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#424383 - 01/14/10 05:26 PM Re: Are karate kata true martial arts [Re: kakushiite]
Gesar Offline
Member

Registered: 06/16/07
Posts: 77
Loc: England, UK
I see far too many problems in your original logic, let me explain:

You have not clarified your dependant variable, nor have you stated how you will isolate the independant and dependant variables from the extraneous ones.

You state that:
'By fundamentally different, I mean that the art of karate',
in reply to my point about your original statement which was, I quote:

'Today we find that there are a number of ways in which Okinawan kata fundamentally differ from Chinese systems practiced today'.

You appear to have changed tact on this point. Besides some would say that Kata is the heart of karate anyway.

As regards subjectivity is in the eye of the beholder. The point is that any hypothesis that is empirically tested should be able to have the method repeated and have at least some chance of getting the same results, the more times the method is repeated the more likely we are to establish a rule from which we can in future make deductions about such matters.

But that is actually impossible, in fact you state yourself that actually you cannot prove this

Mike Eschenbrenner wrote
'I am not sure to what extent the arts that have survived are all that representative of the arts that may have been taught by the Chinese to the Okinawans between the 1400s and the early 1800s'

But your hypothesis is:
'Chinese military personal likely taught Okinawans military arts to defend tribute vessels, and that these arts survive until today' (Mike Eschenbrenner).

Do you not see this as a major problem in proving your hypothesis?

Yet you also state:
'I am not sure there really can be any way to trace any Chinese systems to the Okinawan kata practiced today' (Mike Eschenbrenner).

It seems to me that you must be bluffing something here, you cannot say that I am going to prove this, but actually what I am going to prove cannot be in anyway verified.

Chinese military arts survive until today in Okinawan Kata, but you cannot trace any Chinese systems to Okinawan kata.

Or as you have put it (direct quotes are indicated by your name in paranthesis at the end of each quote):

'Chinese military personal likely taught Okinawans military arts to defend tribute vessels, and that these arts survive until today' (Mike Eschenbrenner)

Your method: Through showing that the Chinese spear movements are still in the kata...but at the same time stating the following two points:

'I am not sure there really can be any way to trace any Chinese systems to the Okinawan kata practiced today'. (Mike Eschenbrenner)

and

'I am not sure to what extent the arts that have survived are all that representative of the arts that may have been taught by the Chinese to the Okinawans between the 1400s and the early 1800s' (Mike Eschenbrenner).

Do you see why nobody is going to accept the theory that you are proposing?
However as Mr Neeter said it does not devalue what you are doing martially (I agree).
Mr Neeter disagrees on the basis of technical inaccuracy in the interpretation of Kata (I also agree) and also historically inaccuracy (with which I also agree) however in addition I disagree on the basis that your logic is entirely flawed.

I must admit that I was also somewhat bemused by your comment about 40 surviving kata. I would be interested in knowing exactly which 40 kata that you are saying these spear techniques can be found in. Can you provide a list?

I made a suggestion, which was a sensible one. However you appear to have ignored it. If you are going to test your hypothesis then surely you have got to look at possibilities, especially when they may provide evidence or otherwise of the proposition that you have put forward in your hypothesis.

So you still might want to look at General Yeuh Fei and the Eagle claw system and also Fan Tzu Ien Jao, as these were clearly military arts that included a number of weapons, most certainly spear.

Personally I really do not think that looking at this particular system and Chinese spear arts is actually in anyway a mere academic exercise. Even so you are proposing a hypothesis, most would say that is an academic matter. Whilst you say that

'Some have tried[studying Chinese systems], but the fact remains that Okinawan kata are very different from arts practiced in China today'.

But you are looking at the spear in this systems, that is what I am suggesting, how is it used in those systems, what are the movements like, can you correlate these with any Okinawan Kata movements. You may even be able to prove that the movements of Okinawan Karate kata can be shown to have been influenced by Chinese spear techniques.

As I said Good luck with it.

Regards

Chris Norman










Edited by Gesar (01/14/10 05:55 PM)

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#424384 - 01/14/10 10:41 PM Re: Are karate kata true martial arts [Re: kakushiite]
kakushiite Offline
Member

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

I am going to address your issues later, since I have to organize your statements so I can deal with them in a less random way. You certainly have provided a number of questions, but in my opinion, many skirt the major points I have made, and revolve around unimportant issues. You seem quite interested in the role of dependent and independent variables, the notion of proof, when not can exist, and the benefit of studying unrelated Chinese arts. These are all side issues. Since you have contributed so much time in participating here, maybe you could answers some questions. I would like to have your opinions on a number of issues, many that could never be proved.

Let me begin by making some statements. I request that you to specify which of these 12 statements you have concerns with.

1. For kata practiced as early as the late 19th century, there are no sources describing the actual developers of these kata.

2. Since there are no records on who developed the kata, there are no records on the original purpose of the movements.

3. Without actual records of developer’s intent, all statements regarding the initial purpose of movements can never be proved.

4. There are a number of sources that describe the Chinese as being a major source of Okinawan karate movements

5. There are some sources that point to the role of some Chinese military personnel as having taught Okinawans.

6. There are some sources that point to the Chinese as being originators of at least some kata.

7. There are a number of sources that state that prior to the Meiji restoration, all training in Chinese arts in Okinawa was done in secret.

8. If there were records kept about aspects of the Chinese teaching of this art, they almost certainly perished in the bombardment of Okinawa in 1945.

9. There are a variety of sources that describe the criticality of Tribute trade to the Okinawan economy, especially in the years prior to the Satsuma invastion

10. There are sources that state that piracy was a severe and deadly problem regarding tribute trade

11. There is at least one source that states that on Okinawan tribute ships, the crew had the responsibility to defend the cargo and vessel during attack.

12. Tribute trade continued until 1870.


Do you take issue with any of these statements. Please let me know which you find issue with. Now, I would like to ask you to answer a number questions. I would like to understand how you might speculate on the following issues, for which no records exist.

1. Prior to the Satsuma invasion, did the Chinese have a vested interest in ensuring that tribute trade was successful.

2. Prior to the Satsuma invasion, would the Chinese have a desire that Okinawan crew members were able to successfully defend their ships. (Please note that Kerr speculates that Okinawans seafarers likely served on Chinese vessels).

3. Prior to the Satsuma invasion would the Chinese have taught Okinawan seafarers, and possibly Okinawan travelers to China, skills in defending a ship from piracy.

4. Would you agree that in 1400 and 1500, among the Chinese military, the spear was the most common weapon of warfare.

5. Would the Chinese have taught Okinawan seafarers spear arts.

6. Would it be likely that the training in these spear arts would include the practice of prearranged movements, in other words, kata?

7. After the Satsuma invasion, did the Japanese have a vested interest in ensuring the ongoing success of Okinawan tribute trade.

8. After the Satsuma invasion, would Okinawan seafarers have continued their training in military arts.

9. Would the practice of any such arts be important up until the point that firearms assumed a central role in the defense of tribute cargo.

10. At the point of the development of firearms, and the ending of tribute trade, would the practice of military arts for the purposes of defending of tribute ships have any further value in Okinawa?

11. Since this was a period still under the weapons ban, what motivation would an Okinawan seafarer have to practice military spear arts as spear arts.

I would be grateful if you would take the time to answer these questions.

Many thanks for your assistance.

-Mike Eschenbrenner

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#424392 - 01/15/10 03:57 PM Re: Are karate kata true martial arts [Re: kakushiite]
Gesar Offline
Member

Registered: 06/16/07
Posts: 77
Loc: England, UK
Mike

You have stated that you have to organize the statements that I made so that you can deal with them in a less random way.

Yes, but I have actually only quoted what you have said, although I have analysed in terms of formal logic. So lets try this again, I shall put it in more simply terms by direct quotes from your previous post:

Mike Eschenbrenner states his hypothesis is:
'Chinese military personal likely taught Okinawans military arts to defend tribute vessels, and that these arts survive until today'

Mike Eschenbrenner also tells us (quotes from your posts) that:

'I am not sure there really can be any way to trace any Chinese systems to the Okinawan kata practiced today'

and Mike Eschenbrenner (again a quote from your post) also states that:

'I am not sure to what extent the arts that have survived are all that representative of the arts that may have been taught by the Chinese to the Okinawans between the 1400s and the early 1800s'


Here are the points that I am trying to make:
A. Yes I am interested in the burden of proof as you stated that you were going to prove that there was a relationship between Chinese spear arts and Okinawan Karate Kata!

B. Yes I mention variables, as you need them for your hypothesis to be VALID. Otherwise it is not a hypothesis at all!

C. You point out that I have provided a number of questions, each and every one of these is based on one thing and one thing only, your own reasoning, which I see as flawed.

D. If these skirt the major points you have made, and revolve around unimportant issues, why have you even bothered mentioning them.

I did try to provide you with a solution as to how you could make your hypothesis a serious one and which you might be able to actually prove something, but you do not really seem to want to take this on board, I practise some spear in what I do anyway, so my interest in this is actually minimal:

Chinese systems that I mentioned:
The Chinese systems that I have mentioned are not at all unrelated, they
can be found in Okinawan Martial arts and have their root in Chinese military system, Eagles Claw a Chinese Military system influenced White Crane, which is most definitely an influence on Okinawan martial arts.

Why I mentioned them
If I am going to say that I am going to prove that Chinese spear arts were taught to the Okinawans and that these arts in some form survive until this day, then really I need to show what Chinese spear arts look like and then I need to show a correlation.


Ok as regards your 11 points, you ask me whether I take issue with them, Ok points 1-11

Point 1: The Chinese may have had a vested interest in ensuring the tribute trade was successful

Point 2: Is a possibility

Point 3: whilst this is possible it would have been the Okinawans who were most liekly to have sought out the training, but they could have sought it from a variety of sources, the evidence for this is in Okinawan Kobudo, most of the weapons had their origin in South east asian and not necessariuly China.

Point 4: Whilst the spear would have been a weapon of warfare, it was one amongst many, if you are talking about warfare you are talking about battlefields, but you are then somehow drawing links to the shipping trade.

Point 5: We really cannot say that the Chinese taught Okinawan seafarers spear arts, one way or other. There is no evidence that this was or was not so.

Point 6: Point 6 relates to point 5, but if we assume for a moment that such arts were taught in kata form, then you still need to look at Chinese Spear arts to determine this.

Point 7: Yes the Satsuma had a vested interest in ensuring the tribute trade

Point 8: There were some after the Satsuma invasion who are believed to have trained in military arts, examples are Sokon Matsumura and the Jigen Ryu, as Japanese art, as well as the other arts that he studied, we can also same the same of Tode Sakugawa. Both of whom were involved in protecying merchant ships at various points in their lives, at least so the stories tell us.

Points 9 - 10: These are about firearms and have little or no relevance to what you are arguing.

Point 11; You should really look at the articles by Gregory Smits concerning this weapons ban which has been over emphasised and which as it turns out is more fiction than fact.

Now please provide the list of the 40 kata that you are proposing you can show that these spear arts can be found in.

In your response please kindly refrain from:

Asking me to indicate a kata on youtube and you will demonstrate what these are.

Return with another set of questions without answering the original questions that have been posed to you on this forum, most especially as regards the problems with your hypothesis and other issues.


Regards

Chris Norman.

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#424394 - 01/15/10 08:07 PM Re: Are karate kata true martial arts [Re: Gesar]
kakushiite Offline
Member

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

Now you have provided me some information I can work with. Thanks. It will take time to create the reply.

I have not yet decided on the full list of 40 and will probably not do so for a couple of years. But it is doubtful that I will do fewer than 38 of the following 40 kata. If I so chose, I have some other good candidates.



  • 26 kata practiced by Shotokan(I don't include Taikyoku)
  • 7 Kyan kata
  • 5 Goju kata not brought back from China
  • Matsumura Rohai, Matsumura Passai


To date I have shown the movements of 20 of these kata.

You were eager to discuss dependent and independent variables.

The dependent variables are the specific movements in the 40 kata that I have chosen to demonstrate with a spear. These movements are individual movements, as well as short and long sequences. Kata is designed to fight multiple attackers, so groupings of movements that provide this function are each a dependent variable, as are the individual directional sequences. Kata movements are constant, they do not change. They are by definition the dependent variables.

The independent variables are the applications, spear and empty hand. Each individual reviewer will consider two aspects of each comparison. The reviewer of the evidence (individual martial artists) shall typicall determine, in their own minds whether:

1. the spear applications or the empty hand applications appear to be more effective for their respective combat environments.

2. the spear applications or the empty hand applications map closely to what is found in the kata. (Fidelity to the kata movements). This is a critically important factor. Many schools use applications that bear little resemblence to the kata movements. For example, often all kinds of non-kata movements are included.

The evidence is to be judged by those that train in arts. Each will make an individual judgment on each set of movements they review. The 40 kata contain literally hundreds of dependent variables. It will take years to amass the evidence. In most cases, the independent variable of empty hand applications will be those movements taught in the specific school of the viewer. The question will be simply: do the movements I show, compare favorably with what is taught. In each reviewers mind, my concepts will either compare more favorably with the applications they are familiar with, or they won't.

For those doing the evaluation, they can consider reviewing the movements of kata they practice, or they can look at a larger body of evidence. Over the years, I anticipate some will find the evidence I present compelling. Others will not.

Where there are applications in video available on youtube, I will reference that material for comparison. There is a growing body available and in 5-10 years there likely will be substantial content. In some cases, I may be able to persuade some martial artists to share previously non-public fighting concepts on the web for comparison. I am especially eager to engage those who are enthusiastic supporters of kata as the source of great fighting combinations.

So in order to conduct the statistical analysis you have argued is so important, I ask your participation. You have the opportunity to demonstrate the compelling evidence of empty hand kata. The evidence you believe is proof that empty hand kata were designed for empty hand fighting.

And I have the opportunity to demonstrate the evidence of the utility of empty hand kata in propelling a spear in useful fighting combinations.

I only ask that you demonstrate the movements of just one kata. I have 39 more to go after this. So how about it. In the 19th century, Naihanchi was widely taught to beginners. Would you be willing to share at least some of your movements from Naihanchi (any of the 3) to compare with spear applications?

-Mike Eschenbrenner
cayuga Karate
Ithaca, New York - USA

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#424397 - 01/15/10 11:19 PM Re: Are karate kata true martial arts [Re: kakushiite]
Gesar Offline
Member

Registered: 06/16/07
Posts: 77
Loc: England, UK

Mike
You made some point that I suggested statistical analysis, I made no such mention of any statistical analysis at all at any point. Variables can still appear in a qualitative research hypothesis.Hypo = low Thesis = Theory. But something has to be proposed to be tested against something else in order to get some result.

You state that:
'The dependent variables are the specific movements in the 40 kata', and that 'the 40 kata contain literally hundreds of dependent variables'.

You also state that 'the independent variables are the applications, spear and empty hand' and that 'the independent variable of empty hand applications will be those movements taught in the specific school of the viewer'.

So you are going to look at specific movements in 40 kata and measure the effects of those specific movements on the applications for both spear and empty hand in those same kata.

Well the only words that comes to mind now is that this is tautological.

This now seems a long way from what was originally proposed:
'Chinese military personal likely taught Okinawans military arts to defend tribute vessels, and that these arts survive until today'.

Actually you are not really proposing a hypothesis at all, what you are suggesting is that you can see that the spear can be used with Kata. Ok I will grant you that, but so can the Sai, Tonfa, Rokushakubo, Hanbo, Tankon, Nunchaku, Tinbe and Rochin to name a few.

It does not strike me that you are going to be able to prove any influence of Chinese miliatry spear arts surviving in Okinawan kata other than by your own subjective interpretation (not that there is anything wrong with that). You certainly would not be able to prove your original hypothesis with much of what you suggest anyway:

26 kata practiced by Shotokan(I don't include Taikyoku)
These are recent kata and developed for state physical education in Japan, they differ from Okinawan versions and have been subject to Japanese influence.

5 Goju kata not brought back from China: Then these are not Chinese and are also quite modern, again physical education.

So that is 31 kata out of the equation in proving the original hypothesis, good, that makes a bit more sense.

You might have something of a chance with Matsumura Passai and Rohai, but then you would have to accept that the earliest kata that you are going to have that has any possible Chinese influence is from Sokon Matsumura, which takes you back to what Chinese systems Matsumura studied.

As for the 7 Kyan kata: I assume you mean Chotoku Kyan, he was allegedly from Motobu clan, which had its own martial art, which uses spear, which in all probability came from the Chinese. So you might want to follow up on my original suggestion in the first post I made and look at Motobu Ryu Udun Ti, if you have not already that is.

I dont think that there is anything wrong with you are doing in terms of practice or even the value martially of the following two points you made:

1. the spear applications or the empty hand applications appear to be more effective for their respective combat environments.

2. the spear applications or the empty hand applications map closely to what is found in the kata. (Fidelity to the kata movements).

As to your point:
Many schools use applications that bear little resemblence to the kata movements. For example, often all kinds of non-kata movements are included.

It does appear that many modernists, especially those coming from Japanese Karate styles do this, but I think that you will find that many Okinawan stylists keep their application to the movements of the Kata. A lot of this comes about from such people modifying the movements of the original kata, it seems you are as guilty as the rest on this point:

As I note that from your blog November 29, 2009 Naihanchi that you state the following:
'In Clip 1 (2 minutes) – I practice the opening with modified footwork'.

I looked at some of your clips on your blog and it appears to me that you are adapting the kata in order to facilitate spear movements, again there is nothing wrong with that either in terms of a method of practice and I am sure that you and your students will gain something from it.

Regards

Chris Norman.

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#424400 - 01/16/10 05:08 AM Re: Are karate kata true martial arts [Re: kakushiite]
shoshinkan Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 05/10/05
Posts: 2662
Loc: UK
Hi Mike,

Thanks for awnsering my questions so openly, that is appriciated.

Mr Norman (Chris, why so formal........), is doing a great job discussing this with you and I couldn't hope to match the level of sensible discussion and questioning around the topic.

So with respect im going to bail from the discussion in full, not that im not interested I just do not have the time, patience or indeed resources to prove or disprove anything, I have my experience and opinion of course.

One thing to bear in mind is that if spear was indeed significant and represented in Okinawan Classical Karate Kata then it simply would be known, somewhere by someone of the major Ryu.

It isn't, nor is it sensibly represented in the kobudo (which has different kata from the empty hand kata) of the island.


The burden of proof is yours Mike, and good luck with it.



Edited by shoshinkan (01/16/10 05:09 AM)
_________________________
Jim Neeter

www.shoshinkanuk.blogspot.com

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#424404 - 01/16/10 01:46 PM Re: Are karate kata true martial arts [Re: shoshinkan]
Gesar Offline
Member

Registered: 06/16/07
Posts: 77
Loc: England, UK
Hello Jim,
Personally I think that pretty much everything that can be said about this hypothesis has now been said. Like you my time is also limited, I have a philosophy and critical theory course to prepare to teach this coming semester, so I am going to be busy with that whilst running the dojo.

I agree that if the spear was significant in Okinawan classical kata, we most certainly would have seen it by now, it would be known. As you say it is not sensibly represented in kobudo either. The nearest we get is from Matayoshi Kobudo with Tinbe and Rochin. We see spear in Motobu Ryu Udun Te but it is not related to Karate Kata and there are many issues about that anyway.

As we know the use of spear by Okinawans even in demos leaves something to be desired.

Given that Seitoku Higa collected all of the old kata he could find on the Island and has lineage to some older traditions, I think my comments on Okinawan use of the spear by Okinawan Karateka of old schools can be summarised by this clip:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oOukiIAnxSg

As you say, Jim, the burden of proof is with Mike, even if he does not prove his original hypothesis, he may come up with many good things.

So Good luck with it Mike.

Regards

Chris

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