I have a new post at my blog that describes the historical perspective on which I base my analysis. I lay out a simple hypothesis that Okinawans learned spear arts from the Chinese.
I understand that many might find unsettling, my views on the battlefield origins of today's empty hand kata. In response, I would ask if there any posters who would argue that at the time of the 1609 weapons ban, that there were no Okinawans that knew Chinese spear arts? And if so, I would be interesed in the reasoning.
If one accepts this hypothesis (that Okinawans knew Chinese spear arts in 1500 and 1609), then I would also be interested in what historical record exists to support the claim that the Okinawans discarded their spear arts.
I draw a conclusion that the Okinawans did not throw away their spear arts once the weapons bans were imposed. I argue that the historial record shows that the weapons bans were watershed events in Okinawan history. But the historical record stands fairly mute on the degree that the Okinawans may have chosen to keep their old arts and not discard them for new empty-hand designed from the ground up for empty hand fighting.
Hi Mike, seasons greetings to you.
first off, well done for the work your doing and presenting to the world, great effort I have looked around your blog and various videos.
To awnser some specifics, just my views of course -
1. I have no doubt as well that certain Okinawans learned spear arts from China, for several hundred years China was considered the 'culture' to learn in old Ryu Kyu, it was held in high esteem and 'martially' much was learnt/taken from China.
However for the most part the classical kata cannot/are not found in China and the majority of Chinese Arts look significantly different form the Okinawan ones, my view is that this is because the classical kata are indeed Okinawan creations based on various learning sources of Chinese Kung Fu.
2. Because you make the point that it is highly unlikeley that no Okinawans knew spear arts (I agree with you of course) doesn't mean that many did (personally I see the spear as a light infrantry weapon and in use within the Shuri Guard mostly (there most definatly IS a link between spear and Bo), hence it's practical absence in the vast ammount of Okinawan Kobudo avaliable, same with sword), and they kept the secret technique in the classical kata (despite the interesting technical connections you make), seems highly unlikely - Motobu Undon Ti does contain actual spear methods, but no classical kata!
Mike, I do like what you are doing but I feel that you may be jumping to conclusions in your presentations, Im not sure what classical Okinawan Karate background you have, or indeed what spear art background - understanding this would help me get where your coming from.
But I salute your efforts and hope you continue to research this interesting area, but the main points you raise, I simply disgree with and I feel that Okinawan Karate & Kobudo lineage's, actual historical references, strategic, technical and practical methods within kata and indeed the surviving Okinawan Masters support my view on this one.