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#366670 - 10/22/07 03:33 PM opinions on shokokai
staticman Offline
Newbie

Registered: 05/05/07
Posts: 15
hello- i'm interested in opinions on shokokai karate as my son is starting at a club. i do wing chun and am pretty ignorant of karate so would be grateful of some opinions eg strengths/weaknesses, etc. thanks.

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#366671 - 10/22/07 07:52 PM Re: opinions on shokokai [Re: staticman]
hedkikr Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 02/28/05
Posts: 2827
Loc: Southern California, USA
Could you be referring to ShUkokai (instead of shOkokai)?
_________________________
Ed Ichihara Smith - Shukokai

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#366672 - 10/23/07 04:43 PM Re: opinions on shokokai [Re: hedkikr]
staticman Offline
Newbie

Registered: 05/05/07
Posts: 15
apologies. yes poor spelling.
opinions on shukokai please

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#366673 - 10/23/07 07:59 PM Re: opinions on shokokai [Re: staticman]
hedkikr Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 02/28/05
Posts: 2827
Loc: Southern California, USA
I guess I'm the resident Shukokai expert (by default).

Shukokai is an organization that was formed by Chijiro Tani (a direct student of Kenwa Mabuni: Shito-ryu). Since Tani's death, several subgroups separated & use the organization's name as a style name (they'll say, "I study Shukokai karate" rather than "I belong to Shukokai").

Anyway, the core to Shukokai is the study & use of efficient body mechanics. If you live in the UK, the most influential deciple of Tani was Shigeru Kimura. Kimura continued to perfect his punching impact until his death in 1996. Although throughout Europe there were other notable Shukokai instructors (Nambu, Suzuki, Tomiyama), Kimura seems to have developed the greatest following.

Although I trained for 16 yrs in another branch (Shukokai International under Kunio Miyake), I became acquainted w/ Kimura's method through SSU-USA Chief Instructor, Eric Tomlinson. I've also had the good fortune of training w/ the 4 Shihan (Bill Bressaw, Eddie Daniels, Lionel Marinus & Chris Thompson) who maintain Kimura's legacy. The technique is incredible & I'm still training to get better @ producing impact.

Several groups split from the parent organization prior to Tani's death & I really can't comment on those groups. I attended a seminar by Tommy Morris (Kobe-Osaka) who was originally w/ Shukokai & left but that's the only one.

Do you have a link to the website? Maybe I can tell more from that. Hope I can help.

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#366674 - 10/23/07 09:46 PM Re: opinions on shukokai [Re: staticman]
Ed_Morris Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 11/04/05
Posts: 6768
I agree with hedkikr's take, and will add my limited view...

I've had some exposure to Kimura Shukokai for a few years by default of our dojo at the time gradually changing focus from Goju.

Shukokai can be a solid style for competition contact sparring....but like any, it could vary widely between particular schools. If I had to generalize, I'd say the distinguishing trait of Shukokai schools is the training method. kata is kept mostly for traditional reasons as oppossed to it being a central study. The curriculum draws from Shito-ryu forms. Little to no parallel between forms and application are trained, but that varies school to school. On the surface, with the typical traditions, customs and grading system of belts, Shukokai is virtually indistinguishable from mainstream Karate in it's traditional structure. Recently, as many do, schools struggle with teetering on the tradeoffs of 'McDojoism'.

looking closer, there are some distinguishing traits. again, naturally it varies from place to place...

The defining focus is perfecting body mechanics for efficiency, power generation and application of those skills via lots of sparring, progressively building up intensity and contact. It is stand-up, contact point-spar competition based intent, so there is no grappling/clinch or elbows/knees, etc. Sparring is typically padded protection with full contact to body, light contact to head.

The distiguishing element for power generation (in Kimura Shukokai) is the invention of Kimura's unique 2-person impact training methods. The philosophy being: train to take them out with 'one shot'. and the philosophy/tactic carries over to the sparring somewhat. You won't see much fancy high kicks or rapid fire chain punches in their sparring. They are more concerned with setting an opponent up in order to opportune the use of one heavy hit - as oppossed to bouncing around throwing each other touch taps.

Competitions are scored on solid and 'clean' hits with sufficiant impact needed to score. hard sweeps (below the knee) and off-balancing is allowed, but you have to land a solid strike before the opponent hits the floor or goes out of bounds.

your son will probably like it if:
1. he likes sparring and with protected contact.
2. the particular dojo isn't overly-commercialized so much that they make the main focus as a belt-chasing scheme.
3. since body mechanics as it relates to speed, technique and power is focused on - expect lots of various calestetic exercises and plyometric type drills on top of lots of repitition of basics. as a result, kids without moderate attention spans tend to drop out quickly of Shukokai schools - which is one of the reasons more and more Shukokai schools have elected to gradually move away from Shukokai's training methods and adopt the more popular mainstream of delivering customer satisfaction as oppossed to staying true to their methods.


without knowing which branch and particular school you are involved with, it's impossible to give more detail....since as I mention, schools vary widely with an ever-increacing chance of landing in a Shukokai school by name, but mcdojo in function.

hope that helps. I'm no authority on the subject, just giving my take as I've seen it and have monitored how it's changed thru the years.

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#366675 - 10/24/07 08:23 AM Re: opinions on shukokai [Re: Ed_Morris]
staticman Offline
Newbie

Registered: 05/05/07
Posts: 15
thanks for the replies-ed-morris and hedkikr.
the school is connected to this organisation
www.elite-karate.co.uk.
doesn't come across as mcdojo to me but i'm interested in your opinions

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#366676 - 10/24/07 02:21 PM Re: opinions on shukokai [Re: staticman]
hedkikr Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 02/28/05
Posts: 2827
Loc: Southern California, USA
The Chief Instructor, Stan Knighton is a well-respected member of the UK karate community. I can't say how closely he follows Kimura's methods but I'm sure that your son is in a decent school/organization. Based on the website, there are no tell-tale signs of it being a McDojo. Probably strait-ahead karate. I do get the feeling that the techniques are tournament oriented. You might want to ask if they do "Impact training" (if you don't see students punching 1-foot square, 6-inch thick Impact pads/blocks).

Never heard of your son's instructor however.

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#366677 - 11/02/07 05:04 PM Re: opinions on shukokai [Re: staticman]
Neko456 Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 01/18/05
Posts: 3260
Loc: Midwest City, Ok, USA
Shito-ryu which the system is base upon is considered a combination of two of the 4 original systems that devised the Ryu-kyu Islands fighting system. As mentioned if the base is strong the system should be strong. Pending how close they stay to the base.

Shuko-kia is a strong base Karate system, practice is about repetition not making it fun to do. Pushing yourself to its limit is never fun but it builds a strong core foundation.

From a WC prespective the movements may seem long winded and expanded but the power does build up from the basic practice and eventually a strike looks just like a strike, from either art. You don't want to trade quick only means so much. This is just my opinion and may not be the way you see it WC vs Shito-ryu Karate movement.
_________________________
DBAckerson

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#366678 - 11/02/07 09:00 PM Re: opinions on shukokai [Re: Neko456]
Ed_Morris Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 11/04/05
Posts: 6768
"Shuko-kia" ? The car for all?

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#366679 - 11/05/07 04:10 PM Re: opinions on shukokai [Re: staticman]
hedkikr Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 02/28/05
Posts: 2827
Loc: Southern California, USA
static...haven't heard from you in a while. Is your son training w/ the Shukokai group?

(just interested)

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