You impugn my honor....a book received will be a book returned <GRIN>, but obviously you’ll have to experience it first before you believe it.
I highly doubt it will take me a month to fully review Mr. Johnson’s work ‘The Great Karate Myth’.
I do expect it will be an interesting experience
I also agree it is unfair to comment on a book one hasn’t read, on the other hand it is fair to comment on the discussion taking place here.
In general to this discussion the past few days is floating fast and free with claims and counter claims.
I realize what karate means is very different depending on which side of the pond your on. I doubt those in England and Europe can appreciate the varied state of karate here in the states, and similarly I doubt those of us here can appreciate how different things are over there. We may share a common passion but I doubt we mean the same things even using the same words.
Among the things I find interesting is that some might consider the study of karate for religious purposes. How quaint, in my 35 years I’ve never met such an individual.
Nor have I seen any sign of ‘zen’ (that which cannot be spoken) or meditation in the practice of kata or tai chi chaun. I’ve read of such things (such as Trevor Leggett’s ‘Zen and the Ways’ as well as the controversy around his claims), have know a Shorinji Kempo stylist who did practice zen meditation, and understand some karate instructors have been students of zen, but the reality I live in doesn’t find a religious cant to the arts. Then again one of my primary instructors is a minister and he doesn’t believe it either.
There is a tremendous amount of ‘retro-fitting’ that is taking place in the arts around the world. No problem what someone wants to see, but the problem always exists how to prove it retro-active of the current perception. I will be interested in seeing how Mr. Johnson addresses this.
Personally my study doesn’t lead itself to saying the practice of karate has any restrictions. It is a percussive art, it is a grappling and projecting art, it is a breaking art, and a lot more. All of aikido flows through karate’s technique as well as almost any art you can name.
The only limitations I see to what a technique usage might be is the limitation of the person who says, this isn’t there and is unwilling to practice to the point they can make that usage work.
Among the other interesting discussion points:
Rokushu Kata is a Goju Kata. Interesting because the only reference I can find is Tensho is a Goju kata. There is a theory that the 6 hands of the Bubishi were the inspiration of Tensho, but there are also very serious Goju researchers who hold that there is no relationship at all. The count is 50-50 last I called it, with no decisive proof either way that I’ve seen.
Sanchin. Let’s see the quickest source I have is John Sells ‘Unante II’ describing that the closed fist version was a Higashionna innovation in his later years, and ‘perfected’ by Miyagi.
Uechi kata had absolutely no historical relevance on the Okinawan scene. Uechi did train in China roughly after the time of Higashionna, but he returned to Japan in the early 1900’s (I’m not digging out the date at this time), and lived in an Okinawan community in Japan. This was due to so many Okinawan’s having to leave Okinawa because of lack of work. The Uechi family returned to Okinawa in the later 1940’s after WWII and began formally teaching their art there then. They were Okinawan’s and became an Okinawan tradition, but a later import.
There is no doubt there is a relationship between the Sanchin taught by Higashionna, that of Goju and Tou’on ryu and that of Uechi ryu, but specifically what the relationship is remains undefined in a historically verifiable way.
And where I’m looking forward to seeing Johnson’s book about the original use of sai in the formation of Sanchin, is I’m curious how he makes his case.
In my mind it should be simple. Show me a Chinese instructor who has kept the practice, or if not that show me a serious Okinawan instructor or a serious Okinawan Uechi instructor and there will be no discussion from me. But baring that there will remain logical analysis of the premise.
I find it hard to accept that the Okinawan weapons traditions spawned the open hand ones. For example the Okinawan home guard lasted less than 24 hours in the 1500’s trying to stop the Japanese from taking over. Is it those highly effective weapons arts which formed the basis of empty hand technique? Or is it more dubious Chinese traditions?
Personally I really question that the Okinawan weapons studies were ever seriously used against any sort of armed attackers. Then again until the pioneering work of Taira Shinken, the many private weapons traditions were not available, nor may not still be. And his efforts likely drew out individuals like Matoyashi, Kashiba, Yammani and others, to open their own traditions.
But my words are just that words. Let your eye’s do some analysis.
Here is one Okinawan Sai tradition. The rounded fluid manner which the entire body uses the sai is similar to Shinken Taira, and Akamine’s sai work.
Ryukyu Kobujutsu - Saihttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=COV_F-fZFRM
Then we can compare that motion to that of Mr. Johnson.
Ko-do Ryu Kobudo (Uechi) Sanchinhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TsXj8NJHSxg
Notice how different the use of the body with the sai.
I think there is an explanation. The sai technique is being adapted to the karate technique and not the other way. Isshinryu has a sai tradition. Here is Isshinryu’s founder doing a walk through of his version of Taira’s Chatanyara no sai. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OTV2PmjAOVY
Admittedly not a high level performance. The body sai movement really is a parallel of basic Isshinryu kata technique. This is not a bad thing. Decades of work on the Isshinryu sai really re-inforces the bodies ability to fully utilize the empty hand kata applications. It is here, not as a took to impale someone, but as a way to generate increased power and then learning how to apply that power usage against attacks, where the kobudo training takes hold.
The world is vast. How we perceive it’s infinite potentials shapes our reality.