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#345134 - 06/08/07 08:40 PM Re: Funakoshi and modificiations [Re: Stormdragon]
Victor Smith Offline
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Registered: 06/01/00
Posts: 3219
Loc: Derry, NH
Storm,

Why after black belt? Simple one step at a time.

Using the study of kata technique application as a life time learning experience after sho-dan and not before is because there are other studies more important before that point in time.

It does not mean that the kyu student isn't being taught effective ways to deal with basic attack situations, it's just that situational trainig is used at that point.

From my experience, and from that of many who've trained me, the depth of karate technique usage isn't the first goal. After all if you can craft a student who can dispatch any attack with an important tool such as a strike, each and every time, you are still using kata technique.

Essentially I see the preparation of the dan as building the basic tools that will be put into play with later training.

Of course there are a million different ways any art can be presented. Each group makes their own choices.

And by waiting until after sho-dan does not mean I don't fully demonstrate, to the point of letting the student feel it up close and personaly, what the beginning range of a technique application potential is. It's just that we don't have them focus on that training.

It's not you won't be shown until you're ready, it's that they're shown from the beginning and continually from that time, but that is not the focus of their studies until their skills are ready for those challenges.
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#345135 - 06/08/07 10:36 PM Re: Funakoshi and modificiations [Re: Victor Smith]
Stormdragon Offline
Who Dares Wins
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Registered: 08/05/04
Posts: 3409
Loc: Salem, OR
Well that makes sense. Thanks.
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#345136 - 06/12/07 05:47 AM Re: Funakoshi and modificiations [Re: Victor Smith]
jude33 Offline
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Registered: 03/14/07
Posts: 1539
Quote:

Stormdragon asked,

"Sorry to hijack the thread but by which thinking and point of view did Funakoshi make the modifications within the Okinawan Kata? Did he lose the essence?"






My thoughts

I dont know. I think he created his own version of jion. Was it based on partly chinese arts and aiki ju jitsu and tamed down to suit the karate do concept?(although aiki ju jitsu is meant also to be partly based on chinese martial arts)
I think so but I am still studying.

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#345137 - 06/27/07 11:54 AM Re: Funakoshi and modificiations [Re: jude33]
hedkikr Offline
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Registered: 02/28/05
Posts: 2827
Loc: Southern California, USA
Any info as to why Itosu chose Mabuni, not Funakoshi, as the heir to his "style"?
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#345138 - 07/08/07 03:33 PM Re: Funakoshi and modificiations [Re: hedkikr]
Ed_Morris Offline
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Registered: 11/04/05
Posts: 6768
interesting. I've never heard/read that. whats the source?

I think it's interesting that in a topic such as this, no one is talking about specifics. can anyone address the specifics on the apparent changes to neko-ashi dachi in Shotokan for instance? why go from a transitory weight-shifting short stance to a long and sprawled kokutsu dachi? what is the functional gain from that change?

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#345139 - 07/08/07 05:18 PM Re: Funakoshi and modificiations [Re: Ed_Morris]
Shonuff Offline
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Registered: 11/03/04
Posts: 603
Loc: London, UK
Ed,
I think no one asks that question because none here can answer it. None of us was there.

From what I have read there were two schools of thought on Okinawa regarding more "Chinese" postures such as kat stance. One was for one was against. Most of what Funakoshi brought over seems to be from the "against" school and as a result there is much less cat stance in the Shotokan that Funakoshi originally taught than in Shito-ryu and the Shorin schools.
I think this may stem from the fact that Funakoshi was actually Ankho Azato's student, not Itosu's. Istosu was Azato's best buddy and there was certainly crossover, but Azato was Funakoshi's principle teacher. Itosu seems to have been of in favour of the chinese movements. I believe Motobu wrote about disliking Itosu's Naihanchi as it used a chinese horse stance (knees bent inwards).
The change that occured to Kokutsu-dachi was that it became elongated, not sprawled just longer. I can only speculate as to why this happened but I will give it a go.

1. It looks cooler.

2. Where the early Shotokan students were not being taught application their focus was on powerful performance of techniques. A longer stance allows you to be more grounded and generate more power while being balanced and stable.

3. It is more difficult than the old short version, thus it requires more effort to do, thus made the practice of karate more challenging making the practitioner strive harder to achieve results and so developing strength of character which was the point of teaching the art at the time.

4. Gives you more distance to/from your opponent meaning more space and time in which to see and react to movements and in which to generate a powerful finishing blow.

5. I feel these changes were allowed to be introduced because they really genuinely make absolutely no difference to the purpose and essence of the movement. Form and application are simply not the same thing, they never have been nor can they be. One discerns the meaning of a technique through its context in kata and it's practice in free/semi-free combat. Funakoshi always wished that students would study Karate not just do it, and through study one will understand the purpose of the movements.

6. Neko-ashi dachi has little to do with shifting weight in most Shorin kata.

As I said, this is all just speculation...
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#345140 - 07/08/07 08:58 PM Re: Funakoshi and modificiations [Re: Shonuff]
Ed_Morris Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 11/04/05
Posts: 6768
no, we weren't there...but some photographers were. an experiment for you: 1. look at Funakoshi's stances from the 1920's and compare them to the stances of some modern Shotokan.
2. look at photos of every other Okinawan style's stances (cat stance in particular) and compare to the oldest you can find of Funakoshi's.

a progression of change will be apparent...particularly with the cat stance for some reason. while all other styles keep the same shape and mechanics - Shotokan alone (starting with Funakoshi's modifications) gets longer and lower.

I'm wondering why. Then I saw some Kendo footage and their stances and movement looked somewhat similar - I wondered if Funakoshi wasn't trying to nudge the look and feel of Shotokan towards a more 'Budo-looking' Art....why would he have wanted to do that, I wonder.....interesting, right?


"6. Neko-ashi dachi has little to do with shifting weight in most Shorin kata."

well, if you think that, then we can't really have a discussion about Okinawan Karate, because you won't know what I'm talking about when I say cat stance is not really a 'stance' but instead a structure for transitioning.

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#345141 - 07/08/07 10:04 PM Re: Funakoshi and modificiations [Re: Ed_Morris]
Shonuff Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 11/03/04
Posts: 603
Loc: London, UK
Perhaps I misunderstand your statement but requiring all parties to agree with you at the outset seems a very unenlightening format for discussion.
I have a vague idea of what you are talking about but if you would illustrate the point I'd probably understand just fine.
Personally I'm of the opinion that Karate has no stances.

Also I'd like to clarify something.
Are you questioning the change from using cat stance to using back stance that can be seen by comparing Shitoryu Shorin kata to Shotokan kata, OR are you questioning why back stance was elongated?

As to comparing styles, there actually aren't any styles historically speaking older than what Funakoshi was showing in the 1920's. We can speculate that what other styles did was what went on before Funakoshi came to Japan but that would be guess work from what I can gather.

Quote:

I'm wondering why. Then I saw some Kendo footage and their stances and movement looked somewhat similar - I wondered if Funakoshi wasn't trying to nudge the look and feel of Shotokan towards a more 'Budo-looking' Art....why would he have wanted to do that, I wonder.....interesting, right?




Perhaps he was, when you understand the message how you choose to encode it really only depends on who you want to hear it.


Edited by Shonuff (07/08/07 10:06 PM)
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#345142 - 07/08/07 11:19 PM Re: Funakoshi and modificiations [Re: Shonuff]
Ed_Morris Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 11/04/05
Posts: 6768
Quote:

Perhaps I misunderstand your statement but requiring all parties to agree with you at the outset seems a very unenlightening format for discussion.



most of the time, I'd say your statement holds true...but in this case, I'm going to hold my ground. not seeing how cat stance is used would make my point about Funakoshi's modification of it mute.

How do I determine that it was Funakoshi who changed from cat stance to back stance? look at any other Shorin pinan shodan kata for instance (thats, 'Heian ni' for Japanese Karate folk - renamed and reordered for some reason - wonder why...)

How is it that pinan kata all coming from the same source (Itosu), then branching out into different streams of teachers - all have the high mobile and shifting cat stance, yet Funakoshi's stream alone has the elongated and grounded postioning?

...thats deductive reasoning, not guessing.

yet even a higher contrast in difference is comparring the long and low stances in Shotokan kata competitions of today. compare that to Funakoshi's 1920's kokutsu dachi....got longer and wider in 90 years didn't it?

maybe Funakoshi did have an applied reason for that particular change - I haven't heard or seen any good reasons yet. I can only conclude he made the change for 'look and feel' appeal in a closer image to budo arts.

Problem is, Shotokan doesn't usually train with a sword, do they? oh wait, "the hands and feet are like swords".

which leeds to things like the second half of this video:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gcWaYlujL1Y

some could argue that those interpretations are not intended for actual self-defense, but they are just introductory subjects. while others could argue that since the changes to the economy of motion (long, low and sword-fighting distance), it led to this kind of mis-interpretation of the kata it draws from.

I have nothing against Shotokan, as I mentioned before, as a style, it's made great strides (no pun intended) to get the Art back on track to self-defense and less on the distance point-sparring 'arms as swords' thinking.

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#345143 - 07/09/07 06:20 AM Re: Funakoshi and modificiations [Re: Ed_Morris]
Shonuff Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 11/03/04
Posts: 603
Loc: London, UK
Quote:


most of the time, I'd say your statement holds true...but in this case, I'm going to hold my ground. not seeing how cat stance is used would make my point about Funakoshi's modification of it mute.




So illustrate the point so that I and everyone else knows that what is in our heads is the same as what is in yours. I make fantastic use of cat stance, I just doubt its the same use that you have. Hell most of the time in discussions like this everyone is doing the same thing but calling it by another name.

Quote:

How do I determine that it was Funakoshi who changed from cat stance to back stance? look at any other Shorin pinan shodan kata for instance (thats, 'Heian ni' for Japanese Karate folk - renamed and reordered for some reason - wonder why...)

How is it that pinan kata all coming from the same source (Itosu), then branching out into different streams of teachers - all have the high mobile and shifting cat stance, yet Funakoshi's stream alone has the elongated and grounded postioning?

...thats deductive reasoning, not guessing.




It's still a guess, and one that shows a bias in your thinking. Perhaps Itosu changed it to make it more appealing to the Japanese, perhaps Funakoshi taught based on Azato's interpretation, the point I made about differing schools of thought on Chinese style movements still holds. Perhaps Itosu was teaching kokutsudachi first and changed to neko-ashi dachi. Just about everyone who came up with other styles did so decades after Funakoshi began training, why is it less reasonable to assume that the use of cat stance came later rather than earlier?

I'm sure if I took the time to think about it I could find many more possible and equally unprovable possibilities.

Quote:

yet even a higher contrast in difference is comparring the long and low stances in Shotokan kata competitions of today. compare that to Funakoshi's 1920's kokutsu dachi....got longer and wider in 90 years didn't it?

maybe Funakoshi did have an applied reason for that particular change - I haven't heard or seen any good reasons yet. I can only conclude he made the change for 'look and feel' appeal in a closer image to budo arts.




I gave a number of reasons above listed by number, I'm not saying they are all good reasons but they don't have to be to us, they just had to be good enough for Funakoshi. I'd love to hear what you feel is wrong with them though?

Quote:

Problem is, Shotokan doesn't usually train with a sword, do they? oh wait, "the hands and feet are like swords".



If you want to argue with Ankho Azato about his use of metaphor be my guest.

Quote:

which leeds to things like the second half of this video:
[url=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gcWaYlujL1Y]

some could argue that those interpretations are not intended for actual self-defense, but they are just introductory subjects. while others could argue that since the changes to the economy of motion (long, low and sword-fighting distance), it led to this kind of mis-interpretation of the kata it draws from.




This has been posted before and as with any stand alone example of an art needs to be put into context.
The second half of the video shows what KF calls level 1 bunkai. This is what students have to learn to grade. It shows where to put your hands and feet and thats it. It is NOT KF saying this is how you use these moves in a fight. For that he uses what he calls level 2/3/4 bunkai, which is basically what most nowadays consider effective application complete with throws locks takedowns restraints and all from realistic distance and against realistic attacks. That this vid shows introductory subjects is not just an argument it is the fact of the matter. I know this because I have been to kata seminars with him.
This illustrates one of the biggest problems when discussing any art with someone who doesn't practice it. all they can know is what is shown on the surface and once that turns a person off its very hard to make them see what value is present just a below the surface.

What led to mis-interpretation of technique was not being taught application and the Japanese living in and propogating a culture where one does not question ones senior. KF's work on developing good and useful kata applications is a perfect example of what one can do if they take the time to study the kata as GF intended. I just wish he would ditch the traditional Shotokan teaching format and get straight to the point with kata apps at the centre of the training.


Edited by Shonuff (07/09/07 06:34 AM)
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