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#305675 - 12/08/06 09:53 AM Re: Shodokan Karate Form Applications? [Re: Dojostudent]
oldman Offline
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Registered: 07/28/04
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#305676 - 12/08/06 07:00 PM Re: Shodokan Karate Form Applications? [Re: Dojostudent]
gojumaster Offline

Registered: 11/14/04
Posts: 46
Just to appears that you are talking about ShoTokan.

ShoDokan is a branch of Goju-Ryu created by Higa Seiko.

Best Regards,

Best Regards, Russ Smith

#305677 - 12/09/06 05:58 AM Re: Shodokan Karate Form Applications? [Re: kakushiite]
Victor Smith Offline
Professional Poster

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

I've just been watching a few different jitte performances..

I believe I see it's potential as a series of technique insertions into bo attacks. Perhaps that was an older use of Jitte. I also see it's empty hand potential and can see where, following one of my instructors paradigm's, additional techniques complete some of the empty hand usage.

Being outside of my lineage and that I don't focus on empty hand defense against bo or other Okinawan kobudo practices, I can see why I haven't thought on this before.

I can understand what a bo in the performers hands might do while performing jitte, but I still feel it's not a kobudo kata at source. But I would enjoy seeing your interpretaion of that, and would not be disappointed if that changed my mind.

"True" kobudo stylists occasionally critize Isshinryu's kobudo as moving too far away from the original technique. I belive the source of their comments would be that Shimabuku Tatsuo's training was too short to get the 'real stuff'.

Perhaps they're right, but performing the Isshinryu kobudo curricula does most definately increase the power use of our empty hand technique in application as they decades pass. Even more so as the base remains Isshinryu.

The addition of kobudo into karate as been a rather swift infusion. I think we're still sorting its potential out.

You have many different lineages and Jitte might have been developed for countering bo, but consider how long ago that was?

I've read that the turn of 1900, the police and court logs from Okinawa show almost no crime of note. Karate studies before that were very small groups of people. As it seems most of todays karate practices solidified from the mid 1800's onward, in a period where people weren't really attacking each other with weapons (except perhaps for an antidotal story), if jitte was developed specifically for countering bo usage, it has to have been in a very distant past.

Perhaps in the end we can only understand the progenitors of today did their job really well and left no clues by their design.

We wonder and probe don't we?
victor smith bushi no te isshinryu offering free instruction for 30 years

#305678 - 12/09/06 10:16 AM Re: Shodokan Karate Form Applications? [Re: Victor Smith]
student_of_life Offline

Registered: 10/12/05
Posts: 1032
Loc: Newfoundland, Canada
the history i've herd about jitte, is that jitte, jion, and one ji-type kata all came from a temple and a monk, who the kata were named after. but, then again the history i've herd is most likely just as authentic as what the rest of you have herd.

but if this is true in the smallest sense, maybe some research into the monk jion and his temple would help. unless i have been beaten to the punch again and this subject has already been researched.

have you herd anything like this victor??

yours in life
its not supposed to make sense

#305679 - 12/09/06 11:08 AM Re: Shodokan Karate Form Applications? [Re: Victor Smith]
kakushiite Offline

Registered: 02/06/03
Posts: 266
Loc: Ithaca, NY, USA

As usual, a thoughtful reply. Thank you.

I must reiterate something you said before.

What is the true past, listen very closely I'll give you something totally true. The founders of the current arts had no desire for you, or me or any of us to know the past. Except for the imperfection of oral transmission, they left no record so NOBODY has any idea of what the past was.

And the oral record, nobody can prove. It's simple they didn’t care if YOU would know. They made it impossible for you to know and they succeeded.

I believe your statements are true for all of karate, not just the empty hand. You mention “true” kobudo stylists. In my view they have no monopoly on interpretation. As you said above, the old masters left no record. They didn’t for empty hand, and my belief is they probably didn’t for kobudo as well.

As Taira Shinken went around the islands collecting his kata, I wonder just how much the masters shared with him beyond the kata itself. He didn’t really leave a record that describes how much he learned in addition to the kata. What he learned, and what he figured out is all blended together. As as far as those who denigrate Shimabuku's contribution, all I can say is that he had plenty of good training and in my book, he was more than competent to be able to figure out what he needed to and create useful concepts as well.

Now we have students of students of Taira Shinken and others claiming to be the “true” kobudo stylists. I look at Taira Shinken’s system as I do Mabuni’s. A vast collection of kata with incomplete application handed down with it. Your description of our legacy, IMHO, applies equally well to kobudo as it does to empty hand. (Caveat, I am no authority on Shinken's art, but I have seen different interpretations of kata movements that descend from him, and I wonder how many of these were his. There is a fundamental problem when you amass 50 kata. (See Passing down the kata alone is a vast and daunting task. Successfully training your students in the hundreds of application concepts in addition to the kata is just not practical.)

When I look at kobodu across the various arts, I find it fascinating just how different the basic movements are, just as we find in empty hand. Akamine’s (Taira Shinken’s) kobudo art, Soken’s kobudo art, Oyata’s kobudo art, Hayashi’s kobudo art, Shuguro Nakazato’s kobudo art, Matayoshi’s kobudo art, Oshiro’s kobudo art, Richard Kim's kobudo art, Nagamine’s kobudo art, Miyagi’s kobudo art, Funakoshi’s kobudo art (yes he did pass it down to some students.). The list goes on.

They are all so very different. Often two or more systems may share a kata with the same name. But the differences are analogous to Itosu's and Kyan’s different versions of Chinto and Passai. These share only a fleeting resemblance. What is very interesting to me is not so much the different patterns, but just how different basic movements are.

For the reasons you state above, I don’t put a whole lot of faith in so-called "experts" who claim to be able to tell what is true and what isn’t. I wonder just how many effective family kobudo arts never survived to be shared with the general public. If the many kodubo variations are any clue, any newly discovered art would likely be different. But as with many arts, it would likely contain its own internal logic. If some GI suddenly brought to light some obscure art he learned 50 years ago in some Okinawan village, his art would likely be ridiculed by "experts" as not "Okinawan" because it didn't look like the other arts. I would find such a statement to be foolish. Since so many of the surviving kata and systems are all so different from one another, how could one draw that conclusion.

I view Jitte in this light. While many of the movements can be used for empty-hand against empty hand, some IMO, just defy good application in this context. I have found however, that all the movements can be used quite effectively against bo attacks whether you have a bo or not. The kata to me has a comprehensive internal logic in dealing with bo attacks. I can't help but believe that these concepts must have been in the minds of the developers of this kata. I do recognize that this is a novel approach and many today who have not seen or practiced these concepts find this bo-defense approach unconvincing. But as you stated above, we have only the kata (and Nakayama's statement) and nothing else that guides us in any particular direction. We have only our own ideas and the judgment of our students and peers as to the effectiveness of them.

Regarding your mention of crime statistics, I would like to share the following thoughts:

First, I think the development of the Jitte kata might precede 1900 by many years.

Second, although I believe the personal histories we do have were likely embellished, they are full of fighting, challenge matches, and bands of thieves and ruffians out to prove themselves. (See Funakoshi’s My Way of Life, Richard Kim’s Weaponless Warriors, Mark Bishop’s numerous tales, including one regarding the possible cause of Ankichi Arakaki’s untimely death. p.82.) There are so many stories similar to Nagamine’s tale of Kyan’s riverside challenge. Regarding the statistics, my uninformed belief is that many of these fights and robberies may well have gone unreported to the police.

Finally, regarding the need for empty hand defense against the bo, I have another suggestion. Itosu wrote that one of the main purposes of karate was to prepare for military training (2nd lesson of tote). I believe, therefore, that Itosu had a strong incentive to hand down kata that would develop such skills. Bo fighting skills and skills for empty hand against the bo would have direct practicality in military service. Bayonet fighting began in the early 1800’s and it is likely that Itosu was well aware of this military development.


#305680 - 12/09/06 11:15 AM Re: Shodokan Karate Form Applications? [Re: student_of_life]
Victor Smith Offline
Professional Poster

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

John Sells Unante describes Jitte, Jion and Jiin as being found in Kobayashi, Shito and Shotokan. The origins have stories about temple or monk origins but nothing that can be verified. The Demura article on Jiin and the Yamashita article on Jion from the 70's do not explain their history. Tony Annesi's text on the 3 kata roughly covers the same ground but also mentions the Wado folks use them too.

Back to my assertion the seniors did their job right and made sure nobody could ascertain the truth.

P.S. Something tells me we should be getting paid for discussing and sharing this in public <GRIN>

Edited by Victor Smith (12/09/06 11:19 AM)
victor smith bushi no te isshinryu offering free instruction for 30 years

#305681 - 12/09/06 11:24 AM Re: Shodokan Karate Form Applications? [Re: kakushiite]
Victor Smith Offline
Professional Poster

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

You're responses are thoughtful and filled with information as well.

I found the idea of bo as prepartion for bayonette training interesting.

Funakoshi was working in Japan in the pre-war, or early Japanese conquest years, but there's no record he shared bo as pre-military skill development.

The apparent rise of kobudo systems within family or very local groups does not seem to have influenced preparation for military training by including bo studies from what I've read.

The thought is fascinating, but was it acted upon and used that way?

Just asking,
victor smith bushi no te isshinryu offering free instruction for 30 years

#305682 - 12/09/06 07:58 PM Re: Shodokan Karate Form Applications? [Re: Victor Smith]
kakushiite Offline

Registered: 02/06/03
Posts: 266
Loc: Ithaca, NY, USA

Kobayashi systems (at least the systems that descend from Nakazato, Higa and Miyahira) practice Jion only, not Jiin or Jitte. Regarding Wado, it is a derivative of both Shotokan and Shito Ryu, and so has Jitte and Jion. I neglected to include Wado Ryu because I was only discussing the kata of Itosu students of which Ohtsuka was not one. Of arts that descend directly from Itosu’s students, I believe Jiin and Jitte are practiced only by Shotokan and Shito Ryu. That neither Chibana nor Toyama systems practice Jitte and Jiin make me wonder if one or both may have come from Azato rather than Itosu, or perhaps one of the other masters Funakoshi studied with. (In My Way of Life, he mentions studying under Kiyuna, Toonno, Niigaki, as well as Matsumura. p.13.)

One thing I find interesting regards the sources of kata. Kyan shared with us which masters taught him which kata. On the other hand, Funakoshi only partially does that. He says that during 10 years of training with Itosu, he learned only the three Naihanchi kata. But he never catalogs which other kata he may have learned from Itosu and which from Azato or other masters. If Funakoshi did learn Jitte (and/or Jiin) from some other master, it would not be surprising to me if shared the kata with Mabuni, the great kata collector.

Regarding the concept of bo defense for military training, I do not believe that this would have been something important to Funakoshi. I think the opposite. Although the Japanese military conquests did not begin until Funakoshi was in Japan for 12-13 years, I imagine he found the Japanese attack on Nanking, and its staggering loss of life to be unsettling. IMHO, I can’t imagine a peaceful scholar such as Funakoshi would have wanted to enhance the skills of the Japanese military in any way whatsoever.

Rather, I think that Itosu, who had such a key role in introducing karate to a broader community, may have been more concerned with this. With this in mind, he may have chosen to pass down techniques in kata that could be used for this purpose.

But this gets back to your point regarding the fundamental lack of transmission of application for kata. I imagine it was always that way. You would be taught a kata and after you practiced it for years, you should be able to decipher the movements for yourself. (Itosu tells us this in his 6th lesson of to-te). If a student weren’t able to develop much, then perhaps they would need to practice the kata another few thousand times.

I have an idea regarding how masters might have revealed a kata's secrets, while transmitting virtually nothing. I have no historical basis for this, so I indeed recognize that the following is pure speculation. But this is how I imagine that students might have been introduced to a kata's great capability.

We all know that if we are shown a large number of applications, especially quickly, say in a demo, our senses get overwhelmed and we forget almost everything. (Thank goodness for video cameras.) Also we all know that if we are acting as uke and techniques are done against us, especially rapidly, that it is hard to see just what is going on as we are on the receiving end, getting hit, trapped, locked, and taken down. We are more concerned in ensuring a good attack than with what follows.

So I speculate the following may have occurred. Itosu or Azato, having fully mastered a kata like Jitte, would teach this kata to Funakoshi, and make him practice it thousands of times. Only then, would they ask Funakoshi to pick up the bo and attack them with all sorts of different attacks. They would respond in rapid fire, using the many combinations to defend against the bo. These masters would be lightning quick, and the combinations would be instantaneous.

In the end, Funakoshi would come away, well knowing that the kata had great depth. But he would likely be able to recall very little of what had just been thrown at him.

Whether he was then able to re-engineer any of what he was shown is a matter of speculation. He probably may have come up with a few ideas, maybe what he had seen, maybe some of his own creation. It is all irrelevant, since Funakoshi chose to pass down so little in the way of complex application.

We can all speculate on why Funakoshi did not choose to share sophisticated kata-based fighting applications with his students. Maybe he was taught a great deal, and excelled at developing great kata applications and of this great knowledge, he decided not to teach much. On the other hand, maybe he learned kata, but was not shown much application, and never endeavored to figure out useful applications. We can never know. To me, this is all irrelevant.

IMO, Funakoshi believed the art was for something other than fighting. If one trained really hard (and his students did so) even in the absence of sophisticated kata applications, one would still greatly improve his fighting ability. But what was important to Funakoshi, as with many masters, was that the study of the art was to improve the character. The less “fighting” he taught, the less that bullies would want to train. Rather, only those truly dedicated to the art would remain to train.

IMO, Funakoshi likely trained in a system of endless kata with little or no sophisticated application taught. Although he may have later attained great knowledge, he ultimately decided to pass on his art the way he first learned it. And for better or worse, that's what we have for his legacy. Many choose to complain about Funakoshi teaching schoolboy karate. Fortunately a growing community is following Itosu's 6th lesson and delving into his kata to uncover the great fighting applications hidden just beneath the surface.

I trust that when I post my concepts, that you will judge them on their merits and let me know if I meet your standards for useful applications, as I reveal some concepts (bo against bo, empty hand against bo) that you may not have considered before. I look forward to your feedback.


#305683 - 12/09/06 10:45 PM Re: Shodokan Karate Form Applications? [Re: kakushiite]
Victor Smith Offline
Professional Poster

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

I look forward to your sharing your understanding of the kata technique applications.

I don't hold to the schoolboy karate answer myself. I think it's become a derogatory shorthand to try and encompass events that are much larger and detailed than that phrase implies. But we live in times where people don't care much about the past and are willing to surrender to simple answers than the larger more complex reality.

In my experience it is very difficult to share technique application studies in depth until the student has entered real indepth training. I don't think applications weren't passed on purpose, they weren't passed because the students total abilites were not of a place that they could perform them.

I follow several of my own instructors paradigm for that instruction. Before black belt the student only focuses on a relative handfull of techniques for development of fitting skills. But I do show them a great range of what those applications will do if the student is ready to receive them. Next I share a rather simple application, show it in full detail, really work them on it's path of application and sit back and watch them discover they really can't do simple things I can do with ease (and I'm getting old and slow).

There are many factors involved in this, but I feel the major reason is they don't trust the technique and when faced with the pressure of even modest beginning training attacks, they don't believe in themselves and then do something else. That loses site of the mission, specific skill acquisition.

I'm certain the applications were there in the past, but I wonder how skilled they were at transmitting how to make those applications work, and with the full range of potential in any of the karate sysetms, how to pick and choose, etc., is the larger skills after all.

Good discussion.
victor smith bushi no te isshinryu offering free instruction for 30 years

#305684 - 12/10/06 08:01 PM Re: Shodokan Karate Form Applications? [Re: Dojostudent]
Mark Hill Offline

Registered: 08/12/04
Posts: 1068
Loc: Australia
for Jitte:what can that beginning slow motion three-hand move do? and after you do the inside cressing kicks and land in a horse stance, what does that twisting of the hands do?

The salutation is an augmented s-lock. The unfolding of arms ends in a finger lock on one of the two pairs of fingers. The separate movements emphasise the motion needed to throw someone after you have locked them out or upset their balance.

For Hungetsu: Why the whole thing in a fudo-dachi stance, it seems like an awkward way to fight? also, what does that turning with the knee high in the air do?

Fudo dachi and sanchin stance are like a boxers stance. It offers stability and lateral evasion. The turning is an arm bar or finger/wrist lock which then gets augmented by the step over and the following knee of the kick. it's been a while so that may not work out.

Lastly, in Heian Gohdan, when you do the high-ex block, and then twist your hands....why? what does that do?

High x-block CAN be used to block attacks...but not like what you see in the movies.

i) Use the "movie block" but very quickly and immediately twist away and roll it into an arresting motion behind their back

ii) Intercept the arm slightly below the elbow on the biceps (in front of the arm) and slightly above the shoulder on the biceps (behind), and roll them down.

I think I may have repeated what others have said...
It takes a village to stone somebody to death.

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