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#389730 - 04/03/08 05:17 AM Karate Ground Fighting - Historical Proof
Victor Smith Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 06/01/00
Posts: 3219
Loc: Derry, NH
Seems the first works describing karate to Japan incorporated both grappling and ground fighting.

1933 - Mutsu's "Karate Kempo" - a very complete work describing karate spent the last 1/2 the book showing karate technique applications by style of attack. It does contain technique depictions and descriptions for ground fighting and grappling.

1935 - Funnakoshi 'Karate Do Koyan' included a section of photographs showing karate applications. These included throws, takedowns and ground fighting techniques. Later editions of this book by the JKA dropped this section, including the English translation.

Also all of Funakoshi's books included a selection of techniques from the Bubishi, but in Chinese. One of the sections concerns 'Grappling and Escapes' including the instruction 'If you are taken down, attack the adversary's genetils.'

Such books were never to be complete trainig guides, but showed several aspects of karate technique.

FYI All of a karate system is not contained in kata, even though it is the major comtributor.

I do not believe karate was ever designed to be a ground fighting system, it's just that from the first documented descriptions it did not have the limitations today assumed.

I maintain the purpose of kata is not just a technique repository of defenses against specific attacks. It is a way to focus energy in movement, and the application of kata is a way to release that energy against varrious attacks. Most importantly the application is likely just a fractal of the motion at any given time, example the crescent kick may well just be the first 1/5 of the movment as it rises and the shin striking into the opponents lower leg to destablize them, which if being forced back and down can be used as a fractal of that crescent kick to disrupt the attacker.

Everything depends on how you perceive our system, not what others tell you.
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#389731 - 04/03/08 07:13 AM Re: Karate Ground Fighting - Historical Proof [Re: Victor Smith]
ButterflyPalm Offline
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Registered: 08/26/04
Posts: 2637
Loc: Malaysia
Quote:

I maintain the purpose of kata is not just a technique repository of defenses against specific attacks. It is a way to focus energy in movement, and the application of kata is a way to release that energy against various attacks.




Don't expect any one with less than 20 years of serious training to understand that at a physical level.
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#389732 - 04/03/08 07:16 AM Re: Karate Ground Fighting - "Historical Proof" [Re: Victor Smith]
Ed_Morris Offline
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Registered: 11/04/05
Posts: 6768
Victor, depends what you define as groundfighting. from standing up, you throw someone down and then immediately submit them using your knee in their back - if you consider that groundfighting experience, then the interpretations of your citings makes sense to you as 'proof'. There is a thread going now about it's definition.


Quote:

Everything depends on how you perceive our system



Does historical proof depend on how you perceive things today? yes apparently it does. people even have their own definitions of what 'proof' is. A bible could be 'historical proof' to some, while others need a bit more of emperical evidence...which is probably a good thing, since it took someone asking the dangerous questions to get to the bottom of what revolves around what in the celestial sky.


some may believe: If someone can perceive it, then it's historical proof. or others believe: if someone can demonstrate it on the mat then that serves as historical proof.

I can't fathom any fighting art of any tradition of any time period which did not have grappling, throwing, takedowns, off-balancing and finishing/submissions.

I CAN fathom a fighting art which focuses on to remain standing and creates kata containing principles for that end.

I can also imagine that kata which someone likely created to illustrate stand-up fighting, being later interpreted with groundfighting after skills are already gained from outside influence in that area.
similarly, someone with coeperia training could interpret kata within their venue as well.

so now that the Coperia skilled artist can project and perceive his vision thru kata, he's satisfied your criteria as evidence of 'historical proof'.

see? I'm afraid history and proof as terms, require more than personal perception.

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#389733 - 04/03/08 07:59 AM Re: Karate Ground Fighting - "Historical Proof" [Re: Ed_Morris]
Shonuff Offline
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Registered: 11/03/04
Posts: 602
Loc: London, UK
Victor,

Are the books you mentioned available in english (with grappling illustrations intact)? If so from where?

Is it possible for you to some how show us some of these grappling illustrations?

I agree with Ed in that most of what has been discussed through the various recent grappling debates has been quite specific (or at least I've tried to keep it that way) ground grappling skills a la UFC/BJJ etc: two people on the floor struggling with each other to get chokes or arm bars rather than trying to get back to their feet. It's only very late in the discussion that karate wrestling camp changed their tune about this and as far as I can tell standing grappling inclusive of take downs and restraints were generally accepted to have been an integral aspect of Karate, one which has been recorded in the kata.

If those books you mentioned show the kind of sustained ground grappling I mentioned above then I will happily accept that I was wrong, but a few throws and ground restraints are very different to what was initially being debated.
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#389734 - 04/03/08 08:04 AM Re: Karate Ground Fighting - "Historical Proof" [Re: Ed_Morris]
Victor Smith Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 06/01/00
Posts: 3219
Loc: Derry, NH
Ed,

The Historical Proof, scant as it is, is not a question of interpretation.

Funakoshi clearly shows defense resonse while fighting from the ground, as well as standing throws. I believe this covers two of your categories.

Mutsu illustrates both of them as well as ground grappling.

There books were meant to be offerings to the Japanese martial establishments as well as their students.

The arts that developed in Japan fit their own definitions as to where an art should go, likely not focusing on grappling because those traditions were alreayd there (ie school Judo training) and most of their students had already practiced (and some continuing) those other arts.

Of course when they wrote those books that was 'today' and what they did at that time (in small part).

There is no general description of 'karate' that is remotely accurate, for each generazliation there are a world of contradictions, even if you haven't personally experienced them.

I only offer this because the written record does contain a historical truth that should be considered.

Perhaps the development of karate in Japan wasn't overly concerned with the grappling arts because they were a modertly civilized society and those practicing grappling were not attacking karate-ka so there was little perceived need. Temper that of course with reality, they were also turning their aggressions in the 20's onward to other places. Tromping Korea, Manchuria, WWII, etc.
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#389735 - 04/03/08 08:20 AM Re: Karate Ground Fighting - "Historical Proof" [Re: Shonuff]
Victor Smith Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 06/01/00
Posts: 3219
Loc: Derry, NH
Sho,

Mutsu's book is currently only avaiable in Japan as a reprint and it costs a ton of money. Joe Swift is working towards completing a translation and publishing it in English but there is not a deadling when this will be available.

Funakoshi's original 'Karate Do Koyan' was recently published for a large amount of money. The photo's are also in Patrick McCarthy's 'Tappanshu' (spelling not sure at the moment) for a modest sum. The photo's aren't the best copies but you can clearly see what he is showing.

Patrick's book also contains a translation of the Bubishi texts from Funakoshi's book, and it is clear in that it focuses on Grappling and Escapes. As Funakoshi always had it in his books (but in Chinese) you can make your own conclusions if his finger was pointing to a way the JKA didn't follow?

Of course a book with illustrations and photo's for a few techniques does NOT show how they trained or how they worked those drills. It is clear that the JKA didn't continue those practices and eventually dropped them from subsequent republication of the 'Karate Do Koyan'.

It is also clear members of the JKA had Mutsu's book. They may not have focused on his applications, but his 1933 work contained most of the kata the JKA would adopt, in addition to the 15 Funakoshi published.

There is less documented from an Okinawan point of view, but my seniors in Isshinryu in the late 50's studied counters for the mount.

The evidence simply suggests that we have nothing more detailed to address the issue, but at least it was not originally ignored in Karate.

I know none of you, but in my experience most people don't need cross training, but stronger training in their own arts. In my early years I did seek others to train with, not to learn of their arts (which did happen in part) but just to train. I have experienced the good, the bad and even the ugly (but I'm too adult to dwell on that). The end result I focused on my own art and then ran into a senior who did the same for 40 years and helped focus my own arts potential.

There is only so much history available, and most of that oral tradition. You can look, but the largest key is to focus on today and your training.

Some how I think of Motobu, street fighting experience and all. His writings suggest be wary of any attack, but he spent decades striking his makiwara with a single knuckle punch. Some how, up or down, I'm sure his strike would inflict so much pain he wouldnt' be down long.

Just an opinion, but it always seems longer, better, harder traiing is the real key in any art.
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#389736 - 04/03/08 08:21 AM Re: Karate Ground Fighting - Historical Proof [Re: ButterflyPalm]
Victor Smith Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 06/01/00
Posts: 3219
Loc: Derry, NH
Hi Butterfly,

"Don't expect any one with less than 20 years of serious training to understand that at a physical level."

Agreed, which is why I think focusing on your own training is most important.
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#389737 - 04/03/08 09:09 AM Re: Karate Ground Fighting - Historical Proof [Re: Victor Smith]
Ed_Morris Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 11/04/05
Posts: 6768
There is a mixing of 2 separate topics into one:

Victor, is this thread intended to be:

A. a discussion of historical evidence on the topic.
or
B. a discussion of personal experience on the topic.

either of which, I don't ever remember reading anyone stating that Karate cannot contain groundfighting.

In fact, I think more compelling than the links you give in this thread, is your post from some time ago a very clear picture of karateka (who cross-trained in judo) during the 1930's on Hawaii ground-grappling.

if this thread was meant as a carry-over topic from the others, I think the issue was different:
"historical evidence of groundfighting trained thru kata study"


just trying to maintain clear communication on these boards is very difficult and almost not worth the effort of trying to clarify on every single post, since people tend to scan and not read. but if the arguments aren't clear, then how would the discussions go?

just clearing my thoughts...

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#389738 - 04/03/08 09:40 AM Re: Karate Ground Fighting - Historical Proof [Re: Ed_Morris]
Victor Smith Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 06/01/00
Posts: 3219
Loc: Derry, NH
Hi Ed,

First the thread is to discuss historial proof of Karate ground technique. BTW none of the sources show those techniques as kata derived, per sea.

But as you note it's difficult to separate discussion from personal experience, as important a record as the written one, just difficult for those outside of your event horizon to understand.
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victor smith bushi no te isshinryu offering free instruction for 30 years

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#389739 - 04/03/08 12:11 PM Re: Karate Ground Fighting - "Historical Proof" [Re: Shonuff]
medulanet Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 09/03/03
Posts: 2142
Loc: Phoenix, Arizona USA
Quote:

It's only very late in the discussion that karate wrestling camp changed their tune about this and as far as I can tell standing grappling inclusive of take downs and restraints were generally accepted to have been an integral aspect of Karate, one which has been recorded in the kata.




See, that's that bull"ish". You guys always ask for proof. Quote the posts I made that document my change of tune. Now you sho' nuff are finally starting to get my "drift" and don't like being wrong.
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