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#345154 - 07/10/07 07:34 PM Re: Funakoshi and modificiations [Re: Victor Smith]
Ed_Morris Offline
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Registered: 11/04/05
Posts: 6772
of course it doesn't matter, Victor. We are only trying to analyze our guesses...not seek to prove anything (at least I'm not).
I've been hit hard enough from reverse punches that started from a back-stance to respect them - I've also been clocked by someone striking off-line transitioning thru cat-stance as well.

the question here isn't 'effectiveness', but rather what tool for what job - not many tend to use a long stance for close-in fighting, whereas a short agile structure seems a better tool for closer-in.
That difference in structure has reprecussions in how a kata is likely interpreted.

the exercise is just entertaining our guesses of the past based on what we know from experience, ...at best.

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#345155 - 07/10/07 07:51 PM Re: Funakoshi and modificiations [Re: Ed_Morris]
Shonuff Offline
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Registered: 11/03/04
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Quote:

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.




Thats not what I'm saying at all, I made no comment about point sparring. Why would you need a longer stance to point spar? Were the Shoalin point sparring when they developed lohan quan? I know many don't realise this but there are other effective fighting styles than close quarter striking and many of them are included within the various kata of Shuri-te.

In the time-frame we are talking about there was no competition scene. Gigo Funakoshi died in 1945. Funakoshi's Karatedo Kyohan came out in 1935 with all its photo's of longer stances.
What I'm trying to get across is that Back stance is a different technique with a different philosophy behind it than cat stance. Some styles snap out the shuto from the chest, some circle down in a tight chopping motion from overhead. Different techniques. Cat stance/back stance. Different.
Originally back stance was short (it is still practiced that way by some groups). When it was short the whole art was shorter and the thinking in its use was close.
Later the emphasis became long range and the techniques got longer. All that says to me is that the style is very adaptable.
The elongation of the technique's is ultimately a superficial change that causes the student to put emphasis on one aspect of Karate's potential. It only takes a student with an open mind to see more of the potential available to him.

As far as I know the styles of Shorin that use neko ashi dachi where Shotokan uses kokutsu dachi didn't exist when Funakoshi came to Japan. Also Funakoshi was far older and had been training longer than any of the other founding fathers of karate styles.

What I am saying is not that all the other styles changed, but that funakoshi was taught one way which was later changed by Itosu and then passed on to the next generation, i.e. the Shorin ryu founders.

Either that or what he was doing was Azato's method.

When you talk of changes made in the 50's and 60's you are talking about Nakayama Shotokan, the birth of modern JKA technique. It is in this time period that competetion rules were established, long after the shape of the technique was decided on.


Edited by Shonuff (07/10/07 07:59 PM)
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#345156 - 07/10/07 08:08 PM Re: Funakoshi and modificiations [Re: Shonuff]
cxt Offline
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Registered: 09/11/03
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Loc: USA
Sho

Or possibly most frustrating for all concerned--in a way. Is that Funakoshi, in time-honored martial arts tradition, taught what was essentially HIS method for doing things.

My reading of the way things were done back in the day was that instead of hardline adherence to some styleistic "standard", things were quite a bit more individually focused with greater tolererence for ideosyncratic diffrences as long as they were consistant with overall principles.

Very tall people (by Okinawan standards) were not required to get as low in Sanchin stance for example.

So its entirely possible that the various "diffrences" in kata, length of stance, etc have more to do with Funkoshi as a person than some drastic "changes" to the art.

I think that several of the Shorin styles have people that trained with Itsou prior to Funakoshi BTW, if memory serves.
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#345157 - 07/10/07 09:34 PM Re: Funakoshi and modificiations [Re: cxt]
Ed_Morris Offline
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Registered: 11/04/05
Posts: 6772
hadn't thought about that...Funakoshi was 5 feet tall or less, perhaps a longer structure served the same purpose of someone 5'6" (average male okinawan)? hmmm....not sure that washes.

can I bend the thread a bit and ask people (particularly Shorin and Shotokan artists), what exactly is thier interpretation(s) of the opening to pinan sho/heian ni ? in terms of actual application(s) and/or principles therein.

maybe things will become clearer?

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#345158 - 07/10/07 10:51 PM Re: Funakoshi and modificiations [Re: Ed_Morris]
Victor Smith Offline
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Registered: 06/01/00
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Ed,

I have a rather personal perspective about the Shotokan long stance issue. A looooooong time ago I met Tristan Sutrisno, whose father trained with Funakoshi Ginchin, when I was regularily competing with him in kata divisions.

As an Isshinryu stylist whose stances make other Okinawan systems such as Goju seem like long stance systems, I repeated the same discussion with Tris while we were talking face to face. I told him how Isshinryu's higher stances allowed for greater mobility in fighting than Shotokan's.

He just exploded back into Zenkatsu dachi and then put a front kick in my mouth before I realized it was happening.

Just because kata is done one way it can be a major mistake to belive what you see is what's happening.

Personally I don't accept that there is better or worse answers, there are just different ones. If your front stance is higher than Shotokan's your application potential is going to be different.

Yes this is a very old argument, then in the magazines, and this was over 30 years ago. Gosh I'm aging myself.

In the end it's still your responsibility to select how to use your technique wisely.

I'd be glad to privately share the Sutrisno bunkai to Heian sho dan's opening with you, of course it has nothing to do with the kata, but his family answer is in a different scale.

Of course those are just one solution.


Edited by Victor Smith (07/10/07 10:52 PM)
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#345159 - 07/10/07 11:50 PM Re: Funakoshi and modificiations [Re: Victor Smith]
Ed_Morris Offline
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Registered: 11/04/05
Posts: 6772
Victor, I'm not being a hard-ass because I think I know something others don't. I don't want to get into swapping incredible things our past influences have done - I'm fairly certain Kimura sensei could have dropped anything he hit like a mack truck going through cardboard. He broke (not fractured) ribs thru 8 inches of foam. and his Art was 100% Japanese competitive sport full-contact sparring sect of Shito-ryu. He was in favor of fairly long stances, and I never saw him use nekoashi dachi in practice. I've never seen anyone to this day hit as hard as that, but his top students come close.
The thread is not about 'this' is better than 'that'. I know people are capable of training something and making it work.

The question is, if you had a drill like the opening of pinan sho presented to you as a cat stance, what tactics/strategy/economy of motion would have to change in order for you to have justified significantly lengthening the structure? my contention is the assumption that changed is the range at which it is interpreted.
sure, it's just as good. but lets identify the reasoning behind such a change.

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#345160 - 07/11/07 04:32 AM Re: Funakoshi and modificiations [Re: cxt]
Shonuff Offline
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Registered: 11/03/04
Posts: 603
Loc: London, UK
CXT,

You make a good point, that the Karate of Funakoshi is his own interpretation is entirely possible. The reason I think it slightly (only slightly) more likely that GF was teaching what Itosu and Azato wanted him to teach is that he didnt go to Japan off his own back and start teaching, he did it on behalf of his teachers to spread their vision of the art. In the end we simply can never know why he did it so it's just down to individual reading of history.

The oldest of the Shorin ryu styles is Chosin Chibana's Kobayashi ryu which was started before GF hit Japan by about 2 years. However Chibana didnt start training until 1900, some 20+ years after Funakoshi. GF was the senior of just about everyone in modern Karate history the methods he learned will have been the most original of any of those teaching in 20th century Japan.


Edited by Shonuff (07/11/07 04:49 AM)
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#345161 - 07/11/07 05:09 AM Re: Funakoshi and modificiations [Re: Ed_Morris]
Shonuff Offline
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Registered: 11/03/04
Posts: 603
Loc: London, UK
Quote:

The question is, if you had a drill like the opening of pinan sho presented to you as a cat stance, what tactics/strategy/economy of motion would have to change in order for you to have justified significantly lengthening the structure? my contention is the assumption that changed is the range at which it is interpreted.
sure, it's just as good. but lets identify the reasoning behind such a change.




No one lengthened a cat stance. I for one have no idea why you might lengthen a cat stance or what it might do to a technique if you did.

Why would one use back stance instead of cat stance, is another question entirely.

Why would one lengthen a back stance, is again a different question.

Both these questions have been answered a number of times over the course of the thread, but for the sake of research I shall bring the answers I gave together here.

I'd love to hear what anyone else thinks.

Q1. Why would one use back stance instead of cat stance?

A:
Quote:

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...




Quote:

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.




Quote:

the very nature of what I experience a cat stance is for - manuverability while shifting weight.




Q2. Why would one lengthen a back stance?

A:
Quote:

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 finishng blow.




Quote:

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.




Quote:

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.




Quote:

...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.





Quote:

I know many don't realise this but there are other effective fighting styles than close quarter striking and many of them are included within the various kata of Shuri-te.




Quote:

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.


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#345162 - 07/11/07 08:50 AM Re: Funakoshi and modificiations [Re: Ed_Morris]
Barad Offline
Member

Registered: 11/27/06
Posts: 427
Ed,

Since you ask, just our associations's view on one application of the opening movements of Heian Nidan being:

1) "square" double forearm posture one fist/forearm over forehead, other in front, fists at same height, 2) fist that was over forehead makes uppercut movement as fist that was out front moves to opposite shoulder palm down, 3) fist from shoulder palm down makes hammer fist strike, other fist to hikite on hip.

1) fist out front is vertical fist punching (upwards angle slightly but not massively different to the square shape in the kata) or hammer fist to face or forearm strike to neck (depending on angle and target availability) whilst fist/forearm over forehead is covering against a hooking attack (for which it needs to be slightly further from the head than as practiced in the kata).

2) Lead hand that punched vertical fist then slaps the back of opponent's head (GB20 base of skull to the side) and grabs as fist that was over forehead strikes urazuki/uppercut to face.

3) Urazuki hand grabs arm or jacket as slapping hand attacks hammer fist or forearm strike to neck. This can be a throw as well if you slide your legs behind the opponents and pull on his arm/body with your other hand as you strike.

This is one of several application sequences for the opening movement that we practice. The others are too hard to describe, although quite easy to show. The stance is high and the strikes involve sliding to use full bodyweight.

Regarding high back stance, for what it is worth, I think it is all about aesthetics, not application. I do not use cat stance much (although as I think someone said it is transitional into sanchin dachi in particular) but a high back stance with weight foreward and sliding as you strike seems to work for me.

B.

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#345163 - 07/11/07 10:30 AM Re: Funakoshi and modificiations [Re: Shonuff]
cxt Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 09/11/03
Posts: 5822
Loc: USA
Sho

I was thinking of the folks that had trained with Matsumura, fellow students with Itsou.

You have Kyan--whom trained with with almost everybody.

Then there is a whole Tomari group, as well as the Shito side.

I fully agree with you as to the scope of Funakoshi's knowloge--there was a series of very good reasons why he was chosen over alot of other folks to take karate to Japan after all.

I'm sure its justifiable and certainly debatable , I'm just not personally convienced of Funakoshi's primacy among other Okinawan karate-ka.

Respectfully, and only slightly, disagree here.


Edited by cxt (07/11/07 10:41 AM)

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