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#387635 - 05/15/08 08:29 AM Re: By Jove I think they've got it! [Re: Barad]
harlan Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 07/31/04
Posts: 6664
Loc: Amherst, MA
So Dan, and others that look to other 'systems' to inform their main style...a question.

If you 'take' from other systems, such as Mr. McCarthy's, do you still consider what you are doing 'traditional'? For Dan...do you still consider your Goju to be 'traditional Goju'? Or, do you consider your system to be 'missing' something that you have added in to from non-Goju? And is it still Goju if borrowing from other systems?

Do you tell your students...'this is how I learned it (show them) and this is what I'm doing (show them) and why'.

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#387636 - 05/15/08 10:19 AM Re: By Jove I think they've got it! [Re: harlan]
Barad Offline
Member

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

I train under a group called Kissaki that focuses on what is intended to be realistic kata application of Shotokan/Shorin kata and the use of movement/strategy, ranges and techniques not much found in Shotokan, albeit most members were Shotokan or Wado people previously. Arguably this is more traditional (in looking to the use of karate before much of it became very commercial and tournament focused) than post-1940's style, sports-focused karate that might still practice kata for appearance and calisthenics but not much else. Or it might be seen as wholly non-traditional and concerned with modern threats.

When I was younger I was keen to practice a "traditional" art (whatever that is depending on perspective I suppose). However nowadays I am more interested in practicality than arguing history or tradition, seeing as I am English and living in London and not making any pretence to be aspiring to live like an Okinawan or Japanese person of the past or present. I also came to the conclusion that many of the most self-publicising "traditional" Japanese karate organisations (for Shotokan anyway) did not have much of a clue about the meaning of the kata beyond superficiality and actually for all the lip service paid to kata, they did not care much.

As it happens, I have dealt with the Japanese commercially for a number of years and been out to Tokyo a bit. I am often amused by Western karateka who think they have some insight into traditional Japanese culture through going to classes in the West and being able to name their techniques approximately in Japanese. Even funnier are the ones-we have probably all seen them on occasion-who imagine that through "tradional" MA they have become some kind of samurai, yamabushi or whatever (but daytime accountants or whatever ).

B.


Edited by Barad (05/15/08 10:24 AM)

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#387637 - 05/15/08 10:22 AM Re: By Jove I think they've got it! [Re: Barad]
harlan Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 07/31/04
Posts: 6664
Loc: Amherst, MA
For me, 'traditional' is how sensei teaches it. Goes back one generation. LOL! More a question of passing along what one was taught. I suppose that only matters tho', if what one was taught was any good.

So, to elaborate on 'traditional'. If it was good, why change it? And if one is changing it...then one can't honestly say the art they are practicing is 'traditional'. Especially if the ideas are from other systems. It's not like one studies an art, and says...'okay...I've been doing it this way for 20 years...and it's just plain bunk. It should be done this way.' vs...'Hey...those Tai chi guys/baqua guys, HAPV guys are doing something interesting...wonder if I can use that...'

To me...that's like drinking from two cups.

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#387638 - 05/15/08 10:39 AM Re: By Jove I think they've got it! [Re: harlan]
dandjurdjevic Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 05/10/08
Posts: 844
Loc: Australia
Quote:

So Dan, and others that look to other 'systems' to inform their main style...a question.

If you 'take' from other systems, such as Mr. McCarthy's, do you still consider what you are doing 'traditional'? For Dan...do you still consider your Goju to be 'traditional Goju'? Or, do you consider your system to be 'missing' something that you have added in to from non-Goju? And is it still Goju if borrowing from other systems?

Do you tell your students...'this is how I learned it (show them) and this is what I'm doing (show them) and why'.




I like the quote made about Chen Pan-Ling's "synthetic" taiji system constructed in 1948 as a synthesis of the 5 major styles of taiji: "Though eclectic, it is grounded in the traditional forms and brimming with the ancient spirit".

The individual technqiues are ancient. If I add one or 2 drills comprising these ancient techniques (and I take nothing away) or if I reinterpret a bunkai based on my Chinese arts practice (from what is to me a fairly "dubious" interpretion that is "traditional" amongst most goju karateka), I don't see how I'm anything but traditional.

But in simpler terms - we teach traditional goju-ryu with a couple of extra shorin forms. We add some drills to the traditional base without "taking" away anything.

I tell my students: "this is what I was taught, and this is what I've invented". I'm upfront. I don't pretend to have "discovered" secret knowledge. If I disagree with a "traditional" interpretation, I back it up with reasoning. I'm happy to revisit things if I am shown to be wrong. I have an interest in pursuing the truth, not proving I am right at all costs.

So yes, we are "traditional", but we add some stuff that is composed of "traditional techniques" but not in traditonal sequences. I'd like to think what we do is still "brimming with ancient spirit".

We tell our students that our school of karate is "Muidokan" (the house of wu-wei dao - the way of achieving everything with no unnatural action). We don't say it is pure goju - just that goju is part of what we do (we do 3 shorin based forms as well, some Taiwanese forms and the internal arts as well...)
_________________________
http://www.dandjurdjevic.com/

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#387639 - 05/15/08 10:43 AM Re: By Jove I think they've got it! [Re: harlan]
shoshinkan Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 05/10/05
Posts: 2662
Loc: UK
traditionally speaking karate on Okinawa was a very mixed bag of methods, ideas and development, from what i cna tell anyhow, very individual (hence all the Ryu and variations),

eg what Dan's group are doing is FAR more traditional IMO than the generally accepted systemised Ryu that claim tradition (outside of the tradition of their founder).

I guess it's difficult to define tradition, the most accurate element of it for me is based on historical truths.
_________________________
Jim Neeter

www.shoshinkanuk.blogspot.com

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#387640 - 05/15/08 11:50 AM Re: By Jove I think they've got it! [Re: shoshinkan]
dandjurdjevic Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 05/10/08
Posts: 844
Loc: Australia
Thanks Jim. I'd say you're traditional if you adhere to a particular set of values and concepts generally fitting this category. We all like to think our method is 'truer', more 'faithful' etc. when probably none of us fits the mould entirely.

For this reason I'm quite accepting of others claims of traditionalism. It might not be my cup of tea, but that doesn't mean I'm right - just that I have my own interpretation of what is traditional - a view that suits my taste/personality/theories etc.

Harlan and Jim, do you 'borrow from other schools? If so, to what extent?
_________________________
http://www.dandjurdjevic.com/

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#387641 - 05/15/08 12:38 PM Re: By Jove I think they've got it! [Re: dandjurdjevic]
shoshinkan Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 05/10/05
Posts: 2662
Loc: UK
generally I trian with any decent people I can, mostly related to my interests.

I learn lots that way.

As opposed to simply replicate what I pick up on, I tend to 'see' more in my shorin ryu and work according to the base principles of that art, found within the classical kata.

Im proud these days of cross training, non lineage, research based karate practice and feel it is of far more benefit to me and my students and indeed shorin ryu, from a historical/practical perspective.

Of course I respect lineage (I just dont have it ), in my opinion it is just often vastly overatted and abused, I am fortunate of course to have superb lineage Seniors around me whom seem to support my efforts and keep me on track.
_________________________
Jim Neeter

www.shoshinkanuk.blogspot.com

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#387642 - 05/15/08 12:52 PM Re: By Jove I think they've got it! [Re: shoshinkan]
harlan Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 07/31/04
Posts: 6664
Loc: Amherst, MA
I don't borrow. As a beginner, I personally have enough on my plate with Goju and kobudo as it's presented to me. Is what I'm learning infused with insights from decades of learning from others? I think so. But if asked 'do you do a synthesis of styles', I'd say no. As I understand it, it's more of an interpretation thing for bunkai. 'We tend toward Higa on most things, Toguchi on others.' But...it's still Goju. Supplimentary exercises, such as 'gong li' from Liu Chang's Feeding Crane are not Goju...but are useful overall. Do others seek a connection with Crane stuff/Chinese stuff? Maybe...but if so it's outside of the purview of small fry such as myself.

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#387643 - 05/15/08 01:49 PM Re: By Jove I think they've got it! [Re: harlan]
CVV Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 08/06/04
Posts: 605
Loc: Belgium
Okinawans tend to do things their way, heavily influenced by the Chinese but still with their flavor. Wich makes karate to have a unique flavor.

Look at this www.youtube.com/watch?v=89_cUe-Sjkk and tell me what you see.

I think every generation synthesized what they learned to pass on. Changes and choices came along. The kata from 100 years ago are not the kata we practice today. In general the surrounding and thus the intent of how we train is in a complete different concept than 100 years ago.

For me most of the 'traditional' is marketing. You can only teach what you learned. Putting the word 'traditional' before it is not going to make it more or less authentic.



Edited by CVV (05/15/08 02:04 PM)

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#387644 - 05/15/08 02:03 PM Re: By Jove I think they've got it! [Re: CVV]
harlan Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 07/31/04
Posts: 6664
Loc: Amherst, MA
Folks say 'Matayoshi was a quietly revered Goju man.' I'm curious about the Okinawan 'family' systems, and what, if any, impact they had in the final evolution of karate.

I don't see Goju. While I see bits that could be parts of kata in form, and other bits that seem to be the same bunkai, it's not cohesive enough to say 'Heck...see the Goju?' As you say, the current kata are the results of deliberate design over time. I think this is from another stream.

(Not that my opinion matters. I'm a rank beginner...so thanks for humoring me. )

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