts: 142
Loc: San Antone, Tejas
Each instructor who has achieved a high enough rank starts to put their signature on a style. This was always intended with Okinawan karate, and this diversity is a good thing. It would be great to imagine standardizing all karate and just calling all ryu/ryuha "karate". The reality is that all karate is not the same, was not created with the same intent and often serves various functions.

Take a seemingly simple system like the one I train in, Matsumura Seito Shorin Ryu. Soken Hohan had many advanced students who came from many base styles. Kise, Kuda, Nishihira, Kinjo, some say Yabiku Takaya all have slight variations on a theme when it comes to Matsumura Orthodox.

Kise was originally a Kyan-Shorin guy (Shorinji Ryu), Kuda's base system was Okinawan Kenpo (Shigeru Nakamura). The traits of these two systems influenced their interpretations of the Suidi they learned from Soken. Matsumura Kenpo (Kuda Shinshi's style) uses a little different stance work (e.g. straight back leg in Zenkutsu dachi), invented some beginner forms and utililizes Bogu sparring. Kise's Kenshinkan at one time was very Matsumura Orthodox, but since the late 70s has been more consumer friendly. He does not teach most of what Soken taught him. He implemented the Tomari forms like Ananku and Pinan Sandan, and teaches Kyan-esque techs in a lot of his current incarnation of Matsumura Orthodox. All this info comes from multiple people who have trained with both guys up to very high BB levels, who btw also differ in their approaches once they reach Kyoshi status.

The good thing about Okinawan karate training before it was imported to the mainland, was that it was diverse in interpretation, which is always a good thing. Standardization is fine, but uniform standards can also stagnate progress. Kobayashi Ryu is a school of thought, whether Shidokan or Shorinkan, but the two schools have differences to contrast the uniformity of Chibana's intent. From these comes Yamashita Shorin and Frank Hargrove's interpretation of Shorinkan. This keeps things fresh and allows for adaptability. Those who think that traditional means unchanging and dead are wrong.

The core techniques and strategies in TOMAs are very similar and very different. They all aim to make one a better person physically/mentally (and even spiritually) after all is said and done. The hard Hojo Undo of many Naha Te styles sets them apart from the Shuri Te influenced systems (Matsumura Ha). Their forms are very different in execution and even principle. The Chinese influence is more prevalent than in the Shuri/Tomari based styles. Even amongst all the so-called "Shorei and Shorin Ryu" based systems the styles are very unique. That's a wonderful thing. Is American Goju the same as Higaonna Goju? Uh-uh not really, but they each do have similarities.

Commonality is a good thing, but diversity is a great concept. In nature if a species dies off and a niche is left open a similar yet very different animal will often take the extinct species' place. From this new niche inhabitant several subspecies will often emerge to further adapt to their environment. This keeps things fresh in a natural and cohesive manner. Natural is a word the old Okinawan teachers use a lot, and for a reason.

The Japanese like competition and at the same time uniformity. They often say "a nail left standing will be hammered down". This is the prevailing attitude in modern karate. You can understand why, since the Japanese hold the lionshare of control and influence when it comes to karate. Originally it was an Okinawan art, and the Okinawan are very nonchalant, unregimented people. They are a tropical culture, not a temperate one like the Japanese. Their Te reflected this. They wanted diversity and looseness, with dilligence in ones studies. They were very particular with placement of the feet, how you walked, having "too much hand" in kata execution. Each instructor taught in a personalized way. Lessons were custom fit to the student, often only 1-4 at a time, privates being preferred. To many this was the best way to teach karate, especially at the beginning levels.

So in order to not wash away the Okinawan aspect of karate training, the genesis of it all, there has to be styles/ryuha. Think about it. The large classes, the afterschool programs, the competition circuit, these are modern and very ubiquitous aspects of karate training, Okinawan or otherwise. How many of you learned in an intimate setting where the sensei could adjust each movement and give you one-on-one attention? Very few have experienced this, but some of us think that type of karate training is very salient to keep good, underground karate around. Otherwise in 50 years there will be very few if any Shorin, Goju, Uechi, Isshin, or other smaller systems. The Japanese, Korean and Americans will control the flow and the larger, richer more organized and patent systems will prevail and what many term "original, real" karate will be dead.

In my opinion we can never let that happen and some of us will not partake in a whitewash based on what Funakoshi or Miyagi wanted to do with their systems back in the day in order to garner respect from their Japanese occupiers. Yes all good Okinawan karate is similar, but very different at the same time. That's a great thing IMHO. To each his own...

#294087 - 10/17/06 09:37 PM Re: Karate 'styles' [Re: butterfly]
Ronin1966 Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 04/26/02
Posts: 3119
Loc: East Coast, United States
<<often to prove 'ours' is better than the next villages

How do I seperate the hyperbole, the bravado if you will that ~ours is better~ from the ours is different idea? Different intentions might twist the words meaningfully in some circumstances. Sometimes simply a really bad choice of words...


#294088 - 10/17/06 10:40 PM Re: Karate 'styles' [Re: Unsu]
Ed_Morris Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 11/04/05
Posts: 6772
I see your point, but I disagree with what is written between your lines. just to be clear - by suggesting 'no styles', I'm not saying I think there should be a unified system. diversity IS good. I'm only saying that the lines that currently separate styles are not as sharply drawn as people sometimes make them out to be. Karate 'styles' are protected and guarded like copywritten products nowadays, yet reading about the style founders reveils that sharing ideas and cross-learning was not even a second just happened. It could very well be that this collaboration was only during a time when all were trying to unify and pre-package Karate into a presentable system worthy of other Japanese budo. but the spirit of the corroberation and cross-study as a learning culture is not lost on me.

I suspect in that atmosphere, one person's teacher might refer them to another teacher to learn or work on an aspect or add to their point of view in their core study...and even better is the main instructor teaching how to incorporate what they've taken in from the other teacher, into the core study. I think thats absolutely fantastic and is the element of true diversity thru rigerous study - always questioning methods, reevaluating and adjusting.

traditionalist dogmatic isolationism has it's place as preserving their Art like a moving museum piece which is important - but more often than not, they are moreso just preserving a product.

to each their own, is right.

#294089 - 10/18/06 02:17 AM Re: Karate 'styles' [Re: Ed_Morris]
shoshinkan Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 05/10/05
Posts: 2662
Loc: UK
Great posting people!
Jim Neeter

#294090 - 10/18/06 03:43 AM Re: Karate 'styles' [Re: Ed_Morris]
Unsu Offline

Registered: 09/29/06
Posts: 142
Loc: San Antone, Tejas
Ed- I completely understand what you are saying. In fact I agree with your words. I am not a master of any system. I started in Judo, boxed, did Shorinkan for a bit, did some Matsubayashi Ryu for awhile, experimented with BJJ, was influenced by Filipino and Thai kickboxing, saw the efficacy/inefficacy of a lot of MAs training in the real world; so I agree with getting a broad vantage point. Absolutely. Hohan Soken learned from various sources including Shihequan shifu in Taiwan. He also encouraged his students to learn from multiple sources in order to enhance, compare and contrast what they had already learned. We have no debate as far as this concept is concerned.

What I was getting at involved the whole idea that in the end we all develop the same tools, regardless of the process. Now that is something I can't agree with and that's based upon my own empiricism. I do post on this forum because I know there are honest mature folks here wishing to understand better what it is they do by comparing notes with other players. I try to give a vantage point that is my own albeit influenced a bit by those who helped guide me in this direction. I am not infallible and have been known to "take a bite and the leave the rest" in order to better understand my take on the things I've learned.

Without heated discourse and emotional dialogue oft-times we tend to buff the marble instead of sculpting a masterpiece. What I'm saying is that I've never intended to divide just to enhance or add to the conversation. The unity all decent people have (martial artists or otherwise) is that we are all part of a community. On it's a community of individuals who have MAs in common. The diversity and varying personalities make it interesting and not so pseudo-scolarly like other sites (no names will be mentioned).

We are unified in the goal of self-revelation through MAs and sometimes combat sport. We are diverse in our opnions and approaches. It is all relative, but the assumption that all karate is good, is very naive IMO at best. If you observe enough karate in your life you know that the intent of many systmes is very different, from Seidokaikan to the generic "Kenpo" school seen at various strip malls throughout the USA.


#294091 - 10/18/06 11:14 AM Re: Karate 'styles' [Re: Unsu]
Meibukan003 Offline

Registered: 10/17/06
Posts: 100

Each instructor who has achieved a high enough rank starts to put their signature on a style. This was always intended with Okinawan karate, and this diversity is a good thing. It would be great to imagine standardizing all karate and just calling all ryu/ryuha "karate". The reality is that all karate is not the same, was not created with the same intent and often serves various functions.

I agree with this.

Many of my bad habits were once my sensei's. However, many of my good habits are also my sensei's good habits. In fact, my whole dojo is like this! If you look close enough, sometimes you can see from what dojo someone came from, simply by a common difference in technique from other dojos. Even something as simple as an open handed block instead of a closed hand block in kumite.

My Bo:

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