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#409012 - 10/06/08 03:02 PM Re: Not THAT Shotokan!!! [Re: student_of_life]
Yugen83 Offline
Member

Registered: 08/02/08
Posts: 110
Loc: Southern Maryland
Quote:

first off, are you serisouly thinking im taking this personally? this is just a discussion, a honestly not a bad one.




Nah, not taking it seriously and sorry if I came off that way. It is really good debate and I appreciate your feedback.


Quote:

the difference between budo and bushido is that one is ment as self cultivation, and the other is a way a service to another man or family thats leads to your death in service. also, there are no finite translations of these terms from japanese into english, what they imply has changed over the years and will continue. so i really see this as semtanics, what you call budo is not what i call budo or bushido. not really worth arguing over.




Not arguing, just debating. We are talking about what Shotokan is, and I am merely presenting what Shotokan is according to the man who is credited with its creation, that's all. Btw, you just showed that there is a clear difference between the two, yourself.


Quote:

yeah, and i've already told you that i practice shotokan and i don't take it as a way of life. so with out all the budo stuff, how am i still practicing a budo?




Because Shotokan IS a budo! Along with Judo, Aikido, and Kendo.

Quote:

you do it one way, and i do it another, im not wrong so please stop telling me what shotokan is, because im currently studying shotokan and i have a good idea about what i want it to be.




The thread is about what Shotokan is (or least this little part of it ), so that is why I was explaining about what it is, it was not to spite you, and I am humbly sorry if it seemed that way. I don't think that you are wrong, different, but certainly not wrong.

Quote:

no offence intended, im just saying that i don't practice shotokan the way 99% of shotokan guys do, but it's still shotokan.




I am not offended in the least, and I think that you have do nothing but present your views in a very clear and educated manner. I was relating everthing to Funakoshi and his Shotokan conventions and I didn't mean to imply anything about anyone's training (I am still figuring this whole forum thing out ).

Quote:

i also question the use of bowing and use of japanese terms. some people think thats it's respectfull to learn the japanese culture if your learning a japanses art, and i don't. in the japanese culture its considered polite to bow, in the west we use a hand shake, they both imply respect, but neither garentees that i respect ther person im bowing to. so, when i think about it, why not call it a thrust punch, or shake your partners hand before you work with them?




I respect your opinions. The whole point is that you are not practicing a Western martial art, you are practicing an Eastern martial art and that is how its done. It is part of the whole experience. I don't think that you are being disrespectful by not doing those things, just that you are missing out on the overall experience and perhaps going through some needless annoyances by practicing something that involves doing or at least encouraging you to do those things which you find so offensive.

Quote:

some people also think that when you line up at the begining of class you the person who calls the rest of the line to kneel and bow to the front and such, should be yelling these things like a military command, they think it's "respectfull" and i'll ask how is yelling at someone to bow respectfull? if i can say it loud enoug for them to hear it, and they do it, how am i being disrespectfull? its a habbit of the system from its military days, nothing more or less.




Again, it's a cultural thing. You are practicing a style that comes from another culture and has conventions that are based in another culture. The views on these things are totally different and shouldn't be looked at from a Western perspective because they are not Western conventions. You are taking something that was created in one context and applying it to in a completely different and often counter context. Imo, it is no more disrespectful for them to "yell" at you as it is for you to refuse to bow or be called sempai (which is actually a compliment in that culture). It is a matter of cultural perspective, and you are practicing something that comes from another culture.

Quote:

i know that most shotokan people don't agree with me, and if my instructors knew how i actually felt about all the stuff we get on with in calss they might not like me so much, and i think thats a characture flaw of the person who judges me really. because i don't like yelling commands at people, and i don't like it when people call me sempai in class, my parents gave me a name, why not use that? i've actually asked people to call me "mark" and not to call me sempai, and most people won't do it. they are disrespecting my wishes in favor of "budo". how silly is that?




Hmmm, I believe that you are missing the point to all of it. Nobody is trying to disrespect you in any way. As a matter of fact, the fact that they call you sempai is a sure sign that they not only respect you, but they actually hold you in high regard. Nodoby is disrespecting your wishes in favor of "budo", the things they do is a part of budo, and since you practice a budo, it comes with the territory. This is why I say that I think that you would be better served finding something else that fits better with your personal tastes. If it offends you that much then why even put up with it? Why waste your time and money to do something that obviously makes you so uncomfortable when you can spend your time and money in something where you don't have to put up with those things?

I don't think that your teachers would be angry at you if you came clean with them and told them what was on your mind, they would more than likely respect you even more for being a man about it and being straight up with them (if they are decent and mature teachers, that is). I did the same thing in one of my classes when I told my instructor that I thought he was yanking me around and that he wasn't teaching me anything remotely useful for real world self defense. I thought that I was surely done as his student when I did that, but guess what, he actually thought even more highly of me for having the courage to be that open and that honest with him and he even made one of the club officers. Of course, he offered to teach me some "self defense" at his home outside of class if that is what I really wanted from him.

Quote:

not to mention that there are little riturals that lots of shotokan dojo use that many don't, so are the ones who don't use them all disrespectfull? for example, when myt dojo started we had a silent bow to the front, and one to the instructor, and that was it. now we have thoes still and in addition we now bow a thrid time and we all say "domo aragato gosa masu" (not spelt right, but i don't care, lol) why do we add this now? were we heathens before? are we practicing a budo now that we have this thrid bow in class? maybe we should add more bowing? or maybe less? or how about a bow to all our dead relatives? and our cars for brining us to karate so we can train in the first place? see where im going? the set of rituals you practice in class, the language you use, the set of cultural behaviours you use don't make a row of beans as to what your actually doing. just because some people in japan called what we do a budo, dosen't make it so for ever. what did they call it before it was a "do", before "jutsu"?




Nobody is a heathen and nobody was even suggesting that you or anybody who trains like you is a heathen. You are looking at it in Western terms again - do it like we do it or you are evil and backwards (and you even used a Western word ). Not at all, my good man. Neither are you disrespectful, as I said above, just different. It is not a matter of the Japanese calling it a budo as that is what the man who created it made it to be and intended it to be. All of those things that you mention are part of the package, that is what I am saying. You are taking the bowing thing too far - do you try to shake your car's hand or hug it? No, that is nonsense, but you do shake people's hands and hug your loved ones as a sign of respect. That is all it simply is - another culture's way of saying I respect you. "Do" and "Jutsu"? They didn't call it anything before it was "Do" because it didn't exist before it was "Do", it has always been "Do" because that is what it is and that is what it was created as. Now, go back before Shotokan and you find something more along the lines of "Jutsu", you know, like the Okinawan stuff.

Quote:

you call something a "jutsu", but in days gone by in japan it was called "bugei", so which word do you want to use?




Shotokan was never a bugei. None of the "Do" were bugei. The "Jutsu" were - JuJutsu, AikiJutsu, Kenjutsu, etc. These were military methods with no focus on character building. The "Do" were more recent de-fanged versions of the "Jutsu" with the primary purpose being Japanese character development. "Jutsu" were indeed bugei.

Again, sorry if my posts sounded personal and argumentative, that was not my intention at all. It was in the spirit of debate and if I have crossed the line then I humbly apologize. I get really passionate about the martial arts.
_________________________
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#409013 - 10/06/08 04:26 PM Re: Not THAT Shotokan!!! [Re: Yugen83]
Yugen83 Offline
Member

Registered: 08/02/08
Posts: 110
Loc: Southern Maryland
You know, I will say this. Shotokan is a budo, but it is not just a budo. It is many things to many people, all of them equally valid so long as they meet the needs of the ones who practice them. It started out as being strictly something, but things grow and evolve, after all, that is how Shotokan came to be in the first place. It may be a "Do", but you know what, with the bunkai movement, it is fast becoming a "Jutsu" with a heavy emphasis on the studying of applications and training focused mostly on training those applications for self defense. Student, I think that you make an excellent point concerning the turn off of Japanese character building to most of the people who are not Japanese (and you too, Barad). While it may be the original intention of the style, it is not the final intention of the style and I believe Funakoshi said something to the effect that Karate must continue to grow. I think that is one of the things that made TKD that much more interesting to me - it was allowed to grow and have diversity, and it was not required to rigidly adhere to certain conventions. When Karate left Okinawa and went to Japan, it changed to reflect the tastes and conventions of the Japanese. I believe that it is only right for Karate to be allowed to do the same in our neck of the woods. So, I guess that I am saying that we all are "right" concerning this area of Shotokan, we just have different aims and viewpoints. I am old school, so I guess that provides a better view of where I am coming from. However, I am also progressive and believe that nothing should stand still forever, either. I see the "official" definition of Shotokan is being exactly what its creators made it to be, but I also believe that since Shotokan has grown and evolved in the hands of others that the definition can and should be expanded to include the changes made to the style, as well. Okay, I am now off of my nerdy soapbox.
_________________________
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#409014 - 10/07/08 05:51 AM Re: Not THAT Shotokan!!! [Re: Yugen83]
Barad Offline
Member

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

I am not sure there is any definitive form of Shotokan per se. There are a multitude of Shotokan groups with different emphases, some physical, some defensive, some spiritual, some sporting in various measures. Politics (and sometimes business) dictates that some or many Shotokan groups will dismiss other groups as inauthentic.

The budo stuff, as I said, is mostly grafted on to Okinawan physical practices (i.e. derivatives of tode) from Judo and Kendo (along with belts and gradings and a formal syllabus), as Kano was very supportive of Funakoshi in the early days and Funakoshi wanted his art to be accepted in Japan. Karate is not historically a Japanese budo art in my understanding and these things are relatively newly attached to karate. They also reflect 1920's/30's/40's Japan and are thus an anachronistic mishmash of Zen, Shinto and good old-fashioned Japanese militarism, echoed unconsciously in the shouting and militaristic style of many Shotokan classes. IMO this "budo" has no more to teach you morally than attaching any other religious-political-ideological cocktail to self-defence practices. In other words, it is irrelevant. Why not go to church instead if you fancy a bit of moral guidance?

Ben

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#409015 - 10/07/08 11:12 AM Re: Not THAT Shotokan!!! [Re: Barad]
Yugen83 Offline
Member

Registered: 08/02/08
Posts: 110
Loc: Southern Maryland
I understand, Barad. I am not trying to come off as one who jam the budo down somebody's throat (even though my previous posts would suggest otherwise, my bad), just trying to maintain some form of objectivity by going back to the source and presenting things in a way that is consistent with the aims and conventions of the style's founders. As far as budo, well, Shotokan certainly is a Gendai Budo (apart from a Koryu Budo, which would be a historical budo art). Using the word Karate is way too general because there are so many forms of Karate out there, some of them budo, some of them sport, some of them something else. We were talking specifically about Shotokan Karate, which to my understanding, is a budo along with Judo, Aikido, and Kendo (though not a Koryu Budo like those three, but definitely a budo, nonetheless).

Now, the budo teaching you something morally or giving you moral guidance? I agree - it doesn't teach you anything like that - BY WESTERN STANDARDS. I find it funny that you automatically attached church to the discussion because budo is not a religion and interpreting it as such represents yet another misunderstanding of what it is. What I get in church is something entirely different from what I get in budo because the two offer two different things. Budo is merely the way that Japanese choose to do things within their art, not some perfect, ultra-clean religion that Westerners try to make it out to be because they choose to interpret it in Judeo-Christian terms. Ditto for "perfection of character", we tend to interpret it in Western terms when in fact, the "perfection of character" that is being referred to is a Japanese convention, not a *Judeo-Christian/I'm right and you're wrong, you heathen* perspective. It is the "flavor" of Japanese martial arts (well, not all Japanese martial arts, but certainly the one that we are talking about here). What I see is a prime example of the cultural barrier - something was created in another culture to meet the needs and conventions of people within that particular culture, then somebody outside of that cultural sphere participates in it, misunderstands it (or at least, misunderstands the role that it plays within it), and proceeds to dismiss it or worse due to this misunderstanding. I personally don't fancy any moral guidance from a martial art as I don't adhere to the *Karate Kid Mystical Karate From Mr. Miyagi* line of thinking. However, I believe that in practicing something, you should practice the whole thing to get the maximum value out of it. Plus you may find something that you might like, and if you don't, at least you kept an open mind to another culture and expanded your own horizons by that much. You don't have to follow budo, but imho it doesn't make sense to practice a budo if you don't subscribe to budo, it is rather backwards. If I hate dairy or am lactose intolerant, I am not going to eat cheese and eggs anyways and then complain about the effects and talk about how much I hate dairy. However, that is nothing more than opinion, to each his/her own, and if you are satisfied then that is what counts. There is certainly nothing wrong with taking something and personalizing it so that it makes sense within your own culture. That is actually a good thing to do, but you should at least understand the totality of it and what it entails before doing such a thing.
_________________________
Locked, cocked, and ready to rock!

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#409016 - 10/07/08 11:33 AM Re: Not THAT Shotokan!!! [Re: Yugen83]
Barad Offline
Member

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

I hear what you are saying-maybe it was just my experience with Shotokan. I spent 20 years doing it (to 3rd dan) before switching to Kissaki 5 years ago. I have to say the presentation of the 20 precepts as a comprehensive life guide and vague talk about perfection of character through dilligent practice of Shotokan were extremely common from Japanese and Western instructors alike. To me this felt pretty much like moral guidance, which was not what I signed up for. Also, I rarely saw anyone who appeared to have benefited from that aspect-happy, good people would have been the same without karate most likely and violent bullies were still violent bullies (including a few Japanese instructors on pedestals) with every kind of person in between. Nevertheless it did not stop me enjoying the physical practice for many years, until I ultimately found Kissaki, which I find more practical, with a better understanding of the kata and the principles of movement and application.

Ben

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#409017 - 10/07/08 12:03 PM Re: Not THAT Shotokan!!! [Re: Barad]
student_of_life Offline
Veteran

Registered: 10/12/05
Posts: 1032
Loc: Newfoundland, Canada
can i ask what "style" or orginization of shotokan you belonged to when you trained?
_________________________
its not supposed to make sense

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#409018 - 10/07/08 01:43 PM Re: Not THAT Shotokan!!! [Re: student_of_life]
Barad Offline
Member

Registered: 11/27/06
Posts: 427
Sure-I was in the KUGB (Karate Union of Great Britain) for a few years, a now-defunct (I think) organisation then headed by the late Enoeda Sensei and linked to the JKA. I spent two years, rather wasted, at a Shotokan group I forget the name of under BASKA (British All Styles Karate Assoc) and then spent many years under Mike Springer, now a 7th Dan in his 60s (I would guess by now) with his small organisation Ashanti, a superb Shotokan technician, especially his kata, also highly graded in Okinawan kobudo. In fifteen years or so, I never saw him put a foot wrong, as far as I can remember, always fast, fluid, perfect-looking Shotokan. Like I said, the last five or six years I have been with Kissaki, ultimately headed by Vince Morris, which I really enjoy because it is totally focused on practicality and it gives me the answers to the questions I always had about the meaning and application of the Shotokan kata syllabus that I spent so long learning.

Ben

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#409019 - 10/07/08 07:52 PM Re: Not THAT Shotokan!!! [Re: Barad]
Shonuff Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 11/03/04
Posts: 603
Loc: London, UK
Greetings all, apologies for not jumping in sooner.

Much of what has been said in this thread I feel is based on some extremely common misconceptions about Shotokan and about Japanese martial arts in general. These misconceptions are so common they are taken as raw unavoidable fact, but in actuality they are based on opinion and nothing else.

The first is the notion that Shotokan was not created to be a fighting art. This is so far from correct it is amazing that it is so widely held as true.

Nothing of Gichin Funakoshi's writings supports this. When he gets old he points out that he feels karate's place in a modern non violent world (not his exact words but certainly the context in which he was writing) was as a means of building health and character in young Japanese men and women. Every thing he says about Karate (shotokan) in both Karate Jutsu (his first book) and Karatedo Kyohan is about guiding the student to develop fighting ability.

It's been shown on this forum that the rationale behind the elongation of Shotokan stances was based on developing speed and strength for close range fighting.

Shotokans only problem for fighting historically is simply that the Japanese stopped listening to Funakoshi before he taught them how to use what they were practicing. In that abyss of information they poured many myths and misconceptions.

The other big misconception discussed is the notion that a do is any less combative than a jutsu. I've written about this at length before so I'll be brief here.

We all know that technique goes out the window when adrenalin and fear hit you in real life fights. Before people had "animal day" training etc, they worked on disciplining and calming the mind by building determination and confidence through hard, punishing training. This is Do. The flowery good character stuff is a follow-on from this. Do is the natural progression of jutsu.

Now while you can train the Do aspect without ever learning to fight, I am writing this to point out that the label of Do is simply not an immediate implication of a lack of fighting ability, it was simply added to express the psycho-spiritual aims of a particular schools training. An extra dimension to a fighting art as opposed to the removal of anything.
_________________________
It's Shotokan not Shoto-can't!!!

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#409020 - 10/07/08 08:12 PM Re: Not THAT Shotokan!!! [Re: Shonuff]
Shonuff Offline
Enthusiast

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

I hear what you are saying about the Shotokan in those vids. For me they are good examples of typical Shotokan. I have come to feel that this long range linear style has enough strong points to be effective, particularly in the sloppy mess of big hits that is a real fight. Like you I've met few who could do it, but how many ever trained in such a way to develop that. It is in my view the training which is at fault not the style, and all it takes to adapt is for someone to start throwing real world punches at real world distance in one of those "traditional" shotokan clubs. A few weeks of training like that with continous drills and they'd be more than competent to get into one outside a nightclub after a few pints.
_________________________
It's Shotokan not Shoto-can't!!!

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#409021 - 10/07/08 08:18 PM Re: Not THAT Shotokan!!! [Re: Shonuff]
Shonuff Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 11/03/04
Posts: 603
Loc: London, UK
Dan, this is great!!!

Kill and kill again!

http://ca.youtube.com/watch?v=qXYySa--MIc&NR=1
_________________________
It's Shotokan not Shoto-can't!!!

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