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#372964 - 01/18/08 10:29 AM Re: Value of kata (Groan!!!!), revisited. [Re: medulanet]
kakushiite Offline
Member

Registered: 02/06/03
Posts: 266
Loc: Ithaca, NY, USA
I think Funakoshi made several changes but agree that these are overhyped.

1. He changed the names of the kata since the Japanese did not like the original Chinese names.

2. He, along with others at the time, began teaching many kata. In Nagamine's "Tales" book, Choki Motobu was more concerned about the pointless practice of so many kata. But this was not unique to Funakoshi. While Funakoshi went to 16 and then to 25 (his students learning lots of kata from Mabuni), kata practiced in Okinawa was changing in similar ways.

3. The deeper stances were likely more a result of the desire to give younger students more exercise in training curriculums that were likely shorter than Okinawans practiced. (And it is just possible that this may have been a preference of the all powerful Ministry of Education.) Itosu said to practice 2-3 hours every day. But in high schools and colleges, this was probably not the norm.

Related to this was the change to competition. Here karate shifted from a defensive art to an offensive sport. And in competition, forward acceleration is a fundamental component. And who had the best acceleration in Japan???? The kendo students. And what stance did they practice with???? The deeper backstance that we find in Shotokan.

What I find most imusing in the Shotokan bashing stems from the simple fact that since Shotokan is so prevalent, every system has seen Shotokan kata. And when they compare Shotokan kata to their own and find it different, they think that Funakoshi must have changed the kata.

What they fail to recognize is that all systems practice different kata. Look at the Itosu lineages. The kata of systems descending from Funakoshi, Chibana, Mabuni, Nakamura and Toyama are ALL different. No two are alike. A comparative study of the kata of these systems shows that Funakoshi's kata differ from the others about the same amount as any of the others differ from the rest.

-Kakushite.

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#372965 - 01/18/08 01:05 PM Re: Value of kata (Groan!!!!), revisited. [Re: kakushiite]
Neko456 Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 01/18/05
Posts: 3260
Loc: Midwest City, Ok, USA
I find that the changes were more prevelant and purposeful then that. Though I agree that some were catered toward the strengthing of legs through doing the basics.

But when you look at the way that each block is taught along with enlongated stance its clear that he wasn't showing the most efficient method of using this technique. Or when you really look at how the wraps up are actually used compared to the way they are initally taught you can tell theres something changed.

I believe that Funakoshi was choosen because he was the total package a teacher/cultural dipolmat/author/well spoken and knew how smooth things over. I believe that he wanted to teach Karate-do as a cultural exchange program through the school system as he was told to do by Itosu.

I also believe that the Motobu vs. Funakoshi debates were because Funakoshi had a different agenda and Motobu wasn't as well schooled. Kata was always taught as a method of training, some like Shito-ryu's Manubi felt that the more you have the more stored knowledged. (I still don't know why he didn't used more White Crane technqiues then principle? He seemed awfully impressed.) Thats another story back to the topic.


The changes seen in the other systems are small and more strategic then enlongated, each of the other Shorin systems seem to be trying better awys to make their system more efficent in motion, rather then make each move longer in anyway.

Shotokan was created and changed from the Shuri-te roots, imo for its designated purpose. IMHO.

The backstance thing may have come from kendo, but I would say Jujitsu/Judo because thats who was training in Karate Shotokan then.

In any event bc the Japanese fire test their products Shotokan is still a good discipline and a great sport as is the bigger/longer cocking TKD, though its my opinion Shotokan maybe more practical as a sport. You must forgive me but its hard for a Goju man to see chest bumpin to get space to kick as entertaining or effective (as seen in Olympic TKD). Near Chest to chest is were it starts getting good for us. Let me say that I am a old Tang-Soo-Do man so I'm not anti TKD, I know thats not combat TKD. I still have no reason why they do the chest bumpin?? Thats another story.

But this is just my opinion and opinions are like a$$ holes, everybody has one.


Edited by Neko456 (01/18/08 01:23 PM)

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#372966 - 01/18/08 01:42 PM Re: Value of kata (Groan!!!!), revisited. [Re: Neko456]
jude33 Offline
Veteran

Registered: 03/14/07
Posts: 1539
Quote:



Near Chest to chest is were it starts getting good for us.
But this is just my opinion and opinions are like a$$ holes, everybody has one.




Hi Neko.


From my limited kata study.

The near chest to chest part. From some of my limited studies I think that sometimes this is where people who devise bunkia (from kata practiced in their art) get confused.

If a technique was meant for in-fighting and it is in shotokan kata they sometimes seem to change it to something that is in-practical.

Kanazawa sensie added other kata to his curriculem.
He also studied tai chi.

The article that Victor posted stated that it would be beneficial for certain karate ka to study other styles/ kata to add to their knowledge.

It seems from some kata bunkia they dont.

But I am just speculating somewhat at the moment.

Jude

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#372967 - 01/18/08 01:59 PM Re: Value of kata (Groan!!!!), revisited. [Re: kakushiite]
cxt Offline
Professional Poster

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

From what I have read, Kano was pretty focused on his art being a true "budo"--asd much what we might view as the "other" benefits to martial arts study than its overt fighting applications.

In his view the competitons were a PATH to the goal--not the goal in and of itself.....IMO.

He was also pretty clear (esp in the early days) that he saw his movement as involving the preservation of classcial jujutsu techniques/art....the number of classical jutjutsu experts that taught at the Kodokan in the early days reads like a "Whos Who" of period jujutsu (and not a few Koryu experts) experts.

Course the other side of the argument is that his writings and actions also show a guy that wanted to establish his art as being preemenent.
And his "spirtitual" comments came AFTER he had done just that---later in his life.

I always find it helpful to look at arts that have come up against the same sitions and how they responed.
Take Kendo for example--the whole kenjutsu to kendo thing went down long before the jujutsu-judo or karate to karate-do thing went down.........interesting reads on both.
_________________________
I did battle with ignorance today.......and ignorance won. Huey.

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#372968 - 01/18/08 03:18 PM Re: Value of kata (Groan!!!!), revisited. [Re: jude33]
Neko456 Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 01/18/05
Posts: 3260
Loc: Midwest City, Ok, USA
Quote:

Quote:



From my limited kata study.

The near chest to chest part. From some of my limited studies I think that sometimes this is where people who devise bunkia (from kata practiced in their art) get confused.

If a technique was meant for in-fighting and it is in shotokan kata they sometimes seem to change it to something that is in-practical.

Jude




I have studied with and studied a little Shorin/Shotokan, Tang-soo-do, Gung-fu and little Silat and others but my base is Goju-ryu. Which does train infighting with bunkia formally. But where I really find this face to face situation important is in a real fight. Most people fall into this range that I like, lately called clinch r near clinch. So the practical and formal meet and I'm glad they did, this is not a class room theroy. I believe I have a firm understanding of this matter concerning what happen with and to me.

Shotokan address this situation differently. Each system has its range of comfort, I find that some Silat and Wing-chun guys like to get too close, which makes me clinch. I got ya. Lesson to the too Trad/sport, if you feel too uncomfortable in a real situation, clinch (and everything that goes along with it).

Again I will say by practicing Shotokan and with Shotokan stylist I know Kata means a lot to them. But they don't teach formal bunkai? Which defines what some of the Soke favorite or purposed technique were. It answered What is this Katas purpose & suppose to teach? Its my opinion its more then correct posture or a basic punch, its techniques within them there moves.

Karate is more then sport/sparring.

I'll add you probably don't know that the chest bumping, I was refering to is the method that Olympic TKD stylist use to clear room for their next kick, they will bump the other in the chest and turn and amazingly throw a Jump spining back thrust or hook kick. They don't need much room either. But really wouldn't a knee or elbow or sweep stomp work better at that range, but thats against their rules.

Again this is what I was saying MAs are more then sport/sparring for points/entertainment.


Edited by Neko456 (01/18/08 03:22 PM)
_________________________
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#372969 - 01/18/08 05:14 PM Re: Value of kata (Groan!!!!), revisited. [Re: cxt]
kakushiite Offline
Member

Registered: 02/06/03
Posts: 266
Loc: Ithaca, NY, USA
cxt,

Good post. Jiro Shiroma is a student of Shuguro Nakazato, and teaches here in the U.S. His version of this history is that when the U.S. forcefully opened up Japan, the U.S. portrayed the Japanese as barbaric, and in need of Western Culture as well as trade.

The Japanese found this deeply offensive, and to counter this, they wanted to present an enlightened image to the West. One thing that had to change were their martial arts, because these were a big part of the negative image. All these samurai slicing and dicing themselves on the battlefield.

In that effort, the Japanese government set out to reform the arts to make them less brutal. And from Shiroma's perspective this is why we have seen the evolution of combat arts to those safe for the young of Japan.

I agree that there were likely a whole series of influences that led to these changes over time.

But when looking at the evolution of the arts, from Kenjutsu to Kendo, from the Jujitsu/Aikijutsu arts to Judo and Aikido, from the ti that was taught in Okinawa to the Karate that Funakoshi taught in Japan, Shiroma's arguments make an awful lot of sense.

-Kakushite

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#372970 - 01/19/08 01:32 PM Re: Value of kata (Groan!!!!), revisited. [Re: kakushiite]
Shonuff Offline
Enthusiast

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

I think Funakoshi made several changes but agree that these are overhyped.

1. He changed the names of the kata since the Japanese did not like the original Chinese names.

2. He, along with others at the time, began teaching many kata. In Nagamine's "Tales" book, Choki Motobu was more concerned about the pointless practice of so many kata. But this was not unique to Funakoshi. While Funakoshi went to 16 and then to 25 (his students learning lots of kata from Mabuni), kata practiced in Okinawa was changing in similar ways.

3. The deeper stances were likely more a result of the desire to give younger students more exercise in training curriculums that were likely shorter than Okinawans practiced. (And it is just possible that this may have been a preference of the all powerful Ministry of Education.) Itosu said to practice 2-3 hours every day. But in high schools and colleges, this was probably not the norm.

Related to this was the change to competition. Here karate shifted from a defensive art to an offensive sport. And in competition, forward acceleration is a fundamental component. And who had the best acceleration in Japan???? The kendo students. And what stance did they practice with???? The deeper backstance that we find in Shotokan.

What I find most imusing in the Shotokan bashing stems from the simple fact that since Shotokan is so prevalent, every system has seen Shotokan kata. And when they compare Shotokan kata to their own and find it different, they think that Funakoshi must have changed the kata.

What they fail to recognize is that all systems practice different kata. Look at the Itosu lineages. The kata of systems descending from Funakoshi, Chibana, Mabuni, Nakamura and Toyama are ALL different. No two are alike. A comparative study of the kata of these systems shows that Funakoshi's kata differ from the others about the same amount as any of the others differ from the rest.

-Kakushite.




Kakushite,

I agree with most of your comments, however with regard to practicing a small or large number of kata, Funakoshi actually chose the middle road, prefering to train a relatively high number of forms in two stages. First learning the form to build co-ordination and secondreturning to the begining for in depth study. He was content with the original 16 and felt that there was no need of more.

The impression I get is that as GF got older his students listened less and less to him and did not study their forms in depth as he wished, prefering to spar competetively and saw mastery of the sequence of a kata as the whole challenge. Hence Funakoshi took a step back and let Gigo take the lead in shaping the art for the young. By all accounts the longer deeper stances were Gigo's preference, not Gichin's, and they likely were more about exercise. But as I previously wrote, GF's whole perspective on Karate was that the surface form mattered far less than the underlying principle so I doubt he wasn't too concerned.

It is unlikely back stance was anything to do with sport and competition as the first official tournament of the JKA was in the 1950's and there are pictures of Funakoshi using kokutsudachi from at least as far back as 1925. It stands to reason that changes made for competition reasons needed competitions to exist first.
As I said I subscribe to the idea that kokutsu dachi was simply a stylistic variation used by those who were not keen on cat stance. As you pointed out each style of Shuri-te based karate differs from the others by about the same amount so until I see something that confirms this and any other differences were actual 20th century changes and it is shown not to just be another assumption, I'm going to stick with what I see as the simplest and most evidentially suported solution.

I think this "changed for competition" myth needs to be clarified. If any such changes were made they were much more likely made by Nakayama or even Gigo Funakoshi, but not Gichin. Theres just no evidence to support the idea that he would do so and everything he wrote or was written about him leans away from the notion.

Neko,
Quote:

I find that the changes were more prevelant and purposeful then that.




Such as what?

Quote:

But when you look at the way that each block is taught along with enlongated stance its clear that he wasn't showing the most efficient method of using this technique. Or when you really look at how the wraps up are actually used compared to the way they are initally taught you can tell theres something changed.





I'm not sure I understand what this means?

I think you are saying that elongated stances are inneficient and/or that GF taught less effective uses of basic techniques?

If thats the case, then I would refer back to my previous point about the surface technique being ultimately irrelevant for learning to use karate, and I would also ask what is it that long stances are inneficient for?

Regarding things being changed because of the descrepancy between how things are taught and how they are used, I would suggest that GF's teachings were incomplete because he fully intended for the individual student to develop understanding through further independant study and training, as he comments to this effect numerous times in his writings. This culture of "work it out for yourself" seems by all accounts to be the Okinawan Way, which would account for why Shotokan was not the only style to lack deep application study as part of its syllabus.
_________________________
It's Shotokan not Shoto-can't!!!

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#372971 - 01/19/08 09:22 PM Re: Value of kata (Groan!!!!), revisited. [Re: jude33]
used2b Offline
Newbie

Registered: 01/17/08
Posts: 11
Loc: Kentucky
To perform a kata properly, is much harder than it appears. Those low, deep stances have a great value and if done often enough become easy and natural, and very useful.

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#372972 - 01/19/08 11:21 PM Re: Value of kata (Groan!!!!), revisited. [Re: used2b]
BrianS Offline
Higher rank than you
Professional Poster

Registered: 11/04/05
Posts: 5959
Loc: Northwest Arkansas
Low deep stances are a modern thing, not valuable in my opinion.
_________________________
The2nd ammendment, it makes all the others possible. <///<




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#372973 - 01/20/08 01:43 AM Re: Value of kata (Groan!!!!), revisited. [Re: MAGon]
Ed_Morris Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 11/04/05
Posts: 6772
tying back to the opening post...

Quote:


http://www.24fightingchickens.com/2007/11/25/the-relationship-between-kata-and-kumite/

"There is no relationship between kata and sparring."






Show me someone who does deep, low stances during sparring and I'll show you a person who is sparring too far away from their opponent, playing tag.

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