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#345144 - 07/09/07 09:14 AM Re: Funakoshi and modificiations [Re: Shonuff]
Ed_Morris Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 11/04/05
Posts: 6772

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.

Thats true. didn't know it was a 'shotokan stylists only' thread. sorry to try and provoke thought with unqualified questions. Then again, it's conceivable that people who have only known 1 particular Art might only accept views within a range of views they are comfortable with.

#345145 - 07/09/07 07:00 PM Re: Funakoshi and modificiations [Re: Ed_Morris]
Shonuff Offline

Registered: 11/03/04
Posts: 604
Loc: London, UK

I read your posts, I explain where I agree and where I disagree with you and why. I have made so many points in the 3 posts I have put down as to why I feel your arguments might be flawed inaccurate or irrelevant, each point is detailed and open to discussion.

You've so far skipped over nearly all of these points without even attempting to answer them for the sake of pushing an opinion for which you offer no supportive evidence.

Rather than answer any of the many discussion points in the post you replied to, you seem to have dived into the defensive and focused on one segment of the post which you have misinterpreted.
The section you quoted just said that looking at pictures or vids does not give a complete picture. A complete picture can only be gained by studying the art you are looking at. Making judgements of an art based on a snapshot will lead to inaccurate assumptions about the art.
No one said the thread was shotokan only. No one said provoking thought was wrong. What I have always put across was "You said "X", I disagree because of "Y and Z", how do you account for "Y and Z"?

You've not answered any point which I have asked for your views on, instead you push this opinion that Shotokan evolved as it did because of Funakoshi trying to mimic kendo. Open discussion and sharing of information and opinions is what I am about. Show me deductive reasoning that I can't punch holes in and I'll be convinced.

I am by no means a Shotokan purist, its actually the art I've spent the least time in classes for. It is however the art Ive studied in the most depth. Just like I used to say to Unsu, I'm open to your point of view, just show me something, anything to support it.
It's Shotokan not Shoto-can't!!!

#345146 - 07/09/07 08:30 PM Re: Funakoshi and modificiations [Re: Shonuff]
Ed_Morris Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 11/04/05
Posts: 6772
Like I suggested, I have no facts to back up. I expressed my opinion with some 'devil's advocate' questions. Thats all. I have another question:

reference to opening post reference: "by which thinking and point of view did Funakoshi make the modifications within the Okinawan Kata?"

my question: which 'modifications' are we talking about? everyone who chimed in on the thread didn't disagree there WERE modifications.
So what are some of those changes, specifically? or maybe one in particular.

If we don't know the changes, then we don't have a real conversation in this topic, do we?

#345147 - 07/09/07 09:26 PM Re: Funakoshi and modificiations [Re: Shonuff]
Ed_Morris Offline
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Registered: 11/04/05
Posts: 6772
see, the idea for conversation isn't to discredit Funakoshi or Shotokan - hell if it wasn't for the efforts of Funakoshi, mayby Karate would have never become popular enough to recognize. The question is only from a technical standpoint.

let's review a specific change, and put our heads together backed by our experience to view the wisdom of that change. I threw the cat stance out there as a starting point.
For what I'm familiar of the use of that structure, I can't see the functional wisdom of making it into a longer and grounded position. It seems to contradict the very nature of what I experience a cat stance is for - manuverability while shifting weight. I'm curious what your function of kokutsu is....specifically.

#345148 - 07/10/07 06:24 AM Re: Funakoshi and modificiations [Re: Ed_Morris]
Shonuff Offline

Registered: 11/03/04
Posts: 604
Loc: London, UK
It should be noted that Kokutsu dachi is different from neko dachi. Though similar they are different stances used for different things. Both stances occur within shotokan, if they were meant for the same thing we'd only need one.

Kokutsu-dachi is a close quarter fighting posture, hence the shift from a hip chamber to a solar plexus chamber. I use it for creating space in which to void attacks, evasion within the bounds of one's feet. With a gaurd up it places you behind an imaginary wall which exists at the front toe and the finger-tips. It can be used to halt a rush by giving a solid base from which to push forward or one can use it to advance through a close gaurd. One of the most important points of kokutsu dachi in application is the use of the advancing lead leg as a low subtle front kick.

Ed, I am in total agreement with you, specifics are what I wish to discuss, but specific known changes not specific assumptions.
The thing I have been questioning is precisely what "everyone" knows. It is the same thing I ask whenever people bring the topic of Shotokan having changed okinawan karate and it seems a far more controvercial point of view: Which changes? How do you know they were changed in Shotokan???
Yes it is accepted that there were changes, but how do we really know? The latterly introduced kata we know were modified, they are not what I talk about when I discuss Shotokan, I refer to what Funakoshi did and taught in his early days.

So I can quite happily discuss the changes to technique made by Gigo Funakoshi and Nakayama. These are things we know happened and to me most of them happened because they made no real difference to the essence of the art so long as we take the time to study it.
I can discuss differences in technique between Funakoshi's Shotokan and the later derived Shorin ryu schools because there are clear differences. If we are talking about changes, I want to see some evidence of specific changes happening before I start speculating as to why it happended. Although saying that I have speculated earlier in the thread. If others don't need such standards thats fine, I always wish there was more input on the Forms and Apps Forum debates.

So, back to the topic.
The elongation of this stance and nearly all Shotokan postures is part of the Gigo/Nakayama infulence. They are harder to do which is an end in its self. Combat wise, all of shotokan was rejigged to work by shifting the body into the opponent. One first creates maximum space for maximum acceleration of the fist. You can use the longer version of back stance just as I described above but you need more room, which should encourage you to use more angles. Its a safer place to be and a good platform for firing off the killer reverse punch.

I actually had to use this posture a couple of weeks ago when fighting an old training budy of mine in the living room of his home. He is much faster than I and has a longer reach and knows how to use it. I'm stronger and heavier. After a while of landing one heavy hit to every 5/6/7 of his I sat back in a wide and long back stance and waited. He found it very hard to get around becuase any attack he threw was either too short as I was far away or it was easily intercepted by my lead hand or by a strong reverse punch which hung back in plain view like the sword of damoclese.
Like most things it works if you know how to use it.

However it has always been the case that "long stances are for beginners..." We were supposed to evelve from long stances to shorter ones. We were supposed to learn the sequence of a number of kata then go back and study each one in depth from the begining. For some reason the Japanese created their own "ancient tradition" of Shotokan and ignored the teachings of it's founder. That to me is the real mystery and the most damaging modification.

Edited by Shonuff (07/10/07 06:28 AM)
It's Shotokan not Shoto-can't!!!

#345149 - 07/10/07 07:15 AM Re: Funakoshi and modificiations [Re: Shonuff]
Ed_Morris Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 11/04/05
Posts: 6772
I think we're making progress in the discusion. The reason I say kokutsu was Shotokan's replacement for cat stance, is because of the early photos I see of Funakoshi doing pinans. comparred to all other okinawan arts (which also inherited pinans), doing the same kata with a different structure.
You shed some light on why you use a longer stance (tactics for ranged sparring) - but that doesn't seem to correlate with Funakoshi's reasoning...since he reportedly didn't include kumite or sparring in his training syllabus.

Mabuni sparred and experimented with protective gear for contact sparing...yet he didn't lengthen the cat stance in pinan. Apparently, neither did Kyan's students, Nagamine, Motobu's art, Chibana, Soken H. , etc all kept and currently have (as far as I've seen), a similar cat stance structure to that of each other AND similar to Shorei influenced styles as well (Goju, To'on, Uechi, etc..).

The only time I can see reason for a change, is when either strategy or tactics change when interpreting kata. the opening to pinan sho (heian ni) must have been interpreted differently by Funakoshi vs. the contemporary masters at the time, otherwise, why change it.

changing the name from a chinese to Japanese one gives a clue to possible motivations. appearances could have meant more than functionality for Funakoshi's intentions at the time. - thats as plausable a deduction as I've heard thus far.

#345150 - 07/10/07 01:26 PM Re: Funakoshi and modificiations [Re: Shonuff]
Neko456 Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 01/18/05
Posts: 3260
Loc: Midwest City, Ok, USA
Early in Japan you notice Funakoshi performing kata he is in a high stance similar to most shorin systems as time goes on he seen doing pinan in lower deeper kokutsu-dachi.

I believe in this later conversation maybe the reason why Neko-ashi dachi was changed was bc some don't see the transition of the power being placed by the front foot grounding and the rear hips sliding forward because its a subtle and slight movement. Whereas the kokutsu-dachi the movement is forced & more noticable, it needs less explaination because the movement is exaggerated/bigger and looks more forceful.

The neko-ashi-dachi is defense angleing and sucking grion out of range, its counter offensive as a hip butt and forw & backward transitional power, its more agile, natural and faster. In short its all that the strong Kokutsu-dachi is not.

I think Funakoshi knew what he was doing he was making easy on himself and teaching what he wanted to teach Karatedo.
I also think that Motobo was jealous of Funakoshi's success and wasn't aware of his purpose. Even at that Funakoshi rarely totallly avoid Motobo even though it was obvious he didn't like him.

As for Funakoshi being a fighter no real incidents of him fighting, but him demonstrating techniques against resisting foes are many. One of the okinawan verison of uchimata but instead of lifting the thign it was between the legs. Japanese are WAR like people or like Americans from Missouri (the show me state) especially something forigen you got to show them or they will kick your butt. Of course I'm generalizing about the Japanese attitude ever visited a Japanese judo or karate dojo everybody wants to spar you (Fresh Meat)!!! Let me say Please people of Japanese hertiage don't be offended. I'm generalizing.

You can bet Funakoshi didn't have an easy ride trying to teach Karatedo (To immortal College Students Please)!!!

I think the changes were more a culture and info base driven change, interesting thought that it maybe Azato Sensei way.

Edited by Neko456 (07/10/07 01:33 PM)

#345151 - 07/10/07 05:49 PM Re: Funakoshi and modificiations [Re: Ed_Morris]
Shonuff Offline

Registered: 11/03/04
Posts: 604
Loc: London, UK
Funakoshi did include sparring and was a strong advocate of it. I think what happened was just that he wanted students to wait longer than they were prepared to before they started sparring. I have it on good authority that he was interested in the development of armour for sparring as well. Looking at Funakoshi's life, WW2 and the death of his son seem to be what pushed him towards a more pacifist viewpoint.

As I said I feel the elongation of the stances began with Gigo Funakoshi, not Gichin. Gigo would certainly have been representing a drive towards appealing to the Japanese youth, both stylisticly and in his training methods (increased emphasis on sparring). Gichin was accepting of change and knew that his art would have to adapt to the change in it's circumstances so he let his son have relatively free reign to make changes to up Karate's appeal. As I said this would definately include stylistic changes but even more likely it would include functional sparring-useful changes as karate's increasing popularity and increasing number of styles was creating a massive drive toward competetive sparring internally and externally. And those were the days of uni vs uni, no gloves fighting to knock out.

I'd also guess that Gigo had a good solid knowledge of the original essence of Karate or else why let him be the ambassador to Okinawa who's job it was to learn more kata. Gigo mustve been considered worthy by GF and by those whom he learned from.

I understand what your saying about the other teachers not lengthening cat stance, but the Pinan Kata that Funakoshi taught NEVER used cat stance. They have always been done in Kokutsu-dachi.
Until I see evidence to the contrary it is most reasonable to assume that either the original Pinan were in Kokutsudachi and later changed to Neko dachi and then disseminated into the other styles, OR that GF was using Azato's equivalent based on his methods. Either way the earliest example we have of the Pinans is Funakoshi's and their earliest known exponent after Itosu was Funakoshi so all arguments of Funakoshi changing cat stance to back stance fall down unless other evidence can be brought in.

Now it is true that the Kokutsudachi GF used when he first came to Japan is much shorter than the one his students used years later. As I said above I think that this is Gigo's doing. The short Kokutsudachi is used precisely the same way as the longer version. The difference is that because you are closer you have more that can reach you and so more to deal with and the shuto uke and other accompanying close range techniques from kokutsudachi must be understood in far more depth as you have moved into trapping/grappling/kungfu range.

I think what you are really asking Ed, is why the change from a close quarter fighting method to a long-fist method, as it is the fact that Shotokans methods were long-fist that seemed to have caused the postures to lengthen.

That is a very good question especially since GF was evidently teaching Shotokan as a long-fist style before the elongation/optimisations were added.

Personally I think it is because:
1. Funakoshi was teaching college students, hence he only had alot of his students for around 4 years, not nearly long enough to drill the basics let alone teach the deeper mysteries of kata (by reported old school standards anyway). Therefore the art needed simplifying and so the basics of "hand-fencing" i.e punching, kicking, blocking and parrying became the emphasis.
2. By teaching a long-fist striking art GF brought something different to the world of Japanese Budo i.e. an art that didnt just look like another jujutsu style (something many modern bunkai artists have failed to achieve).
3. Theres always the whole Shuri Crucible idea as detailed in the book Shotokan's secrets - basically that Itosu changed karate to be centred around delivering a few devastating blows with full bodyweight behind them that would finish fights in seconds so that one could fight many opponents while protecting the king of Okinawa.

Incidentally another useful point of the back stance is its use in slipping attacks to move you to the outside of an incoming straight punch.
Neko dachi often conforms to the close quarter kungfu method of keeping square to employ all the limbs equally, however with Shotokan being re-centred around an increase in distance there became a greater propensity for slipping attacks and advancing on the outside. The longer back stance fits well with this although it can be done with the shorter version it is harder as a closer fighter needs to commit less and thus recovers more easily.

The opening of Pinan Sho/Heian Ni is a perfect example of this.

Another interesting point: I'm pretty certain Choki Motobu thought cat stance to be "bad Budo" and did not advocate its use.

Edited by Shonuff (07/10/07 06:14 PM)
It's Shotokan not Shoto-can't!!!

#345152 - 07/10/07 06:17 PM Re: Funakoshi and modificiations [Re: Shonuff]
Ed_Morris Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 11/04/05
Posts: 6772
I don't disagree with what you are saying. I agree the longer stance is geered for point sparring range as oppossed to close-quarter nekoashi.

Is it more likely all styles of Shorin changed from Kokutsu to Nekoashi...or is it more likely Shotokan alone changed from Nekoashii to Kokutsu? That was the deductive reasoning part. and while you can still argue which was which...all I'm saying is which was the more likely case?

btw, comparring the earliest pictures of Funakoshi in the opening of heian ni, his structure is quite a bit different than what we see in Okinawan Shorin. I agree that later, we see an even more exaguration of the stance....however, at the time of that extended change in the 50's/60's - what they were starting to use the kata for was visual form competitions.

#345153 - 07/10/07 06:53 PM Re: Funakoshi and modificiations [Re: Ed_Morris]
Victor Smith Offline
Professional Poster

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

The only problem with the early pictures is they are a horribly incomplete record of what his karate really represented. He was in his mid 50's, and as his were the first books, it's likely they were little more than a brief guide, or series of notes for a student or an outsider, and not really the full art.

No movie, book or representation really captures any art. They are indicative of course, but that isn't proof.

Aging myself I can uderstand that his representation may not be what his son, for example, might have been doing.

And of course arts change.

We are fortunate they tried to capture so much, even if it is really maddingly little.

If we get off the history, there is a lesson here, If a senior instructor really wants to capture the essence of where their art is, they should likely have their best student pose......

But Funakoshi wasn't doing this for others, elsewhere to really know his system later.

I have experienced 3 different Shotokan variations, each with very different roots, and each dramatically effective in different ways.

If we start with a reasonable assumption that competency begins about 10 years into the training, does the length of the stance make much difference if their skill and training allow them to nail their opponent, no matter which stance they use?
victor smith bushi no te isshinryu offering free instruction for 30 years

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