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#345124 - 06/03/07 10:38 PM Funakoshi and modificiations
Victor Smith Offline
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Registered: 06/01/00
Posts: 3219
Loc: Derry, NH
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?"

Interesting question. Personally I don't see it as very relevant. There is just kata and the choices around it's use. And a whole lot of people who want to push their own points of view.

If you take Fuankoshi Ginchin, yes he did change and modify the kata he studied. Then again that was the true mark of an Okinawan karate-ka. Why else did the island have 15+ bassai kata? As nothing was documented in the past, there was nothing but memory and a persons word as to what was prior. And if your instructor did or didn't change their kata you had little choice but to accept your instructors word.

Having been working on kata around 35 years or so, change is a guaranteed constant. You change, your technique becomes more refined, at year 20 you cannot do your kata that you did at year 3. Teaching at year 30 you cannot teach your kata as you did at year 10.

Almost everyone in the world, including the Okinawan's take continual pot shots at everyone elses studies. But that's just yak.

As there are an infinite nubmer of ways technique, kata, applications and sparring may be incorporated into the study of any karate style, if you find good practitioners, it really doesn't matter how they train.

Take someone who just does kata and never applies them, and also runs a hard tournament competition school. Their best students can blow you away with their competition tools.

Tools are equal opportunity employers. If you get good enough to make it work, does it matter if others make different choices and end up in the same place.

I've seen a lot of different varieties of Shotokan, each with great differences from themselves and from other Okinawan systems. Each variety with a lot to be admired, and often with completely different principles at odds with the others choices.

In Funaokshi Ginchin's place I don't think he left one thing out.

He started in Japan in the university groups. So you have students for 4 years and then they move on. He tailored his program so others with very short training time could establish clubs to train people for 4 years.

There is only so much you can do in 4 years. His first students entered a world where Japan was conquering everything. The Shotokan survived the war years and re-entered the trade.

But you have to understand Karate is a very, very minor study in Japan. Very few Japanese actually study the art. Look at Japanese life, they work, really, really work for a living. So only those who could become instructors would stick with their art, and then frequently focused on the beginning studies (which are the focus of all real programs, without beginners you never get advanced students).

So in that mold, people who could not spend 20 - 40 yeras training with an instructor, shaped where Karate would go for them.

And change occured on Okinawan too. In 72 when the USA returned control of Okinawa to Japan almost no children were studying karate. By 1976 most of the adults began being captured in the new Japanese building projects and karate attendance really dropped. People working didn't have the time of previous years to train. Till today 75% of the Okinawans studying karate are kids. (BTW I'm praphrasing information shared by Dan Smith of the Seibukan on the Cyber Dojo, earlier).

Pehaps the numbers of Okinawan's engaged in serious training has remaind the same. Perhaps it's less.

Different places different needs, differing answers..

Yet all real karate, IMVHO.
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#345125 - 06/04/07 02:48 PM Re: Funakoshi and modificiations [Re: Victor Smith]
Shonuff Offline
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Nice post Victor!

"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?"

For myself the answer to this is I have no idea what point of view funakoshi took. And no, he did not loose the essence. I say that because 1. He said so in Karatedo Kyohan and he would have understood the essence of Karate better than anyone living today IMO. 2. Karate and it's transmission became his life and by all accounts it was his love as well. I can see many reasons for allowing and advocating changes to karate's surface form, but not it's essence. What those after Funakoshi may have done or not done is a different conversation.

Where none but a few believe Karate is meant to look a particular way, it baffles me that the form of Funakoshi's art causes so much contention.
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#345126 - 06/04/07 03:22 PM Re: Funakoshi and modificiations [Re: Shonuff]
Stormdragon Offline
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So some would say that he turned karate (especially the kata) into mere physical exercises. Do you think he lost much if any of the principles of movement, combat applications, offense and defense, breathing, etc?
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#345127 - 06/04/07 06:47 PM Re: Funakoshi and modificiations [Re: Shonuff]
medulanet Offline
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Registered: 09/03/03
Posts: 2142
Loc: Phoenix, Arizona USA
Quote:

Where none but a few believe Karate is meant to look a particular way, it baffles me that the form of Funakoshi's art causes so much contention.




Actually, I believe much of this was started by Choki Motobu who stated that Funakoshi's art was not real karate but only a dance. I also think he stated it was an imitation of real karate. If Funakoshi knew the essence of karate-DO then is it safe to say that Motobu knew the essence of karate-JUTSU. So it is not only some people on this board, but one of the greatest Okinawan fighters of all time said the same thing regarding Funakoshi's art.

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#345128 - 06/04/07 08:46 PM Re: Funakoshi and modificiations [Re: medulanet]
shoshinkan Offline
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with full respect to Funakoshi O'Sensei,

I feel the art of shotokan as we see it today, bears little resemblence to the Okinawan arts that he was taught.

There were major forces at work to make this thing happen as it did and I dont even see it as good or bad anymore,

The reality of it is I try and follow ther older Okinawan ways with my karate, as best I can,

and that bears simply little or no resemblence to the modern shotokan ways, and why should it?

There are of course many, many superb shotokan people, but that is not my point.

and now its time for the old saying, 'many paths same mountain................'

but this depends on ones sanity, sometimes it is a different mountain.
_________________________
Jim Neeter

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#345129 - 06/04/07 09:08 PM Re: Funakoshi and modificiations [Re: Victor Smith]
Isshinryukid4life Offline
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Loc: Knoxville.
1Karate-do Is not the same as the shotokan of today,& There's a prettyygood chance that we may never know what Funakoshi's karatedo again. That's a positive.

2 Funakoshi, never sparred a day in his life,& In his lifetime niether did his students,until sometime after his death.

3 Funakoshi's,bunkai was lacking when he came to japan,& I'm speculating that's why he went back to Okinawa.

4 Before funakoshi transferred/taught the he himself learned in Okinawa,They were more combative,but what he taught these same kata's in Japan they became recreational.

However, Funakoshi's students IMO made shotokan more aggressive ,they still named the style in honor of there teacher,As Shoto was his pen name.

Quote:

In Funaokshi Ginchin's place I don't think he left one thing out.




He left out plenty,but i'd say it was for political reasons though.
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#345130 - 06/08/07 02:15 PM Re: Funakoshi and modificiations [Re: Isshinryukid4life]
Shonuff Offline
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Funakoshi never sparred a day in his life???
That is quite a claim to make especially without sourcing it. Where did you read/hear that?

Med, I would dispute Motobu's greatness, nothing I read about him suggests he was particularly great, just that he liked to pick fights and was well known because of it.
I agree that Motobu was certainly the first and by far the most credible critic of Funakoshi's Karate, but I don't believe that what is spouted by modern critics has anything to do with him.
As to Motobu's claims about Funakoshi's Karate I cannot and would not try to contest them, what Funakoshi taught would seem to have not been combat effective! (Bet you never thought you'd hear me say that!)
But then Funakoshi stated that what he taught was not what he had practiced on Okinawa, that Karate had changed and would keep changing.
I believe that in an age where the violence of the past was being pushed out of all area's of Japanese tradition (this was happening in Japan well before WW2) Funakoshi was passing on what Itosu wished him to pass on. I find it hard to believe that Itosu would've entrusted that responsibility to someone who did not understand Karate as it was, plus after actually reading what Funakoshi actually did believe about Karate training etc I'm convinced he knew what he was talking about as nothing he ever wrote is bad advice even by modern standards.

If Funakoshi's linneage and time training is correct and true (as I understand it he was older and thus even more "old School" than Motobu) then I think his knowledge and understanding would have been at an exceptionally high level.
I think the kata he taught that were devised by Itosu and others contain the same tech's and principles as those practiced originally OR that they represent a systemisation of Karate methods (footage of Hohan Soken doing an identical chinto to that shown in Funakoshi's books confirms the authenticity for me and my own research into application confirms the applicable nature of the kata for me).
For me it is the kata and their lessons that are truly valuable. How you train around the kata depends on your individual goals and your common sense. I don't believe that any singular school or style can bring any individual to their maximum potential as each of us is different and after a point we need to direct our own development. Recognising that point and acting on it can be made harder by systems of hierarchical control that tie people into them by closing their thinking, but that's another debate.

The key point is you either believe Funakoshi was trained under Ankho Azato and Ankho Itosu (and thus their students) from early childhood continually into his adult life for something like 30 or 40 years under these (and other) top Karate Masters before coming to Japan to teach or even before Itosu began on his popularistion/school education program, and everything that goes with that level of instruction (a degree of exposure to karate that most today only dream of); Or you don't.
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It's Shotokan not Shoto-can't!!!

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#345131 - 06/08/07 04:11 PM Re: Funakoshi and modificiations [Re: Isshinryukid4life]
Victor Smith Offline
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Registered: 06/01/00
Posts: 3219
Loc: Derry, NH
Hi John,

My admiration of Isshinryu is next to none, but one of the most effective karate-ka I've ever known is a Shotokan stylist, whose father trained in Japan in the 1930's, and yes under Funakoshi Sensei. So I've heard the story somewhat differently.

I strongly recommend anyone wanting to understand some of Shotokan's history in depth to read Harry Cooks book on Shotokan (soon to be published in a 2nd edition).

Funakosh's art came out of his training in the 1800's. Karate was just karate as Itosu defined it to him (pre the Pinan kata develoment decades later).

Karate was always hard training. Was it a combat art in the 1800's I doubt it, the Okinawan's didn't have anyone to fight against (except drunks and wild kids). It's generally accepted nobody did kumite as we have it today in those days.

Then when Funakoshi's in his late 50's he moves to Japan and begins teaching 4 year programs for all intents and purposes. How much can university students get in 4 years, and on top of that he was moving around between the clubs at the different schools, and those who had a little training were actually runnign the programs.

Karate wasn't Japanese. It was taught in the Universities, but the students for the most part moved on when they graduated. More important things to do like conqure the world (yes I'm not terribly happy with the japanese historically to say the least).

He wasn't running a long term program for most, but a 4 year study. So the art fit the shape of the need.

Did Funakoshi ever spar? No idea, never heard of it anyway. He did believe karate-ka should not use their art, that it was to dangerous. After all it did contain makiwara training, and power does result from the striking.

That Motobou has a street rep, and fought one fight against someone who had no idea what he would do is true. How good was he, depends on what you're willing to believe. He certainly was effective in his range. He didn't appreciate Funakoshi's approach to spreading the art, but then as an instructor he was far less effective so that only a handfull were trained by him (which was the older Okinawan tradition). Funakoshi's answers were new.

The Shotokan people did experiement with sparring with Funakoshi's acceptance, though he later moved away from it. But Funakoshi by that time was more titularly in charge than in reality the leader. He was old, a figure. On his death the different factiosn within his stuents split many ways and many times, each with different visions.

BTW my friend who is super at sparring, never including sparring in his classes. His skills came from drills others don't use and in turn when he sparrs (such in his former torunament days) he uses actual kata techniques not just backfists and reverse punches, to great effect.

One true effect is vastly different approaches, either using sparring or never touching it and using other thnings, can still be very effective.

And for bunkai, well there never was bunkai on Okinawa, because technically the term was borrowed in Japan from other meanings and crafted for some of the Japanese emerging karate groups (and not all of them). On Okinawa most of the practice had very little terminology. Instead of calling it something they just made you feel it.

My friend has incredibly effective and deep Shotokan bunkai, but the student doesn't start it till after sho-dan. When I studied Isshinryu there were absolutely no kata applications studied. While I have personal deep studies, and have received trianing from the late Sherman Harrill on his application studies, I don't teach such till after black belt either.

Funakoshi obviously had some 'bunkai' for his kata. He showed some of it in his original 1935 version of the 'Karate-Do Koyan', though it was dropped later by the JKA.

Application study really requires great kata technique performance. As most of the Shotokan people were 4 year students its possible that their studies didn't get to that point, and as the JKA developed in such light, it just didnt happen for some reason, and their eventual dvelopment of kumite filled a gap.

BTW as I understand it Funakoshi never did go back to Okinawa, remaining in japan for the rest of his life. His son did travel and study with others a bit, but his life was cut short and it's difficult to say what he would have helped shape in time.

As the Shotokan developed, almost from the beginning, others had much to do with what took place. Those who became the first instant instructors of the different clubs had as much to do with what happened as Funakoshi Sensei.

My interest is only because I've tried hard to understand where my friend's abilities and training originated. BTW he's Indonesian and not a JKA member. His father was released from the Japanese navy when Indonesia was freed pre-WWII, and later was in the guerilla underground against the japanese in the war. And BTW his father used his Shotokan against the Japanes.

They would have a hard time not believing Shotokan was a combat art because they lived it.

I certainly don't know enought about the history. Just enough to keep looking and trying to understand what they did.

Different times different needs.

No one has to like them or the result. That's personal choice, but it does help to really research the issues to know how decisions are made, IMVHO.
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victor smith bushi no te isshinryu offering free instruction for 30 years

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#345132 - 06/08/07 05:41 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
Why wait till Shodan? Seems good to learn practical skills quick. kenpo does well with that.
_________________________
Member of DaJoGen MMA school under Dave Hagen and Team Chaos fight team under Denver Mangiyatan and Chris Toquero, ran out of Zanshin Martial Arts in Salem Oregon: http://www.zanshinarts.org/Home.aspx,

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#345133 - 06/08/07 07:11 PM Re: Funakoshi and modificiations [Re: Victor Smith]
Shonuff Offline
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Registered: 11/03/04
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Loc: London, UK
Excellent post Victor, very informative, Thanks.
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It's Shotokan not Shoto-can't!!!

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

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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.
_________________________
Member of DaJoGen MMA school under Dave Hagen and Team Chaos fight team under Denver Mangiyatan and Chris Toquero, ran out of Zanshin Martial Arts in Salem Oregon: http://www.zanshinarts.org/Home.aspx,

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

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.

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


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.
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#345146 - 07/09/07 08:30 PM Re: Funakoshi and modificiations [Re: Shonuff]
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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?

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#345147 - 07/09/07 09:26 PM Re: Funakoshi and modificiations [Re: Shonuff]
Ed_Morris Offline
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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.

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#345148 - 07/10/07 06:24 AM Re: Funakoshi and modificiations [Re: Ed_Morris]
Shonuff Offline
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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)
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#345149 - 07/10/07 07:15 AM Re: Funakoshi and modificiations [Re: Shonuff]
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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.

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#345150 - 07/10/07 01:26 PM Re: Funakoshi and modificiations [Re: Shonuff]
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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)
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#345151 - 07/10/07 05:49 PM Re: Funakoshi and modificiations [Re: Ed_Morris]
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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.

PS
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)
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#345152 - 07/10/07 06:17 PM Re: Funakoshi and modificiations [Re: Shonuff]
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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.

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

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?
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#345154 - 07/10/07 07:34 PM Re: Funakoshi and modificiations [Re: Victor Smith]
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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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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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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]
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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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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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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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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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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
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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
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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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#345164 - 07/11/07 01:54 PM Re: Funakoshi and modificiations [Re: cxt]
Shonuff Offline
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CXT

Good point!

In my thinking on the topic I was fixated on the Pinan kata and their use of cat stance and the fact that the Shorin ryu's are the main contenders when we talk about "original Okinawan karate". I hadn't considered the contemporaries of Itosu...

The problem with trying to compare Funakoshi's teachings to those of Itosu's contemporaries is simply that none of them (please correct me if I am wrong) seem to have passed on their own individual styles directly, i.e. people who trained under 2 or 3 of that generation of teachers did the style forming. People like Chotoku Kyan, Kenwa Mabuni, Chosin Chibana were all contemporaries of Funakoshi in that they trained under the same teachers, but all were considerably younger and trained for less time before developing they or their students developed their own styles.

I think it would be very interesting to split the Karate teachers of old into their respective generations and try and get a picture of the kind of karate they each practiced to get a feel for the differences between what they taught and what they learned.

I should add here that really I am simply arguing the evidence. I think it is equally likely that there was a change from neko-ashi dachi to kokutsudachi as the other way around. The thing is, though similar they are different methods meant to be used differently, both effective for what they each do. Which came first is really irrelevant as all it means is one teacher felt that his art would benefit from the adjustment.

But Ed is right, if we are talking about changes to a style we should be specific and the evidence, what little there is, gives no clear indication of which changed to which, only that Funakoshi was doing his thing before just about anyone else.

In Karate circles once you start down the road of 'changed from the original' especialy without concentrating on specifics, you leave opening for all the "Karate-do not karate-jutsu" "My style is better than your style" BS that closes peoples minds. I'm quite happy to hear all that stuff if it is properly supported, but usually it isn't.
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#345165 - 07/11/07 02:10 PM Re: Funakoshi and modificiations [Re: Shonuff]
cxt Offline
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Sho

I think you hit the nail on the head!

When I look at the various kata practiced by the Shorin systems--and Shito systems, even the Tomari varients--to me they ALL look different, some a little some a lot.

I suspect that if you lined up Itsou and Azato and watched them do the same kata--they would do it differently.

For someone like me that really enjoys the history of the art I find the tendency to "personalize" the kata terribly frustrating---makes perfect sense that they do it--just really irks me that there are so many variations of the same kata.

Drives me to distraction.

In Funkoshis case I keep going back to the fact that they could have sent anybody--but they picked Funakoshi.
We can speculate their motives, argue it back and forth, but at the end of the day, the facts are with all kinds of folks to choose from--they picked him.

Love him or hate him, that's still pretty impressive--to me anyway.


Edited by cxt (07/11/07 02:13 PM)
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#345166 - 07/11/07 02:27 PM Re: Funakoshi and modificiations [Re: Shonuff]
medulanet Offline
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Quote:

CXT

People like Chotoku Kyan, Kenwa Mabuni, Chosin Chibana were all contemporaries of Funakoshi in that they trained under the same teachers, but all were considerably younger and trained for less time before developing they or their students developed their own styles.






Please, check your facts. Kyan was born in 1870. Funakoshi was born in 1870 or maybe 1868. Kyan never officially developed a "style" he simply taught karate, frequented brothels, gambled, and kicked ass everywhere he went. I personally don't believe you can compare the level of Kyan's training to that of Funakoshi's when you consider Kyan's "practical" training as well as technical.

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#345167 - 07/11/07 02:31 PM Re: Funakoshi and modificiations [Re: cxt]
medulanet Offline
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Actually it is well known why Funakoshi was chosen. Funakoshi was chosen due to his education. Funakoshi was a well educated and cultured man. Think if they sent Kyan to represent Tode as he gambled, bought hookers, and got into fights in Japan, and taught the university students to do the same. Funakoshi's skill in karate was not exceptional, but competent. And his pious actions and cultured upbringing made him the perfect choice.

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#345168 - 07/11/07 07:27 PM Re: Funakoshi and modificiations [Re: medulanet]
Shonuff Offline
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Med,
My mistake, Kyan wasn't considerably younger. I added into my post about the students starting styles with him in mind though. That fact is actually quite key to the point I was making, i.e. we don't know how Kyan did Karate as all we have are arts created by his students, all of whom (please correct me if I am wrong) trained with other people as well before starting their styles. This means we can't really identify what practices were Kyans and what belonged to others. Saying that with Kyan having trained with almost everyone he was almost certainly schooled in all the variations of Karate that were around at the time. I would imagine that Kyan would either have taught different variations to different people depending on needs or he decided on what worked best for him and taught that.
I can quite well concede that Kyan was at least as well schooled as Funakoshi. However we have no idea what level of practical training either exponent had. All we know is that Kyan got into fights and apparently won. Good for Kyan. That was his life not his training or his knowledge.

As to the reasons for Funakoshi's appointment, I'm sure his education was a huge and deciding factor, but I've never actually read or seen any evidence of it. You seem pretty certain of the fact Med, would you be able to point me to a source?
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#345169 - 07/11/07 08:42 PM Re: Funakoshi and modificiations [Re: Shonuff]
Ed_Morris Offline
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conjecture, guessing and suppossing of what went where taught by whom and at which time....bla bla bla...how much does it help really?

The salient point of the thread is what were the modifications- or lets call them 'differences' since it's even contested Funakoshi made any changes at all. (although I note, nobody was really ready to argue that until I brought up specifics)

after people identify those differences...then it's an exercise of the pros and cons of each difference based on our collective experience.

THEN, that may shed light on the 'why'.

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#345170 - 07/11/07 08:43 PM Re: Funakoshi and modificiations [Re: Shonuff]
medulanet Offline
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I'll have to do more research as to where I got that from, however, one thing has always stuck out in my mind. In Funakoshi's book MY WAY OF LIFE he references his teachers' view of him as a karateka and as a man. On page 54 in the second to last paragraph Fuankoshi speaks about Itosu and Azato's reaction to his ability to avoid a fight by offerring his assailants cakes and not having to fight, he says, "I tried to smother my pride. Although the two masters had never praised a single kata that I executed during our practice sessions, they were praising me now, and mingled with the pride was an abiding sense of joy."

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#345171 - 07/11/07 08:51 PM Re: Funakoshi and modificiations [Re: medulanet]
Ed_Morris Offline
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while that example exemplified the 'Do' part of karate that Funakoshi is credited for largly defining/popularizing....doesn't really say much about the Art's principles themselves....it's a philosophy.

is this thread about Funakoshi's philosophy?

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#345172 - 07/11/07 09:02 PM Re: Funakoshi and modificiations [Re: Ed_Morris]
medulanet Offline
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No, but is is about his technique and/or modifications of what was taught to him. If he was never praised by his teachers for his kata, then maybe he was doing it wrong for many years. Has anyone ever had a student/classmate/senior who is a wonderful person and tries very hard. They are able to adequately apply what they have learned, however, their technique has just always been off and is mediocre at best, even after 20 years of training. Maybe Funakoshi's modfications of Azato and Itosu's art was unintentional. Maybe he simply lacked talent in karate, however, his being a wonderful person and teacher made up for this.

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#345173 - 07/12/07 02:12 AM Re: Funakoshi and modificiations [Re: Ed_Morris]
jude33 Offline
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Quote:



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?











My thoughts

http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=kJu0YECQIDk

Isnt the principle on the opening of the above kata to use the cat stance to get inside an attacker then into naihanchi( rising /twisting hip action) for the counter attack? the front hand blocking/striking the limb on the way in the rear hand blocking also a possable strike? Requires fast foot work and agility?

http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=6Hc1NMdjU9U

Using kokutsu dachi(or slight variation) to pull back after a grab attempt or even evasion to the rear/side as opposed to getting the body full inside the opponents limbs? Might be considered as not as much agility required? There for might be said that different physiques/ require different methods?

Two different uses for the same technique?

There is seemingly another version of jion(with lineage back to okinawa) created at the same time and other than the one thought to be created by funokoshi.

The one I am studying(traceable lineage okinawa) is said to have been modified and is said to be 90 percent simular to the version created at that time.(confusing all these kata changes drives me nuts)

It seems to me to be using kokutsu dachi(slight variation on the foot placement as opposed to the one in the shotokan kata) and cat stance.

But I am a student and like anything else in life I suppose proof is required.I will look harder at the kata.

Just my thoughs again. There seems to be a specific stance then logicaly variations on the stance that would then border on being named differently by anyone who cares to.

I suppose in a fight variations will occur.

It is said that Funokoshi had other teachers. Namely pechan. Isnt that the Okinawan equavilant of the samuri?

Perhaps that is where his influence came from. But mere speculation from myself.

Just my thoughts



Jude


Edited by jude33 (07/12/07 02:59 AM)

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#345174 - 07/12/07 04:02 AM Re: Funakoshi and modificiations [Re: medulanet]
jude33 Offline
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Quote:

No, but is is about his technique and/or modifications of what was taught to him. If he was never praised by his teachers for his kata, then maybe he was doing it wrong for many years. Has anyone ever had a student/classmate/senior who is a wonderful person and tries very hard. They are able to adequately apply what they have learned, however, their technique has just always been off and is mediocre at best, even after 20 years of training. Maybe Funakoshi's modfications of Azato and Itosu's art was unintentional. Maybe he simply lacked talent in karate, however, his being a wonderful person and teacher made up for this.




My thoughts.

Or maybe he took more influence from another of his teachers then the two you mentioned didnt approve therefore no praise as such.
If I am correct in my studies then it leads me to believe that the pechan teacher/tomari te (that has been said he had might have had) had more influeunce. Considering as well his art was aiming for Japan.

From my limiteds studies( and I need to study more) I am reaching a conclusion that karate can be practiced in many different ways. There were so many different infleunces in the melting pot just like kushanku seems so diffent than Jion.



Maybe the fact that his other teachers didnt approve
The budo element of samuri( Okinawan pechan?)
Did the pechans study budo/weopons as did their mainland counter parts?
The fact that he must have benefited from taking his art to Japan was the reason he did what he did?

Either way the end result seemed popular.



Im just speculating.

Jude

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#345175 - 07/12/07 04:22 AM Re: Funakoshi and modificiations [Re: jude33]
medulanet Offline
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Actually, I believe that he trained most extensively with Itosu and Azato. I also believe they were his first teachers. Therefore, no matter how much influence any other teachers had, his karate was apparently not praised by them when they were his only teachers.

Who exactly were Funakoshi's teachers who had more influence upon him than Itosu and Azato? He trained a little bit with Matsumura. Do you believe that Itosu would not praise Matsumura's techniques if he were performing them well?

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#345176 - 07/12/07 05:18 AM Re: Funakoshi and modificiations [Re: medulanet]
Shonuff Offline
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Med, the impression I got when I read that (I don't have the book anymore) was of hard nosed teachers who didn't give praise as opposed to GF being useless. Either option is possible though. I would imagine he was trying to convey the former as it would seem unlikely he would tell the world his teachers thought he was useless... then again he could have been that blissfully ignorant sort who lied to himself about how he was viewed by others.

Thing is we still don't know who actually made modifications or changes or indeed if any were made at all. Seeing as we are not discussing which Okinawan Karateka could beat up the others I always felt that Funakoshi's skill was always much less important than his knowledge and his ability to teach. I for one am more knowledgeable than I am currently able, I hate to think where I'll be at 50+ years old.
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#345177 - 07/12/07 05:41 AM Re: Funakoshi and modificiations [Re: Ed_Morris]
Shonuff Offline
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Quote:

conjecture, guessing and suppossing of what went where taught by whom and at which time....bla bla bla...how much does it help really?

The salient point of the thread is what were the modifications- or lets call them 'differences' since it's even contested Funakoshi made any changes at all. (although I note, nobody was really ready to argue that until I brought up specifics)

after people identify those differences...then it's an exercise of the pros and cons of each difference based on our collective experience.

THEN, that may shed light on the 'why'.




Ed,
you propose an interesting debate, but much like Victor with his Bubishi discussions it is doomed to silent failure. I have been trying to have this debate, a comparative stylistic analysis, ever since I started posting on MA forums. No one ever wants to know and when people do post they invariably have blinkers on and ignore any explanation of an unfamiliar technique in favour of "I can't see how it can possibly work" "karate-do not Karate-jutsu" "my styles better than your style" etc etc etc.

That said I am completely willing to give it another go. I would suggest we first need to look at the same kata in different systems and mark out the differences, then discuss application potential. I think trying to find pro's and con's will just cause the thread to degenerate as no one will want to admit cons, claiming "you just don't understand my style" "Karate-jutsu not Karate-do" "my styles better than your style" etc etc etc.

I'd recomend that seeing as folks are already thinking about it and though there are lots of versions they all have the same known source we should look at Pinan Shodan/Hiean Nidan. All in favour...??
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#345178 - 07/12/07 06:04 AM Re: Funakoshi and modificiations [Re: Shonuff]
Ed_Morris Offline
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I'm getting unclear messages here...

1. It is or is not a concensus that Funakoshi even made any modifications? This would seem to be the first hurdle to illustrate, or else there is not really much of a discussion beyond that.

2. knowledge and ability to teach, justifies/legitimizes technical modifications ? ie: Funakoshi was a great teacher and highly respected, therefore any modifications he may have made, are accepted ?

3. If changes were made, they are assumed to be for change in tactic and/or fighting range? so if other okinawan styles have a close-range efficiency, and Shotokan is a strategy geered for a bit of a longer range...is it logical to suppose that IF changes were made, they were made for that reason? in other words, changed for range optimization.

In order to interpret kata and integrate it with 2-person drills...aren't one of the first things you must determine is the assumed range of those principles?

if the assumed range changes, then the body mechanics change ...subsequently the economy of movement in kata would also change in order to preserve those principles. If 'anything can be interpreted as anything', then whats the reason of having any difference to what you were taught?

is that reasonable ?

my assumption is that each style/system addresses slightly different questions ...as a result, the answers change however large or slight. In order to preserve those answers, the body mechanics preserve the principles - such as in kata. In other words, if you change something from how you were taught...you'd better have a functional reason for doing so, otherwise the changes are arbitrary.

conceivably, there are reasons for changes that have little to do with function. maybe a person doing the changes is going for a certain 'look and feel'...such as to produce difference for distiction - possible motivations for doing that could be to have a different product, cultural identity, etc.
or, conceivably, changes could be philosophical/symbolic. the question to ask when a philosophy supports a tactic is, did the philosophy come first or did the tactic?


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#345179 - 07/12/07 07:17 AM Re: Funakoshi and modificiations [Re: Shonuff]
Ed_Morris Offline
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we crossed posted and I didn't see your last until after.

If it doesn't bother anyone in the thread that I've never studied Shotokan, then sure...I'm game to your proposal. hey, I wish more Shorin-based people would chime in on the Goju threads.

Quote:

Chojun Miyagi: There is an opinion insisting that there are two Ryu or styles in karate, namely, Shorin-Ryu and Shorei-Ryu. I think such an opinion is wrong or false, as there is no evidence at all. However, if we have two styles in karate, we can categorize them by their teaching methods.



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#345180 - 07/12/07 09:33 AM Re: Funakoshi and modificiations [Re: Ed_Morris]
Barad Offline
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Ed,

Somewhere back there on page 4 you asked for views on application of the opening movement Heian Nidan-does what I wrote make any sense to you?

B.

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#345181 - 07/12/07 01:00 PM Re: Funakoshi and modificiations [Re: Shonuff]
jude33 Offline
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Quote:


you propose an interesting debate, but much like Victor with his Bubishi discussions it is doomed to silent failure. I have been trying to have this debate, a comparative stylistic analysis, ever since I started posting on MA forums. No one ever wants to know and when people do post they invariably have blinkers on and ignore any explanation of an unfamiliar technique in favour of "I can't see how it can possibly work" "karate-do not Karate-jutsu" "my styles better than your style" etc etc etc.

That said I am completely willing to give it another go. I would suggest we first need to look at the same kata in different systems and mark out the differences, then discuss application potential. I think trying to find pro's and con's will just cause the thread to degenerate as no one will want to admit cons, claiming "you just don't understand my style" "Karate-jutsu not Karate-do" "my styles better than your style" etc etc etc.

I'd recomend that seeing as folks are already thinking about it and though there are lots of versions they all have the same known source we should look at Pinan Shodan/Hiean Nidan. All in favour...??




Hi

I think it might get interesting if the more advanced kata were also discussed(but not to advanced) considering Kanazawa sensie and other high grades have included katas in their curriculem that are also in goju etc.




http://video.google.co.uk/videoplay?doci...h&plindex=7

http://video.google.co.uk/videoplay?doci...h&plindex=7

These seem to lose the stereo type.

I think karate consists of nuts and bolts. The materials are there its a case of putting them together that seems to be the difficult part. I personaly have no interest in styles only what I think works to my benefit.

Jude

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#345182 - 07/12/07 06:34 PM Re: Funakoshi and modificiations [Re: Barad]
Ed_Morris Offline
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Quote:

Ed,

Somewhere back there on page 4 you asked for views on application of the opening movement Heian Nidan-does what I wrote make any sense to you?

B.




I read you applications again...I can't visualize where your attacks are coming from.

one intepretation I have for the opening of pinan sho is this: offlining to the outside an attack from the front using simultaneous guard and overhand jab to the head followed immediately with pulling the head down into an uppercut. this all applies nearly at clinch-range without pause - one motion.

kokutsu dachi for a close-in app like that, doesn't make sense. doesn't make sense to use a grounded structure when off-lining or parrying. grounded structure is best only right at the .01 second of striking impact.

so the neko-ashii dachi is only during the offline strike - the grounded weight drop happens during the guided uppercut.

soften the target...then drop it.

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#345183 - 07/12/07 06:50 PM Re: Funakoshi and modificiations [Re: Ed_Morris]
Shonuff Offline
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Hello again Ed,

Quote:

1. It is or is not a concensus that Funakoshi even made any modifications? This would seem to be the first hurdle to illustrate, or else there is not really much of a discussion beyond that.




I do not concede that Funakoshi made any modifications. I believe he went to Japan teaching what Itosu and Azato wanted him to teach. Others may disagree, but a concesus based on feelings and opinions is worthless. Sure you could have a debate, but you would be ignoring the fact that there is no evidence to support the basic premise for the debate.

Quote:

3. If changes were made, they are assumed to be for change in tactic and/or fighting range? so if other okinawan styles have a close-range efficiency, and Shotokan is a strategy geered for a bit of a longer range...is it logical to suppose that IF changes were made, they were made for that reason? in other words, changed for range optimization.




I shall clarify my position on this. The kata of Shotokan teach a range of fighting principles. Different kata teach different principles. Some kata are based around long range combat. Some are based around close quarters. Most I feel are based around BOTH as range is a constantly changing factor in an actual fight.
The BULK of the physical technique of standard modern Shotokan is most easily applied without adjustment at a mid to long range with emphasis on closing to finish. HOWEVER there is plenty of technique designed for close quarter combat practiced everyday in Shotokan dojo's and these are usually the movements that curious students seek applications for. This does not represent the range of principles and concepts available in the Kata of the art. It is this way because one aspect of the arts potential was emphasised over others when the school was in its infancy. Superficial changes to the external technique changed how exponents chose to use those techniques, not what they were for.
Now here's the part that will really mess with your heads and many will disagree with it.
The mechanics of the art when employed at long range are NO DIFFERENT to when it is employed at close range.

As I said this is only my opinion I cannot speak for other Shotokan practitioners.

Quote:

conceivably, there are reasons for changes that have little to do with function. maybe a person doing the changes is going for a certain 'look and feel'...such as to produce difference for distiction - possible motivations for doing that could be to have a different product, cultural identity, etc.
or, conceivably, changes could be philosophical/symbolic. the question to ask when a philosophy supports a tactic is, did the philosophy come first or did the tactic?




Yes all of this is conceivable. Assuming of course changes were made.
As there is no way to know if a change was made and even less way to know why it may have been made if it was then I would suggest that the concievable reasons for change that you mentioned are considered only when a valid effective functional reason can not be found for a technique.

Of course in the case of such a movement, where the evidence was lacking as to the techniques relative age in relation to other similarly contexted movements, I would have to ask whether it was not equally conceivable that the fact of the techniques seeming obscure inapplicableness may not have been cause for the other later derived arts to change what they were doing leaving the art in question with a historical relic.

And so we press on, analysing differences in technique to Pinan Shodan/Heian Nidan.

Shotokan
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iHS9Y0_0vsU

Matsubayashi Ryu
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FNzcUfnGJyI

Dentokan Shorin ryu
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jWX6T0Ip3NU

Shito ryu
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AnQ7uc_H7tc

Uchinadi???
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0lgjL7yApfQ

Okinawa Kenpo??
http://video.google.co.uk/videoplay?doci...h&plindex=4

Seidokan Shorin/Motobu ryu
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OXnqEW2sMuc

Kyodokan Shorin
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p_DKEJDFhsk

Sadly I couldn't find any footage of Funakoshi in the 20's doing kata a la Karate Jutsu. Let me know what you think the biggest differences are.
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#345184 - 07/12/07 07:12 PM Re: Funakoshi and modificiations [Re: Shonuff]
medulanet Offline
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Well, if we really want to analyze Funakoshi's modifications to kata, I think we should use Naihanchi Shodan since Funakoshi didn't learn Pinan from Itosu, but from Mabuni I believe. I consider Mabuni a contemporary of Fuankoshi rather than a teacher of great influence. In addition teachings directly from Itosu are closer to the source. You will also find footage of Funakoshi performing Naihanchi in 1924 on Youtube as well.

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#345185 - 07/13/07 04:22 AM Re: Funakoshi and modificiations [Re: medulanet]
Shonuff Offline
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I think Ed wanted to see the difference between cat stance and back stance which naihanchi is lacking but I have no objection. Anyone want to put up the vid links?
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#345186 - 07/13/07 05:29 AM Re: Funakoshi and modificiations [Re: Ed_Morris]
Barad Offline
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Posts: 427
Ed,

The attack I had in mind was a hook from the front, defence on the inside.

You are right, traditional, long kokutsu dachi makes no sense at all in this situation but a short back stance, feet in line but weight forward does, not quite like cat stance but similar (except for the weight forward but I think you need the weight and sliding motion behind the strikes). For me, long back stance is for show/exercise, not application. That said, traditional cat stance feels quite flimsy, hence the hybrid I describe above. As a defensive posture bringing back the weight prior to a knee strike or intermediate stance before stepping into sanchin dachi though, it seems to me to have more use.

I will try and work through your application but as you say it is hard to visualise using words alone.

B.


Edited by Barad (07/13/07 05:33 AM)

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#345187 - 07/13/07 07:39 AM Re: Funakoshi and modificiations [Re: Barad]
Shonuff Offline
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Barad,

The main application I use of H2's opening movement is similar to yours. In it the rear (right) hand blocks age uke and grabs against a right punch from an attacker at the left. As this happens you step past the opponents lead leg in back stance and either left uppercut to ribs/chin or left hammerfist to face. I use a short back stance and for all such close quarter applications the short back stance is better, although in this instance the long stance can be useful if you wish to get behind the opponent.
I feel the long kokutsudachi is only useful if you are using modern JKA tactics (or at least what I understand to be modern JKA tactics), i.e. block and move well out of range, counter by shifting your body into the opponent as they move to close the distance. One's whole fighting method must be geared around long range to use long back stance in combat and long range fighting, as with any method, has its flaws and weaknesses.
I think that the biggest problem that a tournament focus created for Shotokan is that it stopped people learning to use the long-fist method that Shotokan evolved into. Forget the other stuff in the kata, the basic structrue of of JKA Shotokan is a fine fighting method in its self. I've met very few people who know how to use it.
As a result the long kokutsudachi is just exercise and stylistics to most.
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#345188 - 07/13/07 08:11 AM Re: Funakoshi and modificiations [Re: Shonuff]
Barad Offline
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At last someone understands what I am talking about!

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#345189 - 07/13/07 11:24 AM Re: Funakoshi and modificiations [Re: Shonuff]
oldman Offline
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#345190 - 07/13/07 11:51 AM Re: Funakoshi and modificiations [Re: Barad]
oldman Offline
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Here are a couple of variations that are pretty easy to understand and train. My stye is very similar to shotokan and is practiced very much like the shotokan films I've seen from the fourties and fifties. Straight forward applications are taught. My instuctor is not very interested in bunkai but comes from a paradigm of generation power for strikes and kicks from proper biomechanics. I have had to explore the subject myself over time.

It would be Ideal to have a teacher who had this knowledge and would probably be a more efficient way of learning. Shifting my thinking from a block, punch ,kick mindset to a what was the "intent of the creator" mindset helped me to see what was possible. I just continue to poke and prod and plod along finding things as I go. The change in my thinking reinvigorated my training by both giving me an interesting puzzle, continual realizations. I also have a growing respect and admiration for the designers of the forms.

My current position on things is that a Shotokan/ Funikoshi styled approach to training provides a physical challenge that exercises the body in a full range of motion in a way that is asthetically beautiful. I believe it can provide basic self defense in a resonable period of time via the punch kick block paradigm and that the art reveals itsef to people over time as they continue in it. The time spent researching digging and practicing make the art personal, and a reflection of the individual, allowing the practioner to be both part of a system (Classical Mess) and free from it at the same time.

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#345191 - 07/13/07 05:57 PM Re: Funakoshi and modificiations [Re: Ed_Morris]
jude33 Offline
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Quote:

Quote:

Ed,

Somewhere back there on page 4 you asked for views on application of the opening movement Heian Nidan-does what I wrote make any sense to you?

B.




I read you applications again...I can't visualize where your attacks are coming from.

one intepretation I have for the opening of pinan sho is this: offlining to the outside an attack from the front using simultaneous guard and overhand jab to the head followed immediately with pulling the head down into an uppercut. this all applies nearly at clinch-range without pause - one motion.





I think I can see your point about offlining. I think one of the reasons that pinan shodan was used was to teach off lining using cat stance ( 45 degress in the kata) The part where the bunkia is a jump (while blocking) to the side(using cat stance) and kick to the attackers thigh or wherever can be reached subject to where the attacker is.
Which is ok for people who are agile.

I think the not so agile types would push back offline using kokutsu dachi and not so much spring.

If I am understanding the technique you described correctly then that might apply to two thirds of the technique but what about the last part in the kata?

http://video.google.co.uk/videoplay?docid=1503318620275877666

Interesting that this style(medulants style I think) doesnt use naihanchi in the opening technique?

Where as wado/shito does

http://video.google.co.uk/videoplay?docid=-8026623585364729799

http://video.google.co.uk/videoplay?docid=-8026623585364729799

I think its because of a different learning curve maybe?

Jude.

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#345192 - 07/13/07 06:08 PM Re: Funakoshi and modificiations [Re: medulanet]
jude33 Offline
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Quote:

Well, if we really want to analyze Funakoshi's modifications to kata, I think we should use Naihanchi Shodan since Funakoshi didn't learn Pinan from Itosu, but from Mabuni I believe. I consider Mabuni a contemporary of Fuankoshi rather than a teacher of great influence. In addition teachings directly from Itosu are closer to the source. You will also find footage of Funakoshi performing Naihanchi in 1924 on Youtube as well.








http://video.google.co.uk/videoplay?doci...h&plindex=6

Seems a lot of use of hip torque (gamaku being the name for the middle body muscles ?)

So the technique I described for the opening of pinan shodan would be to use cat stance to spring offline from the attack to get inside the opponent blocking and striking with the front hand the rear hand used to chamber/
gaurd from a second strike then strike in naihanchi stance using the hip torque to power the last strike found in the technique. More than likely other techniques would follow.

Jude



http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YNrslr9LWIw

Totaly different ball game namely poss strike/ foot sweep
then a throw in there. Combined with the moving to a 45 degree angle offside using back stance from shotokans version of the kata.

Just my thoughts

Jude


Edited by jude33 (07/13/07 06:37 PM)

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#345193 - 07/13/07 06:29 PM Re: Funakoshi and modificiations [Re: oldman]
Barad Offline
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Posts: 427
Hi Oldman,

Although you end up with the hammer fist strike and throw I described before, I had a couple of questions. Although I have seen the turn behind used against a grab perfectly well, why in the second picture is the hand over the forehead? It seems to me that if it is doing nothing to attack or defend, then it should be in guard? However if it is shown there in the kata, which it obviosuly is, then it has a meaning. Also, how do you feel about the distancing as the pictures show a conventional kokutsudachi? To me it looks too long for the encounter. Good artwork though!

Thanks,

B.

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#345194 - 07/13/07 06:42 PM Re: Funakoshi and modificiations [Re: jude33]
jude33 Offline
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Shotokans version of the pinan shodan kata that should have read.

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#345195 - 07/13/07 08:11 PM Re: Funakoshi and modificiations [Re: jude33]
medulanet Offline
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Its hard to compare Matsubayashi Naihanchi to that of Fuankoshi since Matsubayashi's Naihanchi are of a lineage seperate from Itosu's. Again, it is more like comparing the difference between karate from Shuri(Funakoshi) and that of Tomari(Matsubayashi). Although the techniques may be similar, their execution is very different. Much of Matsubayashi's kata uses the old way karate was practiced in Tomari. This is largely due to Nagamine's early teachers, such as Iha Kodatsu, top student of Kosaku Matsumora.

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#345196 - 07/13/07 08:34 PM Re: Funakoshi and modificiations [Re: Barad]
oldman Offline
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Barad,
In the second illustration there are two reasons why the arm is up. First some people are so literal that if I drew it in a downward position someone is guaranteed to say "Thats not what the form looks like"

Now the practical reason from my perspective...

If you are grabbed by the shoulder from behind you do not automatically know which hand is grabbing you and if the other hand is coming at your head.

If you imagine that the attacked in the second drawing grabs
with his right hand rather than the left, most likely he will be punching you with his other hand.

raising both hands is natural and is an instinctive way of protecting the head. That happens whether or not a person is trained. When you are practicing kata you often strengthening and refining your natural reflex mechanisms to response purposfully and with power in a way that is not based on thought. It's not "He grabs me so I'll do this then this then this. It's more "Holy $hit Bam BAM BAM"

About kokutsudachi I don't know japanese terminology so you lost me. Again they are just drawings of ideas and not so literal.
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#345197 - 07/13/07 08:38 PM Re: Funakoshi and modificiations [Re: medulanet]
jude33 Offline
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Quote:

Its hard to compare Matsubayashi Naihanchi to that of Fuankoshi since Matsubayashi's Naihanchi are of a lineage seperate from Itosu's. Again, it is more like comparing the difference between karate from Shuri(Funakoshi) and that of Tomari(Matsubayashi). Although the techniques may be similar, their execution is very different. Much of Matsubayashi's kata uses the old way karate was practiced in Tomari. This is largely due to Nagamine's early teachers, such as Iha Kodatsu, top student of Kosaku Matsumora.




Hi Medulant.
Thats interesting. I thought from my studies that tomari-te was no longer in existance? It had been incorperated into shuri-te. Anyway its good to know it still exists. I shall look harder at the style. It seems from the little that I have observed to be very fast, almost whipping and agile. Some stances very high. A lot of emphasis on the hips and rising in stances such as naihanchi etc.

Jude

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#345198 - 07/13/07 10:27 PM Re: Funakoshi and modificiations [Re: jude33]
WuXing Offline
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the only really shuri te kata in Matsubayashi Ryu is Gojushiho (Nagamine learned from Kyan who learned it from Matsumura/Itosu), and pinan of course from Itosu. The rest are from the tomari side of the lineage, either through Kodatsu Iha or Kyan (who's teachers were mainly tomari men, Matsumora and Oyadomari and Maeda). Chatan Yara no Kusanku, Oyadomari no Passai, Wanshu, Wankan, Rohai, Kyan's Chinto (which he learned from Matsumora).

On the Okinawan Karate site, they actually give Matsubayashi Ryu as the example of tomari te.
http://www.wonder-okinawa.jp/023/eng/008/index.html

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#345199 - 07/14/07 06:34 AM Re: Funakoshi and modificiations [Re: Isshinryukid4life]
jude33 Offline
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Quote:

1Karate-do Is not the same as the shotokan of today,& There's a prettyygood chance that we may never know what Funakoshi's karatedo again. That's a positive.

2 Funakoshi, never sparred a day in his life,& In his lifetime niether did his students,until sometime after his death.

3 Funakoshi's,bunkai was lacking when he came to japan,& I'm speculating that's why he went back to Okinawa.

4 Before funakoshi transferred/taught the he himself learned in Okinawa,They were more combative,but what he taught these same kata's in Japan they became recreational.

However, Funakoshi's students IMO made shotokan more aggressive ,they still named the style in honor of there teacher,As Shoto was his pen name.

Quote:

In Funaokshi Ginchin's place I don't think he left one thing out.




He left out plenty,but i'd say it was for political reasons though.





Just my thoughts.
Quote
After Master Funakoshi's death in 1957, Shigeru Egami began his mission trying to change Karate's ill reputation as a "deadly martial art", something O-sensei tried to do all his life. His idea was to clearly state that Karate-do is a fight against yourself, with self-sacrifice, thus the philosophical and didactic aspects of the art could be used and complement all other life activities. The essential concept was self-fulfillment, above the fighting abilities. (Even so, one must not think Master Egami was a lousy technician nor a low level budoka, quite the contrary). As a direct consequence of this concept, Shigeru Egami sensei eliminated many concepts about victory in combat, replacing them with the search of physical harmony and an equilibrium of the human being through the practice of Karate-do.

http://www.shotokai.com/ingles/bios/egamieng.html



Founder of the Wado-Ryu style, sensei Ohtsuka began martial arts training at six in Shindo Yoshin-Ryu Jujutsu, a traditional Japanese martial art form which modern judo was derived. By 1921, at the relatively young age of 29, he was awarded the coveted menkyo-kaiden, designating him the successor as master of this style. A year later he began karate training under Gichin Funakoshi, the man who introduced karate to Japan from Okinawa. He became one of Funakoshi's senior students but eventually traveled to Okinawa to learn more deeply of karate from masters who had instructed Funakoshi. It was his belief that Funakoshi had over-simplified and over-modified several karate techniques and katas in the interests of teaching large groups of beginners. Sensei Ohtsuka combined his new knowledge of karate with several of his own adaptations from Japanese Bushido (the way of the warrior) martial arts to form Wado-Ryu karate.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1FxRfd_0mYs&mode=related&search=


Is shotokai more or less how funokoshi practiced his art?
It looks as though you are correct.


Im not knocking shotokan. I still think it has some good stuff in it. Just looking at the hows and whys.


Jude


Edited by jude33 (07/14/07 06:40 AM)

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#345200 - 07/16/07 06:35 AM Re: Funakoshi and modificiations [Re: Ed_Morris]
Shonuff Offline
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Quote:

one intepretation I have for the opening of pinan sho is this: offlining to the outside an attack from the front using simultaneous guard and overhand jab to the head followed immediately with pulling the head down into an uppercut. this all applies nearly at clinch-range without pause - one motion.

kokutsu dachi for a close-in app like that, doesn't make sense. doesn't make sense to use a grounded structure when off-lining or parrying. grounded structure is best only right at the .01 second of striking impact.

so the neko-ashii dachi is only during the offline strike - the grounded weight drop happens during the guided uppercut.

soften the target...then drop it.





Ed, I'm having trouble visualising this.
If understand you someone is attacking from the front with a left punch.
Defender parries with the right while hoping right? and jabs with the left at the attacker in cat stance?
Then grabs head and pulls it into a right uppercut.

Not sure if this is precisely what you mean but I got up and gave it a try. The cat stance did feel slightly more comfortable than the back stance so I can concede for the particular movement type your talking about cat stance is probably better.

However I plan on illustrating where kokutsudachi can be used in the same way and what the actual difference is between them, although you can see from what Barad and I described there is a simple difference in the prefered use of the stances.


The equivalent "offlining" application using the back stance (of which I am quite fond) goes like this:
Attacker comes in from the front with a big left punch
Defender raises a right age uke to parry
at the same time he raises a left ude uke to clear the punch and grab the upper arm (shirt sleeve etc).
At the same time, step past the attack to the outside, turning into a left short back stance facing the opponents body,
OR Depending how close they are and how deep they have punched,
Step out to the side a few inches with the right foot and turn into a left back stance.

(As you can see all these steps happen at once but it's far less complicated than it seems. Just perform H2's opening move by pivoting on the left foot and moving the right).

Once you are out of the way of the punch go straight into the uppercut (one continuous movement) to the kidney's/floating rib/side of the neck/face.

Comparing the two I found cat stance was more comfortable for using the lead hand to attack, back stance was more comfortable for using the reverse hand. Earlier I mentioned that one of the main uses of kokutsudachi was to use the lead hand to parry and control in close while the reverse hand dropped bombs, this is an example of it.

I can certainly see the appeal of the cat stance method though, it is much easier to use as far as offlining goes. Not so good for slipping though. Apples and oranges.

Med, is your Pinan sho opening application the same as Ed's?
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#345201 - 07/16/07 03:38 PM Re: Funakoshi and modificiations [Re: Shonuff]
medulanet Offline
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Quote:

Med, is your Pinan sho opening application the same as Ed's?




If he is still doing Matsubayashi Pinan then yes it is, more or less. The first move in Pinan Shodan is using tai sabaki and shifting off line and inside. It can be to the ouside, or directly inside. You parry an attack as you close distance and either strike with the back fist, or use the chest block to block a second incoming strike. The then head block either upper cuts the head or underhooks the opponents arm if you are inside. If you are outside its like a shovel hook/uppercut combo to the ribs/kidneys. One reason for cat stance is also a potential front kick to the inner thigh/groin or knee strike to the stomack, groin, inner/outer thigh. I like to call it tenderizer. I like use it on all my meat.

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#345202 - 07/16/07 06:07 PM Re: Funakoshi and modificiations [Re: medulanet]
Shonuff Offline
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Loc: London, UK
Funny you should mention the kick as in my analysis both cat and back stance are designed to signify the use of kick when found in kata. I find the two techniques become even more alike when you start looking at them in this way.

I basically look at it like this: Back stance signifies a very low kick to the ankle shin or knee, Cat stance goes to the knee thigh or groin/stomach, Crane stance kicks between the groin and head and a knee raise in kata can be interpreted as any leg technique as required. Of course this template is primarily for Shotokan kata which make use of both cat and back stance as well as the others mentioned.
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#345203 - 07/20/07 04:06 AM Re: Funakoshi and modificiations [Re: Shonuff]
Shonuff Offline
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Are there any other differences between Funakoshi's karate and the later derived Shorin ryu schools that warrant discussion?
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#345204 - 07/23/07 07:27 PM Re: Funakoshi and modificiations [Re: Shonuff]
Shonuff Offline
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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FNzcUfnGJyI

I'm not sure if you call it kosa dachi or not, the position that occurs at 26 and 28 seconds. The practitioner crosses his legs, weight sunk while blocking on the reverse side then kicking.

This seems to me like one helluva telegraph, there's not much else he can do from that position other than kick. Not to mention how weak his balance must be while trying to recieve the weight of an attack (I know he's supposed to deflect without taking the weight, but he's got high hopes if he thinks he can do that everytime).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=36pI7IRLqFs

As you can see in the shotokan version a stable balanced shoulder width stance is maintained throughout the sequence meaning that the reverse side shoulder is always bolstered by the rear leg and any kind of movement can be made as opposed to just kick.

Can anyone explain why Nagimine changed the more structurally and combatively sound front stance to this less balanced cross legged posture?
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#345205 - 07/23/07 08:53 PM Re: Funakoshi and modificiations [Re: Shonuff]
medulanet Offline
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Registered: 09/03/03
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Loc: Phoenix, Arizona USA
Changed? There is no change. This is the old way. One, this is a defense to a groin kick by trapping the leg either on its way up or after it connects (to give you time to recover while he gets his leg out). As you tie up the leg you also tie up the arms. It is also tai sabaki with a leg tech. It is not just a kick but the kosa dachi implies a knee strike before the kick. I don't know about Shotokan, but in Matsubayashi our "stances" are not static and we don't "stay" in a stance or "fight" from a stance, but flow through them. This is the softness that becomes hard in shorin ryu. Block soft and strike hard. Or sometimes block hard and strike soft.

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#345206 - 07/24/07 06:57 PM Re: Funakoshi and modificiations [Re: medulanet]
Shonuff Offline
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Registered: 11/03/04
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Loc: London, UK
Quote:

Changed? There is no change. This is the old way.



As evidenced by?
It's easy to bandy about conjecture and believe comfortable assumptions, but just know that from now on I will challenge any such conjecture until someone produces evidence to back up their claims.

Quote:

One, this is a defense to a groin kick by trapping the leg either on its way up or after it connects (to give you time to recover while he gets his leg out).




Roshambo anyone? I'd have to see this in action to put any faith in it, but I'm sure it works for you.

Quote:

I don't know about Shotokan,



Good of you to admit as much.
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#345207 - 07/24/07 07:16 PM Re: Funakoshi and modificiations [Re: Shonuff]
medulanet Offline
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Registered: 09/03/03
Posts: 2142
Loc: Phoenix, Arizona USA
Quote:

As evidenced by?
It's easy to bandy about conjecture and believe comfortable assumptions, but just know that from now on I will challenge any such conjecture until someone produces evidence to back up their claims.




No proof, just Nagamine's lineage and his commitment to the preservation of classical okinawan karate. Just as there is no proof that Funakoshi did what he did nor studied with whom he studied with. Did he really study with Itosu and Asato for all those years, or for just one or two, fabricated a story and used it to gain noteriety in Japan? This may explain why Motobu states he never heard of Funakoshi when he was in Okinawa. Now my point is not to question Funakoshi's writings, but it is to remind you that the only thing we know for sure is what we have seen with our own eyes and what we have personally experienced. Actually I think you are on to something. I may start challenging a thing or two myself.

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#345208 - 07/25/07 06:13 PM Re: Funakoshi and modificiations [Re: medulanet]
Shonuff Offline
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Registered: 11/03/04
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Quote:

Now my point is not to question Funakoshi's writings, but it is to remind you that the only thing we know for sure is what we have seen with our own eyes and what we have personally experienced.




Finally, now we are getting somewhere

Honestly I couldn't care less about linneage, history or any of that crap (and it is crap; the refuse of more than a century of fanaticism and tribalism banqueting on mythology). My interests lie in what we have before us not what might have been.

The thing is Karate discussions seem always to be muddied by some vague notion of originality or authenticity that is all based on conjecture. This thread is entitled Funakoshi and modifications and yet there is no evidence at all that Funakoshi modified anything other than a few names and maybe some teaching practices.

Simply put we do not know and we will never know just what went on in Okinawa and Japan 100 years ago. We have nothing but our faith that what we practice now is any older than the person currently teaching us, or that it hasn't its self been changed innumerable times to get to where it is today. The only reason Shotokan is picked on is because it is the single best documented Karate system around and thus it gives people more to examine.

This is why the final debate that Ed brought up was an interesting one for me (and why med, I enjoy alot of your contributions) despite an obvious bias: It's about what we do, not who did what.
I would discuss all day openly and freely the differences between all the systems of Karate represented on this forum, the things that make them unique, the things they have in common, the things that work in fighting and the things that would take a miracle to pull off just for the sake of exchanging ideas. But someone always has to be better and since we cant fight how best should we do that? History, linneage, authenticity. Some even try and argue body mechanics. Its a wonderful argument until you realise that often unless you've spent a long time training in something you just won't get how it works because it is all in the doing not the talking.

It is the man and his mind that matter, not his style of MA and certainly not what someone with an agenda made up about that styles history.
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