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#296195 - 10/25/06 07:55 AM Kodoryu
kodobrighton2006 Offline

Registered: 10/25/06
Posts: 28
Hi all (Jim didn't know you were the moderator here!)
I am a student of Nathan Johnson and instructor for Kodoryu Brighton. Any criticisms, comments or questions on Nathan's work or the Kodoryu practise I would be interested to hear and talk about.
And for those that might be interested there will be a day course on Kodoryu's controversial applications of Naihanchi in Brighton on the 12th of November pm me if anyones interested.
I look forward to some healthy debate!


#296196 - 10/25/06 08:09 AM Re: Kodoryu [Re: kodobrighton2006]
shoshinkan Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 05/10/05
Posts: 2662
Loc: UK
Looking forward to seeing you on the 12th Novmber Tom,

if you havent already put an announcement in the relevant section.

Information on Ko-do Ryu can be found at -

The system is very different from the mainstream of thought and should promote some healthy debate!
Jim Neeter

#296197 - 10/25/06 04:36 PM Re: Kodoryu [Re: shoshinkan]
CVV Offline

Registered: 08/06/04
Posts: 605
Loc: Belgium
Checking upon the website, I found the following statement

Kobudo Kata in their Original Chinese Forms
Ko-do Ryu practices the following three Kobudo kata in their original manner:
Open-handed Sanchin

The kata above can be found in Uechi Ryu, a major Okinawan Karate style in which they are considered to be 'empty hand' that is, weapon-less kata. These three kata were later modified for inclusion in the Okinawan Goju Ryu Karate style, and subsequently their original functions have been obscured.

The bunkai (application) of the Kobudo kata practiced by Ko-do Ryu, are applied for civil arrest and employ the use of weapons, namely a pair of Sai, against an offender armed with a Staff. The Sai are used to disarm and subdue the offender and not to stab.

It is correct that these kata are found in Uechi ryu. But they have not been modified to be used in Goju ryu.
Kanei Uechi learned Pangainoon from Shu Shi Wa and learned these 3 kata in the way he performs them.
The origin of the Goju ryu sanchin seisan and sanseru are not exactly known. Kanryu Higashiaonna learned forms from Southern China (Fuzhou) through probably Ru Ru Ko and Wai Xing Xiang. Furthermore, these forms were already known before Higashiaonna went to China (Seisho Aragaki, Kojo family) and they were probably linked to monk fist or 5 ancestor style. The Toon ryu version (Kyoda Juhatsu) of sesan comes from Kanyo Higashiaonna (nephew of the other) who learned it from a different source in China than Kanryo Higashiaonna. Chojun Miyagi places the origin of Goju ryu in a style imported from China in 1828. There are many versions of these kata in China and Okinawa and stating that the kata originate from Uechi ryu and are then modified for Goju ryu is incorrect.

I do believe that the weapons arts and the empty hand arts are deeply related and probably were trained together in older times. They influenced each other greatly and when analysing the techniques, you see the relation immediatly. However the assumption that sesan or sanchin or sanseru are originally sai kata is something I cannot support, and this for 2 reasons :
1. These kata originate from China's civil fighting arts. To my knowledge, the sai are not used in China's civil fighting arts. Today, the sai are only known in Okinawan arts. But they have certainly been imported from somewhere outside Okinawa (probably India) because there is no iron on Okinawa. Probably introduced through Chinese military in 15th - 18th century. They were used by the Okinawan 'police' known as 'Chikusaji'.
2. In Okinawan kobudo, the fighting principle with sai was to use three. Two for throwing and one for fighting. They are sold in pairs but used per threesome.
I agree the use to subdue or disarm an offender and that mostley they were trained against bo. But one of the basic principles was to throw sai. From the presentation of sanchin on the website, I cannot see this principle, although from every Okinawan sai kata I have seen, this principle of throwing the sai is shown.
However the simularity in technique both with sai and open hand, makes the display of the form with the weapon acceptable as training. Yet I do not believe that the kata's intentions are withing the use of sai. Karate in the form known today did not derive from kobudo or vice versa. They were, I believe developped in paralel and influenced each other but not in way like Aikido where the weaponless forms are derived from the sword forms.

#296198 - 10/25/06 05:00 PM Re: Kodoryu [Re: CVV]
kodobrighton2006 Offline

Registered: 10/25/06
Posts: 28
Both Uechi ryu and Goju ryu only inherited three kata from China, Sanchin, Seisan and Sanseiru. They both come from the same source. All the historical evidence and research for this is clearly laid out in Nathan Johnson's book "The Great Karate Myth".
Do you have any evidence that the sai were not used in China because again in the same book the evidence is layed out that they were.
As for three sai being used and throwing sai that is an Okinawan development. The Sai are not a battlefeild weapon they are a disarming/restraint tool much along similar lines of the Japanese Jitte. Throwing a Sai to any effect is very difficult.

"In Okinawan kobudo, the fighting principle with sai was to use three. Two for throwing and one for fighting. They are sold in pairs but used per threesome."

This may be the case in Okinawan Kobudo but not in the Chinese Civil arrest tradition.

#296199 - 10/25/06 05:58 PM Re: Kodoryu [Re: kodobrighton2006]
CVV Offline

Registered: 08/06/04
Posts: 605
Loc: Belgium
Well, my answer than is that Nathan Johnsons view is not the only one and certainly not the only thruth. But I base that on your comments as I have never seen the book.

There is some controversy in to what Kanryu Higashiaonna learned and thaught. Some say he only thaught 4 kata, sanchin sesan sanseru and pechurin. However Motobu Choki states in his book Watashi no toudi-jutsu (1932) that sanchin seisan and pechurin are kata handed down from the old Ryukyu kingdom (=before 1879, before Kanryu Higashiaonna came back from China and certainly before Kanei Uechi came back from China). The reference of origins of Goju-ryu from 1828 comes from Miyagi's Gaisetsu (1934).
Now it could be that the origin of these kata in China is from the same source but then you have to dig back very deep. Up till now nobody came up with the mother version of sanchin or sanseru or sesan. In fact P Mccarthy states in his bubishi translation that these kata's are found in crane boxing as well as tiger boxing as monk fist boxing as well as dog boxing etc... all in different forms/techniques/patterns.
There is some very interesting information around the origin of the Goju kata's in the Meibukan magazines ( )

The information about importing the sai from Chinese military sources comes from a book of Kenyu Chinen 'Kobudo d'Okinawa' a student of Shinpo Matayoshi. Up till now I have not seen a Chinese civil fighting system that uses the sai as a weapon. Sai in the form as used in Okinawa, not to be confused with nunti (also called manji sai). If you can name such a system I am happy to have that information so I can research on it.

Throwing a sai to any effect is not that difficult with a bit of training. I throw them through 2 tatami into the third when throwing downward. I never said that they are a battlefield weapon, just that they were imported by Chinese military. As you know, Okinawa did not engage in war since the 14th century up till WWII. So the military would not teach battlefielmd applications, rather civil restraint applications. Okinawa did not have an army, it was under protection of the Chinese.

So I agree that they are a restraining weapon but one of the main applications in Okinawan kobudo is to throw them into your adversary. Evidence to that statement is for instance in the book 'The Weaponless Warriors' by Richard Kim in the story about Itosu Yasutsune who lived in the 19th century.

The link with the Japanese jitte is far stretched. No Okinawan kobudo authority has ever linked the sai to jitte to my knowledge.

#296200 - 10/25/06 06:18 PM Re: Kodoryu [Re: CVV]
shoshinkan Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 05/10/05
Posts: 2662
Loc: UK
possibly worth noting - re sai in Chinese arts.

In the book Shaolin White Crane Kung Fu (a rare art revealed) by Lorne Bernard,

There is a picture/text in the weapons section of double sai use by the late Grandmaster Lee Kiang-Ke of I believe the Flying Crane tradition currently headed by Lee Joo-Chian (Malaysia).

It clearly states that within the system there are a number of sai forms and 2-person sets.

On the back cover it shows the author using sai in what can only be described as a basic kihon of our karate kobudo practise,

Make what you wish of that I guess!
Jim Neeter

#296201 - 10/25/06 06:20 PM Re: Kodoryu [Re: CVV]
Ed_Morris Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 11/04/05
Posts: 6772
Thats the same as my understanding CVV. because I'm in a hurry to finish cooking dinner, I'll just say bluntly: I disagree with many of Mr. Johnson's theories.

#296202 - 10/25/06 06:46 PM Re: Kodoryu [Re: kodobrighton2006]
cxt Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 09/11/03
Posts: 5843
Loc: USA

Not quite accurate.

Uechi Ryu and Goju are more "sister" systems rather than being the from "the same source" unless you mean that as in generic from the same region/city of China.

They probably looked even more alike back in the day than they do now----and neither looks as much like extent systems in China today. (close but not exact)

But there seems little to evidence to think that were the same "style" and a great deal to suggest a more likely siutaion of them simply being closely related.

Another of the "sister" systems--also claiming direct decent from RyuRyuKo is Ruei-ryu wich is close, but certainly not exact in terms of kata/tech/methodology with Goju and Uechi--and like them it has some very real diffrences.

Plus, Goju got more than 3 kata from China--with the exception of Tensho and the Geikisai series all of the Goju kata are Chinese.

In fact, all or most of the Okinawan kate are of Chinese origen---the more so since just about all the "who's who" of the old time masters either studied there, or trained directly under the folks that did.

Having not read or seen the book you reference its impossible for me to comment on its accuracy--but if contains things that fundamentally contridict the "canon" as it were--I would expect there to be considerable proofs presented.

Can you steer me in the direction of where I might find a copy/website that deals directly with its conclusions????

Edited by cxt (10/25/06 06:54 PM)
I did battle with ignorance today.......and ignorance won. Huey.

#296203 - 10/25/06 07:15 PM Re: Kodoryu [Re: cxt]
kodobrighton2006 Offline

Registered: 10/25/06
Posts: 28
You said yourself you have not read Nathan's book it is all explained in detail in there.

As for most of the Okinawan Kata being from China can you prove it? please provide some evidence and sources. Which Kata please are you talking about?

"Plus, Goju got more than 3 kata from China--with the exception of Tensho and the Geikisai series all of the Goju kata are Chinese."

Thats a big statement can you please list the Kata and their sources? Because I see no eivdence to suggest that any other kata in goju ryu except Sanchin,Seisan and sanseiru came from a Chinese source. The rest appear to have been made up by Chojun Miyagi.

#296204 - 10/25/06 07:30 PM Re: Kodoryu [Re: kodobrighton2006]
Shonuff Offline

Registered: 11/03/04
Posts: 604
Loc: London, UK
Just a quick question.

What makes Mr Johnson think the applications he has for his kata are the only original and correct applications and what constitutes proof of this claim?

And no I'm not buying anymore of his books, Barefoot Zen was more than enough.
It's Shotokan not Shoto-can't!!!

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