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Tim Shaw
18th March 2003, 11:16
I have been a member of this group for some time and only recently started posting.

First of all let me say how impressed I've been by the general quality of debate on this forum. Although I have not read through the whole back catalogue of threads I find myself pleasantly surprised by the high quality of discussion and vast wealth of knowledge out there.

If I might be so bold as to present a question:
This comes mainly out of reading the past threads, as well as the results of my solitary foray into a particular line of discussion that I felt relevant to my own experience.

I am curious as to how you people resolve in your own minds the apparent contradictions of martial arts innovators within traditional disciplines, in this case, namely Karate, and the preservation of those same traditions?

I ask this because my reading of some of the past threads detects an ultra-conservative standpoint from prominent members of the forum - which I entirely understand. I.e. If you belong to a tradition that has deep roots and take the posture of a conservator (some may say curator) of that tradition you will fight tooth and nail to preserve it intact. A dilution or contamination of that system may put it under threat of extinction.

But what of the innovators, those who combine disciplines to take the root art(s) in a new direction. Within Japan in the early 20th century martial arts history is littered with such individuals. But where do the likes of Funakoshi, Konishi, Ohtsuka and to some extent Mabuni fit into this picture? Are they dismissed as aberrations and products of their time (political and social) and therefore of little value?

I note with interest dismissive comments about how some of these above mentioned individuals did this "disservice" or that "betrayal" to the brand name of Karate. Yes, I've heard it all before, read the book, "Japanese militarisation, blah, blah" etc. But does that mean that the products of those systems are somehow dismissed as inferior, a shadow of some earlier incarnation that was somehow pure and untainted by history?

Reach far enough back into the past and the innovators are there - and their critics: - (see Motobu's critical remarks about the ability of Itosu!) What's lost in history is lost in history, and there is a certain point which we will never be able to look back beyond. Is it possible that perhaps there is a dream of some kind of Okinawan Golden Age (I think Harry Cook wrote a letter about this same "Golden Age" in an edition of Fighting Arts International.)

So I was just wondering, does innovation have a place among traditionalists?
And also, how does one preserve a system untainted - indeed, should we set preservation orders upon certain schools, as is perhaps the case with the Katori Shinto Ryu school of swordsmanship?

Apologies if this ground has been gone over before and, if this is the case, perhaps you could direct me to the past thread.

Why do I get the feeling that this thread will be short lived, or killed off by overzealous, (but well intentioned) moderation like the last thread I was involved in was (See, “Wado Ryu?”).

Tim Shaw

Gene Williams
18th March 2003, 12:33
Wow, Tim, you sure ask a lot of questions:D I have actually thought of beginning a thread like this but decided I did not want to go through with getting embroiled in the discussion that would follow. Oh, well, let the good times roll! I have trained in Motobu-ha Shito-ryu for about 28 years now, I began in Shorin-ryu in college. I have been teaching since 1980, hold the rank of sixth dan and am a shihan in our organization. So, there is my pedigree as a basis to say anything. I always begin with kata, because they are the identifying mark of all traditional ryu. I believe they are the most important part of training ( including their applications and partner work), and should be maintained and performed as they have been passed down. Now, I realize that we can never know exactly how some of the kata were done by the originator, or what bunkai he actually intended for some of the moves. However, the major kata of most Okinawan/Japanese ryu are recognizably the same kata. Even Shotokan kata are recognizable to an Okinawan student (wow, those look like the Pinan, why did they give them a funny name and leave so much out? :p ). This brings us to innovation, whose name is Funakoshi:D Just kidding, he wasn't the only one.
In my opinion, Funakoshi changed the Okinawan kata the most in order to please the Japanese. As much as he is criticised by Okinawans (and I don't really care for the JKA way of doing the kata, but Shotokan is a fine, traditional ryu), he did not erase the identity of the kata, he maintained the general spirit of the kata, and he made his changes, I believe, with integrity. You mention Mabuni, dear to my heart since I am Shito-ryu. His innovation was primarily to combine Naha and Shuri kata into one syllabus. He also developed some kata of his own, in a very traditional format. I would argue that Funakoshi, Mabuni, and others of that era were the last of the karate apostles, by the way. They were still close enough to the time when there were actually challenges and fights among the old guys, and still close enough to the direct line of descent of the kata from China and to some of the original bushi who brought them back. I know this is very arguable to some, but we need a basis from which to start.
So, I see the orthodox kata as the Canon of karate, sort of like the Apostle's Creed and the Lord's prayer. They remind us from whence we came, who we are, and hopefully where we are going. I don't like to see them messed with. I don't like to see gratuitous changes because some modern karate ka thinks he knows better. Some things should remain the same. We don't change Shakespeare, we don't change Dickens, and we don't change the Creeds. I also do not believe in modern made up kata. What is the point with all we already have? These take a life time to master and are closer to the soul of the art...they are the soul of the art.
Now, as for innovation in bunkai, no problem as long as it is true to the moves and spirit of the kata. Sometimes a block isn't a block, and certain moves can be done on the ground, might have been designed for that. Some kata can be interpreted as against multiple opponents. That's enough for now. You have really opened a can of worms! Why am I getting into this messy stuff?
:( :( So, there is an opinion from a hard core traditionalist. Now, Tim, go stand in deep shiko dachi for fifteen minutes somewhere for disturbing my equilibrium :D Gene

Bustillo, A.
18th March 2003, 17:05
Originally posted by Gene Williams
We don't change Shakespeare, we don't change Dickens, and we don't change the Creeds. I also do not believe in modern made up kata. What is the point with all we already have? These take a life time to master and are closer to the soul of the art...they are the soul of the art.
Gene

Based on that analogy. No, we don't rewrite classics. Yet modern writers come up with new masterpieces.
Works by Hemingway, James Joyce, Herman Hesse, among others.
So, there is room for modern forms and they should have a place too.

In a previous post, you mentioned something about you didn't think much of 'forms made -up in some backyard.'

Where do you think the traditional katas were devised?
Last I heard... not on Mt Olympus.

Tim Shaw
18th March 2003, 17:24
Gene,
Thank you for that.
As newbie to this forum perhaps I've rushed in where angels fear to tread.

I can see what you’re saying; that there’s a demarcation line that cuts off at probably round about 1930, albeit a blurred line. And that you base the demarcation on the distance that those individuals are able to reach back into, as well as their experience of the ancient traditions.

You also seem to be suggesting that it is the essence, not the exact content of what is being taught/passed on that counts, or have I got that wrong?

I’m not so sure that your comments, “They were still close enough to the time when there were actually challenges and fights among the old guys,” wouldn’t cause some controversy. I have a memory of someone arguing that Okinawa in those days was actually quite a peaceful environment, but that’s all relative.

So, it appears that it is important to the conservative element to actually draw the line somewhere, not just at the historically relevant period where traditional martial arts stops, but also where it starts. And the latter being dictated by the necessity imposed by the limitations of living memory or recorded memory. (I can't help wondering at this stage what the hard line conservatives think about "rediscovered" aspects, principles, techniques that seem to be popping up all over the place, but perhaps that's a subject for another thread.) I'll brace myself for more Shikodachi:)

Tim Shaw

CEB
18th March 2003, 17:56
Besides the nomenclature changes what were the changes that Funakoshi made to his Karate to make it more favorable to the Japanese people?

Gene Williams
18th March 2003, 20:47
Hi All, Damn it, here we go:D To Mr. Bustillo: I still don't think much of the kata I see that have been made up by today's so called "masters." Neither do I place Hemingway, Hesse, Joyce, et al in the same class with Shakespeare and Dickens (hey, I was an English major). I think a line does have to be drawn somewhere; it is difficult to draw, I will admit, but there are characteristics of the old, classical kata that I think are definable and recognizable. I believe it has to do with the culture in which the kata were developed, call it cultural archetypes, a way of thinking that was qualitatively different, centuries of Chinese/Okinawan cultural exchange codified in the kata, or a combination of all that and more.
Ed, Nagamine's book, "Tales of Okinawa's Great Masters", gives a pretty good account of some of the things Funakoshi did and changed that the Okinawans felt were misrepresentative of Okinawan karate. Morio Higaonna and I had a discussion about this at seminar once, and Kuniba used to talk about this some. Kokutsu dachi JKA fashion: totally uncharacteristic of Okinawan karate, probably adopted because it was used a lot in Japanese kenjutsu ,and therefore more pleasing to the Japanese eye; shuto uke, changed so that the wrist, fingers, and hand are in line. It is pretty, but won't block anything; diminished use of sanchin, creating hangetsu dachi, the whole one punch, one kill mentality is a sword philosophy. There are many other subtle changes and some not so subtle. Now, that isn't really the issue here, because I count Funakoshi as one of the classicists in karate, it is just that Shotokan is very different from the Okinawan styles. Hell, just doing the Pinan after doing JKA Heian was an entirely different feel and spirit. Those things are significant. Dammit, Ed, aren't you Goju, why are you messing up my day:p
Tim, you have to be careful when you say it is the "essence and not so much the content" of kata, because essence is vague and modern wannabee's will take that and make up kata with flips in them:rolleyes: I don't think the Okinawans separated essence and content so much. That is Western philosophy. I do think that each kata has a certain spirit in how the moves are done, the breathing, rhythm, etc. that gets passed down when the kata is taught and which continues to develop along the same line as the practitioner gains years in the art. Enough for now. Let's see what this drags out. Gene

CEB
18th March 2003, 21:36
Thanks, Mr. Williams.

If you ever get a chance look at old printings of Funakoshi's books that still has the original pictures. A friend of mine has them. His karate looks a lot more Okinawian than the pictures that were put in the books after the reign of Nakayama. I assumed most of the changes that occurred were due to the university karate movement and the desire of the young karate guys to be able to have competitions like the judo and kendo guys had. The karate of the JKA doesn't look like the karate of Funakoshi but that doesn't mean he didn't change things. I am just a Goju guy I don't know anything about that stuff.

hector gomez
18th March 2003, 22:56
Ed,

I like the way that sounds The Nakayama reign"but you are correct in that this little part of karate history changed the course of karate at large, especially when the university guys wanted to make karate into a sport similar to judo and kendo.


Here is a thought I have had for a long time and although I would be the first to admit that I don't know all the exact dates and details of most all okinawan & jappanese karate history.I believe this is the time frame catergorized by Ed above as the nakayama reign era, it is here were the old okinawan karate methods were lost(something that is argued on here constantly)were they really lost?or not taught to the jappaneese?or did the jappaneese simply want to improve upon the art and add their own flavor to karate?


Remember the lost bunkai(that mostly involves grappling&striking vital areas) that most okinawan stylist constantly complain about the jappaneese karate practicioners not knowing?

Well my friends it's hard to imagin okinawan practicioners having a better grappling application method than the pro judo nation of japan especially after the turn of the century,could it be that the jappaneese with their very proven grappling history & methods for grappling wanted to bypass some of these so called grappling applications and make karate more streamlined,direct and to the point?

I am not totally convinced that the only reason karate changed it's
focus in it's kata was simply because it was put into the schools system and cleaned up for everyone to practice in a safer way.

Could the mostly pro japaneese judo nation of japan of which they had a lot of vast experience in things like grappling not totally believe in all of the okinawan karate applications and interpretations?


I really believe they took it and said this will work and this will never work.with this we ended up with jappaneese shotokan karate I am not here claiming it's better or not,just stating what might have happened.I really find it hard to believe that they were completely unaware of certain bunkai apps or interpretations in transforming the okinawan karate system into jappaneese karate system that we all know.


let the ripping begin and by the way it must always continue to change and evolve for the sake of tradition.

Hector Gomez

CEB
18th March 2003, 23:36
Weren't most the Okinawian Meijin innovators and changers? The one exception may have been Uechi. I don't know anything about Uechi Ryu except what my Goju Ryu teacher who holds a 4th dan in Uechi showed me. Very cool stuff.

Do the Okinawians in general currently seem to be more inclined to change their arts than their Japanese counterparts? One of my Kendo teachers is found of a saying 'In Japan the nail that sticks up get hammered down.' Which he relates to how the environment is very pro-conformity.

Goju Ryu seems to have continually changed until Miyagi's death. Shodokan Goju Ryu from Higa Seiko is very interesting because Higa left Okinawa in 1937 to take a job on Saipan. He returned to Okinawa but never studied directly under Miyagi after his return. The kata from Shodokan have a interesting flavor. Jundokan according to Miyazato Sensei was supposed to represent what Miyagi Sendai was teaching as Goju Ryu at the time of his death. When I look at the kata from Goju Kai I personally see more in common with older Okinawian Goju froms than I do with the Jundo kan forms. I believe the reason for this is that the core of Nippon Goju Ryu came from Pre-War Goju Ryu. This maybe changing because I have been told that members of major Japanese Goju organizations have been training with Meibukan and Jundokan teachers.

The kata was never the major difference between Japanese and Okinawian karate anyway, IMO. I think it was the training methods in general that are big the difference. Okinawian teachers teach more Sanchin Japanese teachers use a lot more calenthstenics. Okinawian teachers make more use of Hojo Undo using various training implements. Japanese teachers use a lot more Calenstenics.

A guy I know was telling me a funny story about when he was training on Okinawa during the time he lived there. He was the only Gaijin in the dojo and he noticed that his Sensei didn't teach him the same karate that was being taught to everyone else and it bothered him. He felt maybe he was being short changed since he was a Gaijin, not being taught the real stuff. He finally questioned his sensei on it. His teacher told him that yes you very big. You must learn big man karate. Okinawian teachers I am familiar with do not teach cookie cutter karate.

I don't know but adaptation and innovation seem very Okinawian to me. ( to a certain point.) The idea of not changing anything seems more in line with the mindset of the 4 major Japanese Karate systems, Shotokan, Wado Ryu, Shito Ryu and Nippon Goju Ryu then the okinawian teachers I have met.

Doesn't a lot of it revolve around the reason for studying the particular art. I mean if you study a 450 year old sword art you are not going to change anything because your art is a living antique. I don't think Okinawian karate was meant to be an antique but then again what isn't broke doesn't need to be fixed.


Number one thing not to say at gasshuku even though it is probably true: "But thats not the way you taught it last year Sensei".

Harry Cook
19th March 2003, 00:07
I think, somewhat paradoxically, that innovation is the lifeblood of traditional karate. If early instructors such as Sakugawa, Matsumura etc hadn't revised, adapted, and modified what they learned then Shorin Ryu as it exists today would not exist. Instead there might be a form of Shaolin similar to the methods found in mainland China. The same is true of Goju Ryu and Uechi Ryu. I Miyagi or Uechi hadn't revised, modified etc the systems they learned then Goju Ryu and Uechi Ryu would not exist and people would be training in Tiger or Crane boxing.
Choshin Chibana is reputed to have said "Karate as it is transmitted, changes every few years...It happens because a teacher must continue to learn and adds his personality to the teachings. There is an old Okinawan martial arts saying that states that karate is much like a pond. In order for the pond to live, it must have fresh water. It must have streams that feed the pond and replenish it. If this is not done then the pond becomes stagnant and dies. If the martial arts teacher does not receive an infusion of new ideas/methods, then he too dies. He stagnates and, through boredom, dies of unnatural causes."
It is interesting to note that while Okinawan karateka may deprecate Japanese systems, Chinese boxers often look down on Okinawan methods; Robert W. Smith in his Chinese Boxing Masters and Methods (1974) refers to han Ching-T'ang who said that "Most karate started from spillage from Fukien province. It is in no sense profound..." p62. However there are those who do not rate Chinese methods. I was teaching in India a couple of years ago and I met a master of Kalari; his students put on a demonstration for us and I thought they were really good. I asked him what he thought of the Chinese systems he had seen, and he said that he thought they had missed the point - good for exercise but not real fighting!! I thought to myself that this all sounds depressingly familiar.
Yours,
Harry Cook

CEB
19th March 2003, 00:07
Originally posted by hector gomez
Ed,

...
it is here were the old okinawan karate methods were lost(something that is argued on here constantly)were they really lost?or not taught to the jappaneese?or did the jappaneese simply want to improve upon the art and add their own flavor to karate?
....

Hector Gomez

High ranking teachers from Japanese Goju traditions have sought instruction from Meibukan and Jundokan teachers in order to acquire what they lost and/or never had.

Goju Man
19th March 2003, 00:16
You know a lot of this really depends on the individuals reason for studying the martial arts. To say that "newer" forms take away from the art is nonsense. If you are studying the arts from a historical perspective, with an added benefit of learning to defend yourself against a common ordinary thug, the non changing approach is best. There is no need for change.

If you are trying, however, to stay on top of the art of "combat", then I believe your approach would have to include change. Let me say that many "traditionalists" may keep the kata and other training methods the same, but not one spends two hours a day hitting the makiwara, for example. So much for keeping things "unchainged". If you leave any part of what the old ones did, you have then altered the training.

The Okinawans changed their art to fit their needs, just as if the need were here today, and these "challenge" matches were being held today, with all the innovations available today you can believe they would be doing it differently. To say that after seventy or eighty years gone by that no one has the same enginuity that the old ones had is rediculous.

As Ed brought up, Goju had undergone many changes, you can see the difference in the way kata are performed from one sect to another. Uechi was unchanged in that way, but forms were added by Kanei Uechi if my memory serves me correct. It is only today where we find ouselves not wanting to change anything. What of Mas Oyama's contribution to Karate? What about the movement he started and all the fine offshoots that have come. They may not look as pretty as some classical ryu, but the can sure open the can of whoop'em.

Goju Man
19th March 2003, 00:19
Harry, very well said.:smilejapa

Gene Williams
19th March 2003, 04:03
Hi, Funakoshi's book, which I have, was written not long after he went to Japan. The pictures do appear to be more Okinawan than not, but Funakoshi was in Japan a long time and I'm sure the changes didn't happen all at once. Whether they were due more to Nakayama and the universities doesn't matter. The art was changed significantly. The point about the difference in training is well taken. My first intructor was Shorin-ryu from Southern Japan. Classes were kata and partner work, very little up and down the floor, very few calisthenics other than stretching.
When I trained in Wado for a few years when I did not have a Shorin or Shito-ryu school, it was all up and down the floor and repetitive group kata.
It is significant to me that all the major Okinawan and Japanese ryu do the same kata. Even though there are differences of stance, technique, and spirit of the kata, they are recognizably the same. There seems to have been very little inclination on the part of folks like Nakayama, Funakoshi, Motobu,
Hayashi, Higaonna, Kuniba, Shimabuku, Otsuka, Kyan, Soken and a host of others to make up new kata. Mabuni did develop a few of his own, but he never promoted them above the classical ones. Oyama developed a couple of his own, but his primary kata are basically Shotokan. There is, I believe, a good reason for that. The classical kata provide us with a norm and a common language, if you will. When I visit a Goju school and see someone doing Seipei, I know that kata. I can see some differences in the spirit of the kata (characteristic of the style), maybe an angle or two are different, but it is Seipei...the same one I do. If I go to a Shorin school, I recognize Bassai Dai, Gojushiho, the Pinan. I can tell from the way the person does the kata how well he understands it and whether he has been doing it a long time or just a few years;) My class sometimes meets to train with a local Shorin-ryu school. We line up and do the same kata together, each student doing the kata their style's way. But they are the same kata. We have plenty to talk about and notes to compare. We speak the same language. When I go down to the local master of the Hunky-Dunky-ryu, I don't have anything to compare with what they do. There is no history, no common language, not to mention the fact that most of what I have seen in this vein is just awful or at best mediocre (and I have seen a lot of it all over the country). I have attended seminars given by the goju guys with Morio Higaonna. We do the same kata, except they don't do the Shuri stuff. Higaonna looked at my Seiuchin and said, smiling, "Shito-ryu, yes." Then taught me to do it his way. That's gold, folks. Where will you find that with the Hunky Dunky ryu? Chuzo Kotaka, when he split with Seishin Kai, developed a bunch of his own kata ( and he is probably one of the most qualified to do that). We learned some of them from him and his students, but not one of us does them anymore. They just didn't ring true when compared to the classics. So, innovation is dangerous because once it starts, where does it end. Oh, and you can argue that there are modern "masters" who can develop kata that are on par with the classics, but I have yet to meet one, and I have met a lot. Learning doesn't stop; new techniques continue to come out of the kata, etc., but the kata itself should keep its integrity and history. I'm tired. Tomorrow let's talk about the purpose of kata and what 's supposed to happen when you study them. Goodnight. Gene

Machimura
19th March 2003, 05:15
First off I will try to use some decorum. This thread will not be locked down, hahaha! OK of course Kyoshi Cook is 100% correct as always, and he's a Shotokan guy (and Goju). Hemingway and Steinbeck were NOWHERE near equal to Homer, Shakespeare or Dickens. Not even close. In the same breath I can also honestly say that the students of Miyagi and Matsumura were nowhere near as good as their teachers. Some were better than others, but with the exception of Hohan Soken all wanted their karate to become Japanized. That was their way of making sure their precepts and interpretations were passed on. It also gave them some money and fame. Nothing wrong with that.

The problem some folks have, even the "sell-outs", which include most modern Ryu, Okinawan or Japanese, with the 100% sport interpretation of karate is the fact that a finely crafted chest of gold now has very few treasures left in it. You have a pretty container, but it is quite barren. Everything is pretty much standardized and when things become staus quo they no longer have a soul (or their own spirit).

Hohan Soken always said that it was good to learn from other styles and teachers. He also said that his karate and the karate he remembers as a kid had its own flavor of grappling. Some call it Okinawan Sumo. It is more like jiujitsu than sumo, but without the gi. No gi JJ. So to say that Judo, sport JJ, is somehow superior to a more combat oriented Okinawan grappling form is just showing naivete'. There are things some of us don't know. Soken said severe dislocations and broken bones were common events in these Ti games. If you could learn from a system that teaches you these "lost" things, then why do Judo or wrestling? Ivan Gomes, a great fighter in the Gracie camp back in the day, eventually became a Japanese pro wrestler with the help of Inoki, and furthered his grappling skills by studying Judo at the Kodokan and Okinawan Sumo on Okinawa. When he returned to the mainland he was undefeated for 80+ matches, and this was real not WWE stuff.

Althouhg he first trained at the Kodokan, what he learned on Okinawa was interesting enough for him to stay there and train. You have to understand that the new and improved sometimes ain't. If knowledge is lost or misinterpreted it is up to someone to "find" or "reformulate" it. This means not only the lost grappling techs in kata and karate in general, but also the invention of new kata. At a certain level the Shihan is required to atart thinking about his art from his perspective. Okinawan training is not rigid. Every student is taught similar principles based on their individuality. Also, a 7th or 8th Dan Sensei can create his own kata. Chibana did it, Ashihara did it and so did Shuguro Nakazato. If you are a "Master" and have mastered the styles core kata then why shouldn't you be able to contribute to your lineage? Think about it.

Harry gave you a sample of the thinking of the Okinawans. They never believed that their karate was a stagnant thing. They understood that change was essential for "aliveness" and it has changed a lot. The foundation is usually easy to see, but revised too much a Van Gogh becomes a Van (hell)-No! Judo found this out when Judoka tested their world class skill against a real fighter from a real style like Royce Gracie. The Japanese don't care about efficacy or preserving the Okinawan or Chinese flavor of something. They are Social Darwinists like us and that's self-explanatory. $$$$$$!!!!

Bryan Cyr

Tim Shaw
19th March 2003, 10:01
Good to see that this is all beginning to develop momentum.

To Hector Gomez,
You said:
“I am not totally convinced that the only reason karate changed it's
focus in it's kata was simply because it was put into the schools system and cleaned up for everyone to practice in a safer way.”

And

”Could the mostly pro japaneese judo nation of japan of which they had a lot of vast experience in things like grappling not totally believe in all of the okinawan karate applications and interpretations?”

This last point I’ve often wondered about.
Talking from direct experience; I have trained with teachers of various Okinawan disciplines, namely Pangai Noon, Shorin Ryu and Gojo Ryu (That last one being three years in the Dojo of one of Miyazato Sensei’s Jun Do Kan representatives) In these situations I experienced a selection of the locking and throwing aspect of the kata “Bunkai” and found them so very different from the versions of the same categories of techniques I have experienced in my own discipline (Wado Ryu). Yes they were very direct, but whereas the Okinawan methods seemed to go directly into the attack, the Japanese Koryu Jujutsu tradition, that is obviously a major part of Wado Ryu, paid more concern to attacking the weaker angle, employment of strikes (again with angle a key part of the attack/response calculation) to debilitate and set up the technique. Also the emphasis on “Bunkai” (strangely the word “Bunkai” is dropped in most Wado Dojos, the enlightened ones that is :D in favour of “Kaisetsu” or “Ohyo”.) tends to be primarily a study of body angles, physical forces and the application of the principles that Hironori Ohtsuka found within Okinawan kata. And bear in mind here is a man who learned and expanded his learning of kata with the likes of Funakoshi, Mabuni and Motobu.

It is also the case that Ohtsuka was thirty years old before he was introduced to Okinawan karate and was already a holder of a Menkyo Kaiden in Shindo Yoshin Ryu Koryu Jujutsu. This assumes a lot of experience in the striking grappling aspects of a pre Kano influenced very sophisticated fighting system. Interesting that Ohtsuka chose not to adopt the style of “Bunkai” that was undoubtedly demonstarted to him by Motobu etc. Also, I heard that Choki Motobu was interested in learning Japanese Judo/Jujutsu while in Japan and that his relationship with Ohtsuka was based on the two-way traffic of fighting knowledge.

Re. Invention of new kata.
I would agree that this is an all but impossible task.
Konishi tried his hand at inventing a kata and showed it to (of all people) Morihei Ueshiba, who dismissed it out of hand. Konishi went back to the drawingboard and acting on Ueshiba’s advice produced another kata that the Aikido master finally gave the nod of approval to. Ohtsuka never tried to invent a kata, but instead was keen to cut down the number of katas available to him, saying that a core 9, Pinans through to Chinto, was more than enough.

Tim Shaw

Gene Williams
19th March 2003, 11:40
Hey Bryan, I think I agree with most of what you said. The issue here is not flexibility and change within the understanding of orthodox karate. That has always happened, but the classical kata have maintained their identity over a lot of years. I find that both wonderful and remarkable given the evolution of technique and strategy. I believe that is because the kata were seen by our progenitors in the art as its soul. The kata are the canon of karate. They contain many fundamental moves which can be interpreted in many ways without having to change the move. Yes, there is grappling, escape techniques, weapons defense, and much more in abstract form which different personalities an different experience levels will interpret differently. Sometimes you don't mess with the classics because consensus is it couldn't be done any better. There is nothing wrong with that. I see the kata as kind of an anchor in the stream of technique and strategy which flows and changes, but there is always something to ground you and give you a reference point. Gene

Goju Man
19th March 2003, 12:35
Here is a question I now pose. If you can have kata where you don't need a physics degree to interpret, obviously you can "interpret" any move you like into any kata, but why have it so complicated. There are "newer" karate styles where you know exactly what it is you are performing.That way, even solo training is very beneficial. Of course we're talking practicality here, not preservation of the art itself.

Gene Williams
19th March 2003, 12:56
Manny, I'm not sure I understand you. Solo training is very beneficial with the classical kata. You don't need a physics degree to interpret them, but they are both abstract enough and practical enough to allow for a wide range of interpretation. I just have never seen any "newer" kata that impressed me. Were you at any of the Higaonna seminars up in Orlando several years back that Tony Madamba sponsored? I notice you list Goju in your profile. Thanks, Gene

Kimura
19th March 2003, 13:02
My intentions were never to convey that the japaneese karate systems were eclectic or even progressive in their methods of training,just different in the sense of their projections and focus.

Every country that has recieved a gift of fighting knowledge from another country has interpreted it,revamped it and basically put their own stamp of aproval on it for better or for worse,including okinawa.

One of the things I personally do not like about the japaneese karate systems is their cookie cutter mentality when it comes to training, while the okinawans always did train more like boxers in the sense that it was specialized for their own body,size and strengths advantages along with making the training enviorment more individulized.


As far as sport judo being less effective for real combat than a classical form of grappling like traditional jujitsu or okinawan grappling where is the proof?show me money!!!!,or just simply refer to the tokyo police fights of the late 1800s.Judo at the turn of the century was not like the sport judo of today.

Just because a fighting art has more deadly techniques found in their system or repitoire(SP) does not necsesarly make it a more combat effective art.this was proven over 100 years ago in the tokyo police fights.

How is a primarily kata oriented grappling system more effective than a live resistive form of grappling?even if the deadly grappling techniques are omitted from the live resistence grappling?

Kano and the gracies figured this out a long time ago.


Hector Gomez

Gene Williams
19th March 2003, 13:11
Hector, I think we are comparing apples and oranges here. My own belief is that kata have a deeper purpose than merely teaching fighting skills, although if properly used and taught against resistance they do. Judo has kata. You are right in what you say, but I don't think you are looking at classical karate kata in the same way I am. Where can I find something on the Tokyo police fights? I don't know anything about them. Thanks, Gene

hector gomez
19th March 2003, 14:31
Hi Gene,

For what it's worth,here is a little judo/graciejj and tokyo fights history.

JUDO HISTORY by M. Tripp

Before I begin; lets understand the ground rules. Disagree if you wish; but you are going to have to do it with facts not emotion. You will have to back up your statements with historical facts.

The history of BJJ/GJJ is a cloudy one; made so by people who wish to "sell" it. Miscalling people like Maeda and Kimura jujutsu people is a glaring example of this. To this end; we are going to have to define once and for all what jujutsu is; and what judo is. Subsets are not really the issue.

In terms of what came from Japan, and then became BJJ/GJJ; EITHER it is jujutsu or judo. There is NO middle ground here. Jujutsu (jiujitsu or jujitsu are incorrect spellings; Check out Secrets of unlocking Aikijujutsu for full chapter and verse on this); was a traditional Bujutsu ryu-ha of old Japan. As a traditional ryu-ha; it was taught and practiced in a certain way.

Dragger spells this out plainly in his works on Bujutsu both old and modern; to wit 1. No Belt Ranks 2. No sparring, only kata and one steps 3. Training for the Battlefield only I could post more but you get the point. ALL traditional bujutsus were about killing someone in the course of defending or storming a castle, or fighting a large-scale battle.

In the case of Jujutsu it was about getting free to kill someone. The skills of grappling in armour with a tanto; getting your arms free to draw a sword, etc., THIS is the basis for the traditional ryu-ha's of Jujutsu. Now; BUDO unlike Bujutsu, was always about the person, not the group. The change from bujutsu wasn't about "watering down" techniques; but rather changing them to apply to the new world they lived in. People were not wearing swords; or storming and defending castles anymore. The focus of the training had to change with the times.

Now; for this first part; the ONLY thing we are going to ask is "Is BJJ/GJJ a traditional Bujutsu ryu-ha".

Well, lets look: 1. Belt Ranks - Yes 2. Katas & One Steps - No 3. Battlefield training - No (a one on one duel is not the battlefield.) Again, if you want to debate this, you are going to have to do two things; disprove Dragger, AND tell me the NAME of the traditional jujutsu ryu-ha BJJ/GJJ claims to come from. There is a question for any Gracie to answer, if you want to use them for your quote and history source. CLEARLY; even the Gracies admit that Maeda was the one who brought them "jiujitsu" as they call it. I will get to him in the course of this history class. But for now; the point is, BJJ/GJJ is NOT Bujutsu and then cannot possibly be jujutsu, as defined by Japan's history. Next; lets see what "jujutsu" evolved into. Class dismissed.

Jigoro Kano was from a well to do family and an educator. He saw several problems with the old style training that he knew had to change. Brutal treatment of students and the lack of a systematic training method being high on his list. Also, he saw Budo as something beyond fighting. He felt that we should grow from the experience (the playing fields of Eaton and all that). So Kano created a "new" way to teach and train in the old Bujutsu. I put new in quotes because how much of this was his idea and how much of this he "improved" from other sources is subject to much debate.

But; in 1882 he opened his first school with the following training methods in place:

1. A belt system to show the difference between beginning, intermediate, and advanced students. 2. A "lesson plan" that taught the basic skills then built on them to advanced skills. 3. Katas to preserve tradition. 4. Randori and Shiai as the new "battlefield" to test your techniques.

Now; much has been said over the years that Kano wanted to create a safe "sport" rather than a combat art. This is simply not so and ignores dozens of written works by Kano that refute it. What he wanted was a "sporting" attitude in Judo. That is not the same thing. Example, I am rolling with a player and he gets the choke, I tap, he lets go. THAT is sporting. I tap, he doesn't let go, that is NOT sporting. If he cranks on a joint lock and I have no chance to submit, THAT, is not sporting.

There is the "sport" Kano wanted to create. He knew you couldn't allow strikes in Randori/Shiai as people would get seriously injured. But there was more to it than that. Kano knew by then that so called "deadly" techniques (for an unarmed fighter) were mostly myth and impossible to master the way "sporting" techniques could be. How you you master an eye gouge? Look how well you can master the throw into the arm lock. This was Kano's point.

Also, Kano wanted to keep the "life and death" aspect of the old Samauri tradition in the matches. The problem is, killing students tends to decrease the student body. So the "death" became a symbolic one, submission! The ONLY way you could win a match in Kano's Judo was to tap out or get knocked out by a throw. Both of these areas held real Budo lessons that Kano wanted taught. "9 times thrown, 10 times rise," taught that you must keep getting up when life knocks you down. The submission aspect was the "death", by tapping I agreed you "killed" me. This was still a death to the ego (and the reason so many people have a problem with submission fighting); and Kano felt learning how to deal with, and overcome this death would build strong character; and better people.

Finally Kano changed the name of what he was doing from Jujutsu to Judo, to show this difference in training methods. NUMEROUS Jujutsu masters of the old ryu-ha came and joined him in this new concept. They began to share and exchange techniques under these new training methods, and for 4 years their skills grew. This is important because in 1886, we have the first UFC test for Kano's school. But that is the next lesson... OK; we understand now what a true Bujutsu ryu-ha is. And we are now at the point where the change is happening from Bujutsu (battlefield arts) to Budo (personal arts).

As far as major techniques go; the real difference here is lack of weapons. On the battlefield you have several; in personal life, you have none. The very term "martial art" is flawed as there has never been a war where the Judo army charged the hill held by the Tae Kwon Do army. What "war" was fought with what we think of as "martial arts". That term should be reserved for true battlefield arts with weapons. I say this to explain the problem people had with changing the systems from Bujutsu to Budo. Simply put; you can't train unarmed fighters the same way you train people with weapons. Think about it; with a sword; kata works because really if I draw my sword faster than you and get the first cut in; there isn't much else to worry about. Same could be said for gun fighting in many ways. If someone had a new idea; well, there were plenty of wars and duels to the death to see if this guy was full of crap or not. Only the living taught the classes. But unarmed skills were not that clear. How do you fight unarmed? What skills are needed? How do you train? What is effective in a fight like this and what is the best way to gain those skills? These were the questions people were trying to answer with the "new" manner of teaching the "old" ryu-ha. Training was brutal; people were seriously injured; and brawling in the streets was common to test the fighter's skills. Clearly this wasn't going to work well, or for very long.

In fact these brawls are why ALL jujutsu masters began to get a very bad reputation. This as about to change as a young man named Kano had been training in jujutsu; and after seeing what people were trying to do; he had a plan of his own... NOTE: I am going to make a promise here. If people will wait until history thread is over; and honestly and objectively think about it; even the BJJ/GJJ folks are going to say in essence "yep; this is correct and in truth we were wrong about what we thought he was saying." Lets see if they do! The events changing Jujutsu to Judo were not only at the Kodokan (Kano's home for Judo). Remember all those changed ryu-ha's with the brawling members? Other schools were attempting to make the change from Bujutsu to Budo. To say there was great rivalry between these schools was an understatement.

The tradition in Japan was that ANYONE could walk into a school and challenge the top student; if you beat him you could challenge the head master. If you beat him you could take their dojo sign down. (Notice Bruce Lee does this in one of his movies; Chinese Connection) Kano did not like this kind of thing and never sent people out to do so. However tradition was tradition and he knew people would be coming to the Kodokan. He ALWAYS made sure there was a student there who could handle anyone "dropping by". They never lost those matches and many people became students because of this. About 1886; the Tokyo Police department wanted to set up a program in "modern" (a relative term for us in 2000, but not to them in 1886) combatives for their officers. The question was, which unarmed ryu should they be taught. Several presentations were made; and they decided to hold an event to see which of the various styles were more effective. The rules were simple; one-hour time limit; you either had to tap out, quit, or your seconds throw in the towel (I have a translated release form for this event). Other than that it was anything goes.

Kano put himself above all other styles and insisted his "Judo" be tested against every other style that day. Every match would have a Kano's fighter in it. The number of these matches is unclear. (THE FOLLOWING IS OPINION) I have been told my real inside Kodokan people is the reason you get different numbers is not because Judo lost any of those matches (Fact: they did not); but that some people they fought were seriously injured or died and that really flew in the face of Kano's idea for "Budo". If you think about the level of fighter, and the techniques allowed; it isn't hard to see this is quite possible. But it doesn't matter if there were 10; 12; or 15 fights that day, History shows us that Judo defeated all comers (with one draw, but more on that next time...) and was chosen by Tokyo Police as the unarmed combat method for their Officers. Like it or not; (and some people are not going to like it); on that day Jujutsu as a living active martial art ended. Yes, there are a few styles in Japan keeping their old traditions alive. Just like some people in this country go into the woods and play "Civil War" for a few weeks every year. These are not living, changing, adapting systems; but people who enjoy playing Samurai. Nothing wrong with that; but don't try and sell it as a modern effective system. We don't wear swords anymore.

Judo became the prominate Japanese martial art, and it's first Budo.

The only question was, what would happen when others adopted its training methods... I'll answer it next time, as we talk about that draw...

Well, things sure look great for the Kodokan! Teaching all over the place; won the 1886 event; sounds great right?

Well, there was another "UFC" match that the judo folks REALLY don't like to talk about. It was in 1888. More on that in a moment.

Judo at this time was a slamming art with some strikes and pins. The art of submission was VERY limited, as most old style Jujutsu or modern judo people had little need for submission in the real world. Kano taught four kinds of throws in Kodokan Judo, sport throws (to win events) "building throws" (a throw that teaches you a movement you will use in a later advanced throw i.e. uki goshi/harai goshi); gymnastic throws (simply there because Kano felt the rolling and tumbling was good for you); combat throws (miscalled; these throws were safe ways to practice serious combat throws i.e. hiza guruma).

To see the truth in the above; notice that only about 10 throws from the go kyo no waza are used to score ippon in judo shiai's! Worse; there are VERY few people any more who know which throws were which. This is why I tell people to focus on those 10 and leave the others alone. At this time, another jujutsu ryu-ha saw the need to change their training methods and they too joined the Kodokan and began using the Judo training methods. This school after watching many randori and shiai sessions at the Kodokan made a simple observation; it was VERY hard to slam someone until they quit. Moreover, it was painful too!

They looked at the rules of the 1886 Tokyo Police Challenge and took it upon themselves to come up with a better way to win such a match (remember that one hour time limit).

Now (all BJJ/GJJ folks pay attention); I want you to read carefully how they trained (BTW: Osaekomi by Kashiwazaki pages 14 & 15 contains this information and more): 1. First to avoid losing and cause a draw. 2. To defeat the defence of a person playing for the draw and go for the win. Submission was key to these people! They found that "dojime" or "trunk squeezing" could keep a person at bay as they looked for a submission (read dojime as guard folks).

They would NOT submit; it was dishonour to them to do so (hmmmm... sound familiar?). I leave you to the source for more of this material. But I think you get the point. They attended the Kodokan Shiai event in 1888 with a team of 10 men; ten men who would fight the top ten men of the Kodokan.... Ten matches; ten submissions; no draws! O U C H! Kano at that point saw that if his ideal of "balance" were true (and it was/is) then Ne-waza would have to be of equal importance to the Kodokan as Tachi-waza.

The submissions fighters were given a High School to not only teach at but perfect new and varied submissions such as sankaku-jime and new kansetsu waza. This continues to this day and is where the term "Kosen Judo" comes from. From that point, and up until 1920 Judo grew to the ends of the world with equal importance on throws and submissions. Kano even brought an Okinawan karate master to the Kodokan seven times to teach advanced striking methods (this is how Funakoshi came to move to Japan and set up the Shotokan karate dojo). The challenges to the Kodokan pretty much ended. There were many people such as Kimura and Maeda who travelled all over the world fighting and defeating all comers with the Judo they mastered from the various specialists at the Kodokan.

When next we talk we will speak of the changes made in 1925; the death of Kano; Judo as Sport; and the Olympic games. Till then; I hope you are enjoying this as much as I am!

"A camel is a horse that was designed by a comittie"

Well, time for the problem of all groups to begin to occur... Kodokan Judo is a very big thing.

When you look at it, it can be sport; self-defense; police training; traditional martial art; exercise; Budo; etc. Or any and all of the above. People coming to the Kodokan were there for different reasons. Each person tended to work on what best suited those reasons. More often than not; they forgot the basic lesson of Judo, ballance.

This caused MAJOR internal strife and battles (throws vs submissions; combat vs sport; etc) Kano began banning various techniques due to injury (BTW: I now have historical evidence that people were killed in the Tokyo Police challenge matches). Some people liked these changes; others did not. People left over this. Kano also had to remove members for brawling. This pained him; but his school was the training school for the police; he had no choice. Kimura is an example of this. (People say Medea or Count Koma as well, but I can find no evidence of this). Still, People from all over the world came to him to seek out his teaching methods.

W.E Fairbairn trained and got a 2nd degree black belt from him! Also one of the "big three" of Sambo did the same. These men, and many others; didn't leave so much with techniques; but with training concepts that they would carry on to their own programs.

However; the greatest change was outside of the Kodokan; upon Japan itself. Let's just say that Japan had plans and wanted all aspects of its Country to be in step with them. (See "Blood on the Sun" with James Cagney, who BTW, was another Kodokan Black Belt!) The decision was made to turn the Kodokan into a military academy.

The only problem was; Kano objected to this. He felt that there was no place for "war" inside of the Kodokan. It was a direct violation of Judo. Obviously this did not please the government of Japan. Then, oddly, on his way back from Egypt from a meeting with the IOC about making Judo an Olympic sport; Dr. Kano died from "food posioning". A few weeks later; the Kodokan was indeed, a military academy. If you think the connection is too vague (or not possible); may I suggest you read the book "Unit 731" or "The Rape of Nanking". I suggest the former (731); but I WARN you; it is not for the weak of heart or stomich. Next lesson; WWII; Combat realities; Japan loses the war; and the fate of the Kodokan.

The War is on; and people everywhere are learning Judo (books are sold through the mail such as "Lighting Judo" "Combat Judo" Super Judo made easy" etc.). All showing how anyone could become an unbeatable fighter in 10 easy lessons. But a simple truth was forming at Army Camps, OSS training centers, and the battlefield itself. This was that a good big man will beat a good little man. These battles taught the world that there was nothing mysterious about Judo; it was simply the science of wrestling with some methods that people were unfamiliar with.

Once they understood those methods; the Judo people had a much harder time defeating people. In fact; wrestlers were begining to defeat many Judo "champions" (hard to say; Kimura went undefeated, however there were others who lost) as they began to understand how they were going to fight. However, it needs to be pointed out that almost EVERYONE in the fight game; was taking something from the Kodokan to add to their methods. This is an amazing thing when you understand how far and wide that was.

Now the war is over; and Japan is a conquered country. General MacArthur is now running things; and he makes a decree that will change Judo for the rest of its history. ALL military arts were banned in Post-War Japan. The Kodokan was closed because it was a military academy! (Kano warned them!) After many meetings; it was agreed that the Kodokan could re-open ONLY if it taught sport judo, and only sport judo, with the goal of it becoming an olympic sport. There my friends is the smoking gun; and it is in the hands of MacArthur! It was NOT Kano who wanted Judo to become a mear sport; but General MacArthur! For almost twenty years; Sport Judo would be the only focus of the Kodokan, under the direction of the Americian Forces there. It would be "Judo" experts in other parts of the world that would have to move the ball for the next several years. Next lesson; I will discuss the most notable of these; Madea, the Gracie's; and Brazilian Judo... or as they call it Brazilian Jiujitsu!



Lets get this done now; BJJ/GJJ is not a version of jujutsu. It simply can not be. It connects to NO battlefield bujutsu ryu-ha; there is no "linage" of its creation other than to Judo masters. More over; I challenge you to take a look at the Gracie In Action vol 1; and watch the first match. Look at Helio; look at the grips; the techniques. CLEARLY this is Judo! Not the Olympic Judo of today; but the orginal fight until a person quits or submitts Judo!

Madea was a Kodokan Judo master who made his living as a prize fighter. But there were NO Jujutsu championships of ANY kind after 1886. Kimura was another Kodokan Judo master who made his living as a prize fighter; again, this was NOT a world Jujutsu champion as there was NO world jujutsu championship to win. BOTH these men were highly trained and knew and understood Judo in all its aspects. (Opinion follows);

I clearly see by what the Gracies are doing today that Madea had some connection to the Kosen Judo program. I say this from the most objective source there is; watching Royce Gracie! Lets take a look at a quote from Kashiawki's book "Osaekomi": "At this time newaza was extreemly popular and well researched, particularly by the Kosen Judo students. This was because Kosen Judo was an inter-school (Note by me: this means public schools not dojo's) team contest only, so there was the posibility to draw. This was a time of only one score IPPON or a draw. Most of the students participating were beginners, so in a very short time they had to develop players who could compete. For this reason newaza training was very useful. It was easer to get draws in newaza so they researched turtle positions, double leg locks (NBM: read that guard positions), and so on extensively.

At first they prasticed in order to achieve a draw., then to overcome the defensive positions and achieve a win. They became very proficient at these simple, direct, but effective tasks..." Then: "The Kosen Judo students were the elite of the time; they fought for the school, the judo club, and their team.

Even if they were strangled, or if their arms were broken they didn't quit - they refused to give in or say maitta (I quit)! This was the background of the Kosen students - fighting for their country and their school." Sound like any group of people you know?

Look at Royce's last two NHB fights. BOTH of them he used the basic Kosen skill of defense to prevent his opponent from doing ANYTHING to put him in danger of losing. While others find this "cheating" (or whatever else they are saying); when placed in the context of the Kosen Judo roots of their style; it is not only acceptable; but a true skill! How many times have you heard BJJ/GJJ people say about those matches "Well, why didn;t they pass Royces guard?". Again, this is a Kosen remark from the second part of their training, learning how to defeat the defensive fighter. It is perfectly normal for them to feel this way.

In fact, truth be told; todays BJJ/GJJ players have a more direct route to Kano than the current crop of "Sport Judo" fighters! Current Judo people have ONLY seen what the IJF rules say Judo is, and that AFTER the MacArthur ban (something Brazil didn't have to deal with). Now; like ANY country that has taken Judo home with it; the BJJ/GJJ people have focused on a certin aspect and improved upon those aspects. Clearly the top BJJ/GJJ fighters are at the top of the world with their Newaza skills.

I for one would LOVE to see a Kosen School vs BJJ/GJJ school event! So, and this is the central issue; why call it "Jiujitsu" when clearly this is just their way to do Judo? Well, we could say the same to Wally Jay; John Saylor; and numerous others who are really doing a version of Judo by training method and technique. Why not call it Judo? You'll have to wait until next time to find out!

am going to make a jump here. Moving to the late 60's early 70's era. Prior to this there were many Judo schools with full and ballanced programs. I want to talk about the two things that have brought us to where we are today.

First; it became commom prastice to give high judo ranks to people soly on the basis of tourniment wins. The problem with this is very simple; A young man, who has a strong game, good ballance and one hot throw is going to "retire" from fighting around 4th or 5th dan this way. Years latter he will be an 8th dan; running judo in America, YET, he has no real in depth knowledge of Judo. Worse, he may not even be able to teach you how to do what he did; players are not always great coaches and vice versa. Sooner or later; you are going to have people with only a brown belt knowledge of Judo; running the show.

Second; here in the US; the SOLE goal of almost 90% of ALL judo clubs; is to train people to win olympic gold medals. ANYTHING else is of minor importance. I submit to you that if that is your only goal; you are NOT going to have a successful commercial club (only because you are not going to be giving the paying customer what they are looking for). Most people walking into your door are not trying to win an olympic medal! This "paradyme" shift really turned Judo upside down in many ways. It created political problems, bitter arguements; some terrible backstage actions; and on and on. Now; ask yourself a central question. Was Wally Jay a Judo-ka? He says so, and I've seen him work many times and of course he is. How about Gene LeBell? John Saylor? OK; here is the question; why do these people have NOTHING to do with Judo in this counrty any more? You would think; when you see how much Gene did; he'd be on a board of directors somewhere!!!! But then again; it is hard to do that and fool people that you have a true in depth knowledge of Judo. These men simply walked away when they saw where Judo was going; and that they were powerless to stop it. To avoid confusion; the word "jujitsu" began popping up again. Clearly these were not battlefield ryu-ha; just men doing judo the way they thought it should be done; but with out the politicts; power struggles; and single minded focus of the current US Judo world.

I could fill these pages just with the back door bs that was pulled on my school by the "powers that be". But let me make it real clear..

Michigan Judo has a web site; WHY is there nothing there about the Konan Shiai at MSU next Sunday? My Uncle has had the same school and location for 20 years; why no fliers? There are several BJJ/GJJ schools that have gone to these events; they haven't been told either. One would think that people would want a large turn out for an event like this; why only contact a selected few? This is the major reason I am working through the AAU about holding Kosen Judo events. But more of that in another post.

But lets just say a prayer of thanks to Wally Jay, Gene Lebell, John Saylor, and yes; every Gracie from Helio on down, across, and every other way their family tree goes... THEY are the ones keeping the real Judo alive!

(This is how it was when I was there; I do not know about current Police work in Japan) The history of Judo being taught to Police goes all the way back to the 1886 Tokyo Police challenge matches. This tradition went all over the world.

In Japan; police take their training VERY seriously. You MUST train either before or after your shift; and there is at least a 6th dan there at all times to supervise those classes. Earning rank; and winning matches at the Police events is a MUST for promotions. The Detroit Judo club; in its heyday; was the training center for the Detroit Police Department. In fact; in those days the DPD had their own team and PAL program for city youth. However; it must be noted that the changes from Kodokan Judo to Olympic Judo did not sit well with the Police! In the mid-sixties; there was a definate "break" from Kodokan tradition at the Police Academy. This came from too many officers being stabed when "grabbing" a suspect in the now standard Judo manner (lapel and sleeve). Japan is a knife culture and this is a grave error. This is NOT to say that the Tokyo Police do not train in Olympic Judo; in fact; theirs is one of the top places Olympic Players train! But they saw the need to "keep it real" as it were.

They created a set of techniques called "Renkoho" or "arresting techniques"; and created randori sessions to drill these. They took the Kosen idea that throwing a person face down was a better combat idea than throwing him face up; same for pinning him. When you add the concept of a hidden weapon to the match; you see the reason for this. In Randori sessions; it was NOT uncommon for a person to have a hidden weapon; and bring it into play at a moment of error or distaction. This would keep you on your toes. Taking Kano's idea of a "striking" randori forward; they created the first idea of a "padded" attacker. The defender was NEVER padded; and in MANY cases was injured in this training! The "armor" was modified Kendo Armor and is now of course used by many karate programs around the world.

The Atemi-waza was brought back (sometimes now called Nihon-Kempo); and with the armor could be used full power. The kendo shinai was modified to be the size of their telescoping baton; and this was drilled at well. Finally this was codified into a system called "Taiho-jutsu" or sometimes "Keijutsukai". NOW; listen! This does NOT mean that their core Judo skills were ignored; far from it. But what they felt was that a good Judo man would be better able to apply the Taiho-jutsu skills BECAUSE of his Judo training.

I was VERY fortunate to have trained with Frank Aul; who was a DPD officer for many years, and a very strong Judoka as well. He taught me the Police Randori methods (and for those of you in this area; drilled them with Mark Scott for two solid years). More so when I had a chance to go to Japan in 1975 and train at the Tokyo Police school as a guest (thank all of you for not killing me). Clearly; this is a VITAL approach to Judo; and yes; if I ever get the idea that someone wants a real video course in Judo; this will be on it. But to close; I remember being on Okinawa in a bar with at least 50 drunken service men; ONE japanese police officer walked into the bar. EVERYONE got quiet, and respectful, the second that he did.

Nuff said... Revisionist History Let us begin with a simple quote that will set the stage for our discussion today: "Prior to the end of WWII, Judo in Japan rose to an all time high of technical perfection. Although exponents looked forward to competition, the real purpose of all training was seishin tanren, or spiritual forging.

The prohibition against carrying on martial arts and ways declared by SCAP in 1945 included Judo and resulted in its technical stagnation. When Judo was finally reinstated in 1947; Kano Risei; adopted son of Kano Jigoro and third president of the Kodokan, made resolute efforts to rebuild the technical integrity of Japan's Judo under the aegis of the Kodokan. He organized the Zen Nippon Judo Remmi (All Japan Judo Federation) in 1949 and assumed leadership over the administrative and technical aspects of Judo.

Although aware of the cultural values of Kodokan Judo, Kano Risei's policies nevertheless placed emphasis on Judo as a competitive sport. This emphasis began with the organization of the first truly national Japanese Judo championships in 1948. Judo in Japan today is primarily a sport, much to the dissatisfaction of many traditionalists who view Judo as a Japanese cultural activity.

Nevertheless, the way all judo training is conducted today continues to be one in which experts for World and Olympic competitions are formed." (Donn F. Draeger; Modern Budo and Bujutsu Vol 3; Page 123) Now lets add a few other facts to the above. The very first World Judo Championships were held in Tokyo, Japan on May 3, 1956. There were no weight classes and Anton Geesink took third place. Five years later; at the third World Championship; he would be the first non-Japanese to win the Gold medal.

The very first European Championships were held in Paris in 1951. With the interesting division of not weight; but rank! Brown belt; then 1st; 2nd; 3rd dans (each with their own division), and finally an open division. The Kano Cup came along in 1978; the Fukuoka Cup in 1983; and the Tournoi De Paris in 1971. With all of the information above firmly in our minds; let us now revisit the notion that Kano created Judo to be a sport. If this were so; why wait sixty-six years to have a true national championship? Or Seventy-five years to have a world championship?

More interesting; why were there no such things until AFTER Jigoro Kano's death? Clearly when we read Draeger the answer is plain; Judo was NOT a sport until the reopening of the Kodokan in 1947. What is also clear is that Risei Kano's sole goal was to promote Judo as a modern sport. To prove this all we have to do is read quotes about Judo prior to 1947; then again after 1947.

Let's look at a quote from the Sport of Judo by Kobayashi and Sharp to see that point: "Although Judo is based on the martial arts of Japan (Bujutsu), judo men (judoka) practice it only as a sport to be played against other Judo men. It's application for self-defense is rarely taught in Judo schools. Formerly a part of the curriculum of all Japanese police academies, general hand to hand tactics has been discontinued, except for, special problems in handling mob violence." Interesting; but how do you square that with Jigoro Kano's own words printed in the Budokwai Bulletin, April 1947: "I have been asked by people of various sections as to the wisdom and possibility of judo being introduced with other games and sports at the Olympic Games.

My view on the matter, at present, is rather passive. If it be the desire of other member countries, I have no objection. But I do not feel inclined to take any initiative. For one thing, Judo in reality is not a mere sport or game. I regard it as a principle of life, art and science. In fact, it is a means for personal cultural attainment. Only one of the forms of Judo training, so-called Randori or free practice can be classified as a form of sport. Certainly, to some extent, the same may be said of boxing and fencing, but today they are practiced and conducted as sports." Note the date; and remember Draeger said not everyone liked the change to pure sport. Do you think this interview was printed to make a point about the new direction for Judo? But lets take this to the finish line!

In front of me I have a book called "Modern Judo" by Charles Yerkow. Its copyright is 1942. Let's read from its preface: "The fault of most books purposing to teach judo is either too much text poorly illustrated or too many pictures poorly explained. One book deals painstakingly with every major trick of self-defense and simple attack, yet entirely neglects such important phases as throwing and mat fighting, and give no hint even of basic principles and techniques. Another contains a great variety of tricks and breaks used in mat-fighting, most of them too complicated for the average student of judo.

One of the best books...also contains a number of major throws and locks...However this book fails to show how these tricks can be used for simple attack or self-defense."

Hmmmm...Lets look at what is in this book shall we?

Introduction; Breaking the Falls (Ukemi); Judo Principles and the art of throwing (Kuzushi and De ashi Barai; a drop tai otoshi; Yoko Otoshi blocking the ankle, O soto gari; Ko Soto gari; Hiza Guruma; Tsurikomi Goshi; Harai goshi; Hane Goshi; O Guruma; Tomoe Nage; Ippon Seoi Nage; Morote Seoi Nage; Soto Makikomi; Kami Basami (interesting version from the "gracie get up" position) and Kata Guruma);

Fundamentals of mat fighting (Kesa, Kami shiho, and Mune Gatame; cross choke from the guard and the mount; sliding choke from the mount; interesting single lapel choke from the rear guard; hadaka jime bar and CVR from the rear; leg scissors choke (not a triangle but a neck scissors);

Top wrist lock from the mount; spinning cross body arm lock from the mount (yep the one on all the BJJ tapes!) Bent arm lock out of kesa gatame; straight ankle lock; defense for same; defense for the defense by turning from over into a rear bent leg lock; passing the guard; cross body arm lock from the guard; leg lock from a throw; reverse into mat work from being thrown), Individually Developed Technique (interesting chapter on creating "your" judo attacks),

Simple attacks and Nerve Centers (spin turn into rear choke; push down into front guillotine; side headlock choke; wrist lock come-along; hammerlock come-along; straight arm lock come-along; handshake wrist lock; outside wrist lock; outside wrist spinner; inside arm spinner into hammerlock; lapel and groin pull takedown; arm between legs come along; block arms into O goshi;

Atemi-waza with numerous strikes and nerve grips)

The science of self-defense (numerous Judo defenses from attacks of all types including weapons), Body development exercises (looks like yoga, interesting). BTW this is only Vol 1 of a three-volume set. I only have the one but am working on getting the other two. Now; if anyone wants to say that Judo after 1947 is the same as what you just read above, I have a question; where are the modern Judo texts teaching it?

Reread the contents of "modern judo' then read Kobauashi's quote again. Clearly something is amiss. Of course there is, and its called revisionist history. This should not be a new concept to most of you; you can see it every day in dozens of examples.

In this case Risei Kano had to create a new direction for Judo to get the Kodokan reopened. He did this and everyone got in line behind it..well, most people did. Fortunately for us we have people like the Gracies who didn't make those changes and by studying their methods we can see what Judo was like before it was changed.

Not to leave anyone out the same can be said for Gene LeBell, Wally Jay, and many others you have never heard of like Ernie Cates. In closing, it is not my intent to anger, but to educate. I am not here to flame but to instruct. I was able to absorb these facts by keeping an open mind. I would hope all of you could do the same.

Well, after the dust has now settled; we can see that after 1947 the Kodokan had changed into a sporting academy to spread the new "Sport of Judo" to the world. It would take a while but in time this would indeed be the way judo was practiced in every corner of the globe. In my humble opinion; when this happened, it ushered in the Karate fad, and ended the Judo one. This of course was very bad, as it would take almost 30 years to pass before the Gracies would arrive and show everyone that Kano was right in the first place. For us to learn where we need to go; we need to understand where we are.

So let me ask some very hard questions; and lets be honest in the answers!

1. Of the number of people who walk into a commercial dojo; how many of them want to train in an Olympic sport to earn a medal? (This is the focus of USA Judo and has been for over 30 years).

2. Of the number of people who walk into a commercial dojo; how many of them want to learn effective, practical self-defense? (Which has not been the focus of the Kodokan from 1947 to present?)

3. Of the number of people who walk into a commercial dojo; how many of them will actually be able to apply Judo to someone bigger, stronger, or armed? (I remember yawara sticks and canes being taught in Judo classes; I have old books from 1942 where these techniques are taught in detail).

4. In approx. 1985; when a national health mag listed Judo Randori as the second most effective aerobic exercise in the world, second only to swimming; what did the judo people in America do with that information? (can you say tae-bo boys and girls?).

Before it is asked; look up Seikyoku-Zen'yo Kokumin-Taiiku sometime and you will see Kano had Tae-Bo before Billy Blanks ever did! I can go on but you get the point. I won't even bother to speak to silly political fights and the like.

Now, I want you to ask the questions again but use the words BJJ/GJJ and you will clearly see that Rorion Gracie understood one very simple fact; people walking in the door were there for YOU to serve them; not for THEM to serve you or your traditions. He made a few bucks by understanding that too. Too bad most people can't see that, especially those locked into "Judo is a sport" thinking."

Archived From the Judo Q & A @ Submission Fighting.com - The best forum on the web





Post script from Faxia Rosa's Forum:

NicD (8/1/99 4:15:29 pm)

Fusen Ryu, Kosen, Maeda and BJJ origins Does anyone know if Maeda (the Judoka the taught the Gracies) trained in Kosen Judo. I am curious as to the origin of the groundwork techniques of Maeda. I have heard two different stories regarding Kosen, the first was it was a school of Judo established between 1920-1930, the other story stays that most Kodokan Judokas at the turn of the century also practiced Kosen Judo. Does anyone know anything about this. I am also curious as to Fusen Ryu Jiu-Jitsu, and its relation to Kosen Judo or Maeda. Is there any relationship? I am aware of the 1900 challange match between Fusen and the Kodokan. Any information would be greatly appreciated.

faxia roxa (8/1/99 5:29:18 pm)

Nic, I will work backwards in answering your questions as I think they will make more sense in the reverse order. Since you know about the tournament between the Fusen Ryu and the Kodokan, I assume you know that the Fusen team won largely because of their superior newaza. The older ryu of Jiu Jitsu, including the Kito and Tenshin Shinyo schools, did not do newaza in the sense we know think of it. They used many of the same submissions and osaekomi, but in different ways. They either applied the techniques standing, or they would go to the ground (if the opponent landed softly from a throw or by using a standing sub to take the opponent down, for instance) and immediately apply a finishing hold or blow (usually from an osaekomi position), then stand up. They did not transition between hold downs, or fight from the guard, or spend minutes working for a submission.

It would not have been appropriate as these arts were meant primarily for battlefield combat when the student lost his weapon, secondarily for street fighting defense, never for sport (at least not what we think of as sport; tho challenge matches happened, they were generally quite deadly). But when the Meiji Restoration came about, there was no longer a need for JJ on the battlefield. It was during this time that the Fusen Ryu developed, and created newaza, i.e. what we today think of as "groundfighting".

After the Kodokan team lost, Kano asked the Fusen Ryu master to teach he and his team their newaza. Kano was very open minded about what should be a part of Judo. So they learned, and that is where the concept of newaza in Judo comes from, tho many of the actual submissions and hold downs had already been inherited from the Tenshin Shinyo Ryu. Now to fit this in to your questions. Kosen Judo is not a "style" in the sense that Shotokan Karate is a style and Ryukyu Kenpo Karate is another style, both of the same art.

There isn't that much distinction between Kosen Judo and Kodokan Judo, because it is ALL Kodokan Judo, their is no other Judo. However, there are different traditions of Judo. There is the Kosen Judo tradition which was developed largely in the universities of Japan early in the Century (read the thread about Kosen Judo for more details on the system itself), there is the Zen Judo tradition which is very much focused purely of self defense and does a lot of kata, there is the Kaiwashi tradition which is the Judo Kawaishi brought to France and it is very similar to Kosen Judo, and a few others. But they are all Kodokan Judo, they aren't separate styles. So many of the Judoka at the Kodokan were also Kosen people. "Kosen Judo" was originally just a group of standard Judoka who practiced mostly newaza. I don't have specific information as to whether or not Maeda was one of these people, but given the time in which he studied Judo and the direction BJJ has taken, I would say it is extremely likely that he was a Kosen person as well as a mainstream Kodokan Judoka.

Many of the great names of Judo, like Kawaishi and Mifune, were. And as for any relation between both Maeda and the Kosen people and the Fusen Ryu, I doubt whether there was any more direct a relationship than there was between any other Judoka and the Fusen Ryu: they contributed most of the concepts of newaza to Judo. Maeda learned these concepts as a Judoka, and so did all the Kosen people. So the relationship is between the Fusen Ryu and Judo in general, I do not of any further relationship of either the Kosen people or Maeda to the Fusen Ryu, and tho one is possible, there isn't really much evidence to support it.

The Kosen people are specialists in a part of their Judo, but what they are doing is still Judo. They may do certain things that a lot of mainstream Judoka don't but that is just because it is a part of their focus, it to me doesn't point to any influence outside of Judo.




Hector Gomez

PS:Sorry guys about pasting this long post.I could not download the link.

CEB
19th March 2003, 15:46
Originally posted by Tim Shaw
Good to see that this is all beginning to develop momentum.

....

(strangely the word “Bunkai” is dropped in most Wado Dojos, the enlightened ones that is :D in favour of “Kaisetsu” or “Ohyo”.)
...
Tim Shaw

I'm curious about something. My knowledge of Japanese terms are limited. In many Goju schools instead of term Bunkai the term Kaisai is used. Is this word a form or reletive term Kaisetsu that you used? Any cunning linguists out there who could answer my question?

CEB
19th March 2003, 15:53
Originally posted by hector gomez

...
Kano taught four kinds of throws in Kodokan Judo, sport throws (to win events) "building throws" (a throw that teaches you a movement you will use in a later advanced throw i.e. uki goshi/harai goshi); gymnastic throws (simply there because Kano felt the rolling and tumbling was good for you); combat throws (miscalled; these throws were safe ways to practice serious combat throws i.e. hiza guruma).

...

Any insight on what the unsafe way to practice Hiza Guruma was? Would it have been simply a kensetsu geri to the opposite knee. I really like Hiza Guruma. Any Judo-ka lurking here? Thanks for your support.

CEB
19th March 2003, 16:21
Originally posted by CEB


I'm curious about something. My knowledge of Japanese terms are limited. In many Goju schools instead of term Bunkai the term Kaisai is used. Is this word a form or reletive term Kaisetsu that you used? Any cunning linguists out there who could answer my question?

Also we tend think of bunkai as something you are taught. Techniques that are gained through your personal analysis and discovery is Oyo or Bunkai Oyo. I don't know if this gramatically correct. Any input from those who speak the language is appreciated. Thanks.

Gene Williams
19th March 2003, 19:51
Hector, This was a thread about innovation in kata. Let's talk about BJJ on another thread. I like the kata dicussion and felt like it was going somewhere (where is anybody's guess;) ). I don't know much about the history of judo and BJJ, but always felt that what the Gracie's practiced was the old Okinawan grappling arts and that they had really mastered the takedown/ground game better than anyone. Lets talk about karate kata in this thread and start another on BJJ, judo, etc. Thanks, Gene

Gene Williams
19th March 2003, 19:57
Ed, We use bunkai/oyo bunkai in the same way. I have never used the term kaisetsu, but have heard it used and scratched my head. :confused: Gene

hector gomez
19th March 2003, 20:16
Gene,

No problema,it was not my intention to steer this disscusion away from kata,sorry about that.I thought this thread was about innovation period,with or without kata.I also wanted to point out how the deadly techniques hidden in the kata really don't mean squat unless you can really apply it for real.

I think the tokyo police fights illustrates this point perfectly,regardless of wether it is traditional jujitsu kata,okinawan katas or katas from the mainland china.

Okinawan grappling similar to BJJ?I really don't think so.As far as takedowns,judo,wrestling,and sambo focus more on takedowns than bjj.

Hector Gomez

Gene Williams
19th March 2003, 20:42
Let's talk about what kata are for and how each of us use them. I mentioned before that I do not view kata as simply teaching someone to fight. They teach form, balance, movement, technique, develop strength, and they teach proper breath control and relaxed movement. However, the only way to learn to fight is to do it. Kata must be supplemented by partner work, freestyle, pre-arranged fighting, etc. As you move between the kata and other training methods, they complement each other. Eventually, the kata become ways to refine form and movement and to remember techniques. The more one progresses in the kata and the longer one does it, the more you see other applications and subtleties in the kata. Now, I am talking about doing the kata every workout in class and on your own for years. I am a serious kata freak, so I am not talking about doing it when your sensei makes you in class. You have to love it and do it all the time. Go to the dojo alone and do 20 repetitions of one kata, then break it down for an hour or so and work on the hard parts. You know the drill. Some people do not like this. Do this for all your kata all the time. If you don't, the things that are supposed to happen in your karate development won't happen. Strike the makiwara for a long time, then do the kata...don't the punches feel different? This is the kind of training I am talking about, not dragging to class with a long face hoping sensei won't make you do Sanchin:D Do Sanchin and have a partner punch and kick you while you do it. My Sensei hit us with a bokken during Sanchin. We got over it. Now, after years of this the kata becomes something else. Do you remember C.W. Nicol's book, "Moving Zen." Kata becomes a form of meditation, a way to mental peace, an energy source. When a senior does kata, he isn't learning to fight, he isn't fulfilling requirements, he isn't caring who is watching or who isn't watching. The senior is engaging in a very physical spiritual activity. I see kata as a life source, an energy source. Yes, it keeps my technique sharp and it keeps me aware of strategy, but those are by-products of gaining energy and mental relaxation. The time will come when you young guys get tired of measuring things and grappling on the mats or fighting in tournaments or in bars. You will eventually begin to pay the orthopedic price for that youthful nonsense. What will you do then? Have you seen the films of Otsuka doing kata in his seventies? Amazing. How about Hayashi doing kata as an old guy? Kuniba before he died? How would you like to be punched by any of those guys even in their older years? When I was 23, Otsuka was in his seventies. He led us in group kata for one hour, then faced each of us in round robin kumite. He punched me in the back of the hand first, then gyakuzyuki to the floating ribs. I still feel it as I write. We asked him how he stayed in such good shape. he said, "Kata." Gene
-

Gene Williams
19th March 2003, 20:46
Hector, In watching Royce Gracie fight, it seemed to me that his first goal was to take the opponent of his feet in every fight. That's what made me think that the close and takedown must be a real focus of BJJ. Gene

Bustillo, A.
19th March 2003, 20:50
Originally posted by Gene Williams
To Mr. Bustillo: I still don't think much of the kata I see that have been made up by today's so called "masters." Neither do I place Hemingway, Hesse, Joyce, et al in the same class with Shakespeare and Dickens (hey, I was an English major). Gene

You don't think that highly of certain writers? Fair enough. Yet, no doubt, there are other English Majors who think Dickens is overrated. Furthermore, you--being an English Major-- should know the controversy about Shakespeare--that perhaps he did not write all the works attributed to him. And, how do we classify that?

Nonetheless, back to 'innovations' in the martial arts.

The old masters don't have the copyrights nor patents on martial arts training methods.

Nowadays, there are many martial artist with a wide range of experience who can offer new ideas. And, yes, in some cases, perhaps even better modern training methods.

There are certain instructors who place emphasis in different areas.
Therefore, they develop different ideas.

Nothing is perfect.

For this reason, even the old katas devised by the revered masters can not be considered as something so perfect that there is absolutley no room for improvement. I admit, not just anybody should should try changing things around. Eveb so, i think there are more than a few folks wlking around today worthy.

hector gomez
19th March 2003, 21:02
Yes gene,

You are correct,in that their object is to takedown their opponent but the real focus or emphasis is on ground fighting,while disciplines like wrestling,judo and sambo sometimes focus more on the actual takedown. IT'S ALL GOOD

Gene Williams
19th March 2003, 21:19
Antonio, All I can do is reiterate that what I have seen of modern "masters'" kata is less than impressive. Fighting skill does not equal creative ability; there are lots of folks who can play Mozart, but no new Mozarts. That Shakespeare controversy is old hat; hey, he wrote the plays:) Last year I began a project to read all of Dickens, even the stuff I had read, in chronological order. I am now to the last novel. Over-rated, nah...:p Gene

Gene Williams
19th March 2003, 21:28
Just an idealistic thought...it would be great if some of us on this karate forum could ever meet somewhere and train together and compare notes. I guess you guys in the UK would not want to go to the trouble, but Ed is in Illinois. Hell, some of you guys want to remain mysterious and don't even say where you are. Afraid the guys from the Ninja thread will seek you out and climb on your roof with their spikes, or are you CIA types who would have to kill us if you told us where you were? :D Gene

CEB
19th March 2003, 21:37
No mystery here. Antonio, Hector and Manny are from the Miami area. I'm from Springfield. Some guys just don't take the time to fill the profile thingy.

The Asskel I don't know about him.

Bustillo, A.
19th March 2003, 21:39
Originally posted by Gene Williams
... Afraid the guys from the Ninja thread will seek you out and climb on your roof with their spikes, or are you CIA types who would have to kill us if you told us where you were? :D Gene


Good one.
Ninja clan...

'Low Sparks from High Heeled Boys"

Gene Williams
19th March 2003, 21:45
Ed, I imagine you will soon be getting a response from him or, hey, was that a typo:D Gene

hector gomez
19th March 2003, 21:51
Gene quote:

"Let's get together and compare notes".

My notebook is filled with anti kata propaganda why would you want to take a peek at my notes.LOL

Hector Gomez

CEB
19th March 2003, 22:05
Originally posted by Gene Williams
Ed, I imagine you will soon be getting a response from him or, hey, was that a typo:D Gene

Yes it was. Darn more than 15 minutes has expired. I'm locked out and can't fix it. Sorry

Gene Williams
19th March 2003, 22:48
Hell, Hector, I can always try to convert the nonbelievers:D Gene

Gene Williams
19th March 2003, 22:53
Ed, I liked the thought that it wasn't a typo:D Somehow from your posts you don't seem like the type who wants a cutsie little name in your signature. C'mon...shadowless...tiger hand? :rolleyes: Gene

Gene Williams
19th March 2003, 22:57
Hector, You said its all good...that must mean kata, too. True, some people just don't enjoy kata and are mostly interested in the practical application side of things. I understand that. We can still compare notes...I'll bet you can teach me something about ground work...I'll teach you a kata with a lot of mean stuff in it. Gene

Goju Man
20th March 2003, 02:09
Where do I begin? Gene, you can say kata is meditation, energy source, spiritual, etc., and I say good for you. But as a stand alone fighting drill, even you say it's not a good tool without the two man drills. If you want to see the younger masters of today, try looking at Kancho Ninomiya of Enshin Karate, or if you could find it, something on Ashihara karate. They have forms also, however, their forms are pretty straight forward and the student knows EXACTLY what is going on in the form. When you see a traditional form and then see the bunkai in a fighting form, it looks nothing like the kata. The newer forms look EXACTLY as the practitioner would in fighting form or in kata. And, eventhough you could find alternate scenarios, ie low kick or high kick, the principle behind it is very clear. A person doing this type of kata can derive great benefits by doing kata alone even without two man drills.


The time will come when you young guys get tired of measuring things and grappling on the mats or fighting in tournaments or in bars.
I agree about fighting in bars, however, have you seen Helio Gracie? He's ninety years old and is still on the mat. There are many older men who still get on the mat. My judo instructor is well into his seventies and still gets on the mat. If I can't for some reason get on the mat, I doubt I will be able to do kata.

Goju Man
20th March 2003, 02:15
Gene, I couldn't make the Higaonna seminar, we're japanese Goju, that is my people are now, we were Sansei Goju, although I still work out with them now and then, I am more in the "newfangled" bunch of guys that are evolving as combat evolves, which I do a lot of grappling, and have boxed and kickboxed for some years.


The time will come when you young guys get tired of measuring things and grappling on the mats or fighting in tournaments or in bars.
Well, at least one SFA member still hasn't tired out of the bar fights, and he gets paid to do it! Cheers to you my bro.;)

Gene Williams
20th March 2003, 04:21
Manny, It is good to know that the older judo and BJJ guys still get on the mat. I think when you give as much time and energy to a martial art it should be something you can do until you die. I understand that the guys into grappling and more technique oriented stuff would want to have some straight forward type drills (kata). I just don't think you and I are talking about the same thing. I agree, kata by themselves do not teach you to fight.
I would also admit that when the BJJ guys roll on the mat together and do submission drills, that is a sort of kata. I worked with some Gracie practitioners here some and was really surprised at how technical a lot of it is. But, again, I don't do kata because I want to perfect my fighting skills. I do it because I love it and it keeps me from choking the ¤¤¤¤ out of people at work:D I'm going to bed. This is a good thread. Let's stay at it a while:) Gene

hector gomez
20th March 2003, 15:42
Gene,
It's all good,we all take the martial arts for different reasons and benifits.I personaly got involved in this a long time ago simply for self defense purposes..period...Everything that came afterwards is like adding frosting on a cake,it's a great byproduct of training in the arts.


We also have to remember that just because we do a physical activity like karate(and karate is a physical activity)we don't automaticaly develop or build,Character,discipline,moral values,etc,as a matter of fact,I know a lot of practicioners that have trained in karate for years and are missing most if not all of those Qualities.How did that happen?Did they stray away from traditional teaching?I doubt it.


I know way too many practicioners that train with traditional teachings fully intact and are definitely not good role models or exemplify any of those great virtues that most good humans aspire.so were does that leave me?....Back to square one,I am in this to become the best self defense practicioner that I can become with or without tradition.


Hector Gomez

CEB
20th March 2003, 15:58
When I changed my sig it changed every post I ever made on e-budo and not just the one I made on the kung fu names thread. I thought after 15 minutes your post couldn't change.


Originally posted by Goju Man
...I am more in the "newfangled" bunch of guys that are evolving as combat evolves, which I do a lot of grappling, and have boxed and kickboxed for some years.

Is combat really evolving? I watch a lot of bar fights but they do not seem to be improving in quality. Most seem to be devolving right now. I attribute that to martial arts not being as popular as they once were.


Originally posted by Goju Man
Well, at least one SFA member still hasn't tired out of the bar fights, and he gets paid to do it! Cheers to you my bro.;)

Yes, Cheers to the doormen. They fight so we don't have to. Good thing, because first thing we'll do is hit you upside the head with a mic stand.
http://pic5.picturetrail.com/VOL77/859023/1552251/18183973.jpg

Goju Man
20th March 2003, 16:04
Gene, you are a breath of fresh air. For all the time I've been on this forum, I've had people tell me that kata ALONE would make you a good fighter. I have always disagreed with that statement. When you take into account the two man drills and kumite, you don't need to do kata. That being said, hang on to your hats everyone, I still do kata on occasion. If you run a couple of katas back to back, full blast, it is a great workout. I still go to my old dojo now and then and train. It is great, but I don't limit myself to just that. We actually teach basic ground fighting, not that you'll become the next NAGA champion or anything like that, but grappling is a part of fighting wether we like it or not.

We all do martial arts for different reasons, and what we train is sometimes a reflection of that. The bottom line is IT'S ALL GOOD, yes, even kata to an extent. What ever makes you happy and feel good is what's important.

Goju Man
20th March 2003, 16:12
IIIIIRRRRRKKKKKK!!!!!! Who is that guy?????:D




Is combat really evolving? I watch a lot of bar fights but they do not seem to be improving in quality. Most seem to be devolving right now. I attribute that to martial arts not being as popular as they once were.
Well, I think alcohol plays a big role in that.:D I don't gauge evolution in that way, but if you follow the fight game, you can't help but see it. For example, bjj guys used to rule with just bjj and nothing else. Today, it is not so. Tank Abbott, one of the toughest untrained guys out there held his own very well in years back. Today, it lasted seconds with him potentially having a dislocated shoulder and a broken ankle at the same time. He never stood a chance. Why? Combat evolution. Nice pic Ed.

Gene Williams
20th March 2003, 21:35
Hi Manny, You know, I've never seen anyone who was really good at kata who could not also fight well. But, it isn't because they do a lot of kata, it is because they do everything else they are supposed to do, like partner work, makiwara work, fighting, body toughening and conditioning, etc. I think kata develops the self-discipline and awareness it takes to get in the habit of doing those other things. Kata will keep you in shape, keep your kicks, punches, blocks, and body motion sharp, and it will bring relaxation and mental peace. But to say good fighters got that way by doing kata is like saying judo champions got there by learning and practicing breakfalls:D I believe, for a karateka, there are many dimensions to kata that it takes years to discover and they are missing a really important journey by neglecting them. But, if I am gonna' face someone in the ring, you better believe I'm gonna' be going lots of rounds on the mat with an opponent ahead of time, hitting and kicking a heavy bag, and doing some running. Every thing has its place. But whoever told you they could be a good fighter by doing kata and nothing else is in for a rude awakening. Thanks. Gene

Goju Man
20th March 2003, 22:12
Gene, I have known some GREAT kata guys who weren't very good fighters. I've known guys ranked tops in their divisions with sponsors to do nothing else than compete in kata, that were just ordinary fighters. If you practise karate long enough, you will learn to fight somewhat, that is a good by product. There are many top judo competitors that don't know any of the judo kata. They got good doing many drills and specifically, fighting. Although everything they do cam be traced to kata, they don't practise it. We could sit here and argue the definition of kata, one definition of kata was going to the bathroom. I don't care about winning an argument or anything like that, I'm into whatever works, period. If a better way or method is proven to me, I'm the first in line. Now you mention doing all the other things that go along with it, and I say great, that's the reason for success. I personally enjoy doing kata every now and then, it is a great workout, and I also enjoy the aesthetics of a well performed kata. I also practise some of the "newer" katas of Ashihara karate, which I think are great as a stand alone teacher. The movements are exactly the same as in combat, which is more natural. I am very into this type of kata. The different katas teach something different, ie body positioning, footwork, etc., as well as individual fighting techniques to even throwing techniques. I personally think that is the way to go.

Gene Williams
20th March 2003, 23:33
Manny, When I say "people who are good at kata", I don't mean those guys who do them for trophies in tournaments. I'm talking about guys in their 40's and 50's who have long since grown out of the tournament ego crap. Yeah, I've seen a lot of tournament kata guys who couldn't fight their way out of a seat belt. Gene

Goju Man
21st March 2003, 00:39
Yeah, I've seen a lot of tournament kata guys who couldn't fight their way out of a seat belt.

That's a good one!:laugh:

Tim Shaw
21st March 2003, 17:45
Been good so far, though it has tended to ramble all over the place, but I guess that's just the nature of conversation.

To return back to my original point; I seem to be getting a lot of this "Broad Church" type opinions, which I find reassuring - in that, it's a broad church and there's plenty of room for all of us to do our own thing.

I find myself in sympathy with Gene's view that katas, as they've evolved and come down to us, contain more than a spark of genius. So much so that even the great and the good have not sought to add to them for at least eighty years (with one or two exceptions). Yes, they have been tinkered with, most noticeably by the early 20c innovators, but there is a valuable core to them that remains intact.

When Manny talks of Ashihara karate and says:
"They have forms also, however, their forms are pretty straight forward and the student knows EXACTLY what is going on in the form. When you see a traditional form and then see the bunkai in a fighting form, it looks nothing like the kata. The newer forms look EXACTLY as the practitioner would in fighting form or in kata. And, even though you could find alternate scenarios, ie low kick or high kick, the principle behind it is very clear. A person doing this type of kata can derive great benefits by doing kata alone even without two man drills."

Yes I know what you mean! I too find the "creative" approach to Bunkai/Kaisetsu from traditional kata mystifying. Seems to me that there is lots of reverse engineering going on there. And, if you're going to operate those types of applications surely the best way of absorbing them is with a live partner? Particularly when these applications deal with manipulating another person's strength or weight, as in throwing and taking down. Some might say that it is a desperate or poor substitute for the real thing.

The creative Bunkai approach on one hand is a monument to human inventiveness, but why are these creative individuals so bashful when it comes to taking the credit? How many times do you hear people say at seminars," Here's a good one, (Bunkai) and I made it up myself!"? Pretty rare from my experiences.

An example of this was when I was doing some research for an article on a particular kata, I found myself on the fool's errand of trying to establish the intended application of the kata, assuming that there'd been some standard long established tradition in how the kata had been practiced and the various parts were applied. I contact an author and martial artist who had written and published on this particular kata and asked him for his source, expecting him to say, "Sensei X, who was taught it by Sensei Y, who was taught by Sensei Matsumura,…" or whatever. Instead he told me that he'd just made it up! Now, hats off to him for that, but where does it leave me? I should have known better.

I also find it unfortunate that there are people who trade heavily on the word "rediscovered" when it comes to kata applications, now why does that word make me so uncomfortable?

Tim Shaw

Bustillo, A.
21st March 2003, 20:15
The innovations implemented by H. Ashihara were designed for specific reasons. (This, he may have done in his freshly mowed backyard..not sure-)In particular, Ashihara Karate emphasize tai sabaki drills. Therefore, he dropped some of the old drills and formed new ones.

hector gomez
21st March 2003, 20:58
Does this innovation thread pertain only to the kata innovation dilema?or is going outside of that squared(kata)box an option on this thread?if it is not an otpion,I will just step aside.

How is the validity of kata training as it pertains to a real fight proven today?Remember most practicioners on here that do practicce kata also acknowledge doing other supplementary exercises & routines aside from kata training.Are we sure we are not giving too little or too much credit to the wrong training dept.

The little scuffle that we once had 7 years ago at the service station were you had to strike quickly and effectivley,should the credit have been given to your kata training or all the other training that is done aside from kata?

Aside from the fact that they make you feel great and that they could also be used as stress relief,what other proof do we have today and how do you meausure that proof in the movements of kata translation over to the battlefield.


For example in all sports known to mankind the training is suppose to mimick almost exactly to the T what one is going to do on the playing field.

Street fighting being different than sports(we all agree here)does not look anything or even remotly like what most of the traditional katas look like,therefore the carryover or transfer movements does not pan out.

I know they were proven over a 100 years ago but how are they proven or measured today?show me the scientifific data please?don't just say because sensei said so

This is not about me being arrogant or dissrespectful toward tradition.There are probably many traditional practicioners that would put an as&*#$ whooping on my little innovation behind but the very high percentage is that they won't do it looking anything like it looks in kata.

Hector Gomez

Goju Man
22nd March 2003, 00:23
For the most part, at least in Goju, it seems that from its inception, every generation changed it somewhat. Higashionna changed it from what he learned in China, Miyagi changed it some more, Yamaguchi added to it, and on we go. They must be laughing up there at how no one has felt that more change was necessary, yet it changed from generation to generation. If you look at what Oyama did, being a student of Goju also, added some more to it. Men like Ashihara and Ninomiya have kept refining the art of "combat" to reflect in their karate. To keep on trying to do it as it was done a hundred years ago, you would need to go back to China, and find the descendant of Higashionna's instructor, and find out how they did it. It's not the actual "kata" that's important as is the "concept" of what it is trying to accomplish. When this is understood, there won't be a need to "reverse engineer" bunkai into a kata.

Nyuck3X
22nd March 2003, 01:45
Mr. Gomez wrote:

How is the validity of kata training as it pertains to a real fight proven today?Remember most practicioners on here that do practice kata also acknowledge doing other supplementary exercises & routines aside from kata training.Are we sure we are not giving too little or too much credit to the wrong training dept.

I won't argue the worthiness of kata. All I know is, back in '72 I
took a summer aikido class. Sometime later when a guy lunged at
a store clerk with a pair of sisscors, I used a move that I learned
15 years earlier. (At the time I was sankyu in karate.) I remember
drilling it only a couple of times in a 2 person kata. Another
time my nephew came at me with a stick unexpectedly. At the time,
I was doing a study of Pinan Godan. Instinctivly I used a move
from the kata which ends up with an arm bar. I never drilled this
with anyone nor was this ever instructed to me. It just came
naturally. Go figure.

In closing, I do agree two man and limited sparring are essential
in learning how to fight. But I'm not in it for the fight game.
I'm too old and have too many responsibilities. You guys with
washboard stomachs and good looks can bear that cross. We need
people on both sides of the fence to keep things interesting.
I'd be proud if one of my students continued to push themselves
as hard as some of you guys. I just want them to have a good base
and if they want to go your way, I'll gladly send them.
To quote you, it's all good...

Peace

Machimura
22nd March 2003, 09:49
Originally posted by Nyuck3X
Mr. Gomez wrote:


I won't argue the worthiness of kata. All I know is, back in '72 I
took a summer aikido class. Sometime later when a guy lunged at
a store clerk with a pair of sisscors, I used a move that I learned
15 years earlier. (At the time I was sankyu in karate.) I remember
drilling it only a couple of times in a 2 person kata. Another
time my nephew came at me with a stick unexpectedly. At the time,
I was doing a study of Pinan Godan. Instinctivly I used a move
from the kata which ends up with an arm bar. I never drilled this
with anyone nor was this ever instructed to me. It just came
naturally. Go figure.

In closing, I do agree two man and limited sparring are essential
in learning how to fight. But I'm not in it for the fight game.
I'm too old and have too many responsibilities. You guys with
washboard stomachs and good looks can bear that cross. We need
people on both sides of the fence to keep things interesting.
I'd be proud if one of my students continued to push themselves
as hard as some of you guys. I just want them to have a good base
and if they want to go your way, I'll gladly send them.
To quote you, it's all good...

Peace

Hear, hear and here here!!! I agree totally.

Gene Williams
22nd March 2003, 12:05
Hector, I don't think the moves in the kata have to be exactly what you do in a fight. It is true that we will never know the original intent of the creator for many of the moves. Some were even based upon the type of clothing people wore in the old days on Okinawa or in China. But, think about it...all those drills we did in high school football, how much time did we actually spend scrimmaging? But, good fundamentals win ball games and you learn those through drills. I learned to field a ground ball by squatting down until my butt almost touched the ground, putting my glove on the ground, scooping the ball into my middle, standing up, cocking my arm straight, pushing off, stepping into the throw, and throwing overhand from third to first, and following through. I can't remember a single game in HS or college where I was able to make a picture book throw like that! But, if I hadn't learned that way, I never would have been any good. Its all about fundamentals, and kata teach fundamentals at both a basic and advanced level. Kata also teaches things like thinking of a block and punch as one move, not two, so that a punch automatically follows no matter what (or a kick, or a choke).In Pinan Yondan, for instance, there is what everybody calls an X-block (juji uke). It is a choke done as you are kneeing or kicking the opponent to take him down and choke him. If you do the moves just as in the kata it is all 1-2-3-and will never work. You have to think of it all as one move. But, the kata teaches you proper hand placement and proper positioning.
Manny, I don't even get into the "reverse engineering" stuff. I just do the bunkai I was taught and add new ones as I see them. As long as it makes sense and isn't just fancy BS it is o.k. It should fit the moves and spirit of the kata, though. And, hey, sometimes you have to say, "I don't know what that move represents, but I sure like it.":D Gene

Gene Williams
22nd March 2003, 12:12
Antonio, Yeah, I caught that bit about your freshly mowed backyard:D I guess you are going to give me Hell with that. My backyard is not freshly mowed, but has a nice sandy place to do kata in. If I get in the grass, I have two dogs and that can be a problem. I don't know if any of the kata have moves for avoiding do poop:D Gene

Kimura
22nd March 2003, 14:58
Gene,

The difference between Traditional set katas that cannot be changed at all and the high school drills you talk about are like day and night in the sense that drills can always be changed or updated constantly,yearly,monthly or daily.

As soon as a coach figures out thru proven results that there is a better transfer of skills that can be incorporated into a training routine it is added and old is discarded,something that cannot be done with traditional karate katas.

Footbal,basketbal and baseball players along with boxers,wrestlers and almost all types of grapplers constantly are innovating new training drills that have proven effective thru results.

Dan gable one of the finest wrestling coaches we have had in this country is always "innovating" new drills and will adopt a new drill on the spot if proven to be effective.He is definitely not trying to emulate the same drill wrestlers did 100 years ago.


Hector Gomez

Victor
22nd March 2003, 15:35
But the traditional kata sets have always changed for the reasons you mention.

The long tradition of Okinawan kata is instructors changed their kata as time passed within their instruction. And at times they taught their students different variations of those kata.

If you observe any of the major Okinawan systems there is variance from instructor to instructor, sometimes slight, sometimes major.

There isn't really a 'traditional' fixed pattern, except as what an occasional book shows, and very, very few instructors teach from a book.

In my study I was taught variant forms of the kata from the beginning, and with study you understand the differing applications that focused the change on those kata.

One of my instructors, now deceased, spent 40 years working on the application potential of the 8 Isshinryu kata. He began in Okinawa alongside my instructor as a beginner.

Well I've pulled together my notes from the clinics where I was able to spend time with him the last 8 or so years, and with only the partial knowledge I have of his studies, I have 800 applications docuemtned of those 8 kata, covering every sort of attack there is.

And no, you don't have to do that many for good self defense. But if you want to explore in depth what a system can do, it is interesting.

Now it's kind of hard to believe that there isn't a wealth of value in kata if you've experienced this.

And going back over the last 100 years, each of those instructors who changed their kata as their personal experience grew, had as many valid reasons for differing situations.

Victor Smith
Bushi No Te Isshinryu

Gene Williams
22nd March 2003, 16:19
Victor, I agree. I find it remarkable that even with the innovations in applications and the variations from ryu to ryu in how the same kata are done, the kata still have remained remarkably the same in appearance and spirit.
Hector, I don't disagree. We are always changing applications, but we do not change the kata. I know that drives you nuts :D Hey, you just ain't a kata guy, and there is nothing wrong with that. Kata is a way to train, not the only way. Gene

Tim Shaw
22nd March 2003, 18:07
On another discussion forum there came up this thing about is it okay to invent your own kata? My reply then was, sure it is! I invent a new kata every month, then almost straight away forget it. Only thing is I don't call them katas, I tend to refer to them as Renzoku Waza. Their embusen is a little predictable, i.e. mainly straight line. These are just combination drills aimed at concentrating training on a particular skill. But I would never include these combinations/kata in amongst the core, established canon of Wado kata, they hold a very special place.

It interested me to read of your applications for the X blocks in the Pinan katas. In Wado I have never heard of any of the established Japanese Senseis interpreting the move that way. They tend to say that within our interpretations of kata there is no place for a block that involves both hands, but instead the movement is interpreted as two seperate deflection wedges applied with twisting the body off line. There is no mention of a cross collar strangulation/choke, which is surprising because this Wado is primarily Jujutsu and the X collar strategy is used in some of the pairs work, but they obviously find no use for that modus operandi within the kata. Not saying it's wrong, just highlights a different way of using kata.

Must say at this stage how open-minded I have found this forum so far (very refreshing) Nice not to have to battle it out over semantics. Don't know if I'm pleased or disappointed that nobody seems to disagree with what I've said so far - a triumph for civility?

Hector, have we met in a service station somewhere? Can never tell in your posts if you're referring to me or someone else;) For example:

"Does this innovation thread pertain only to the kata innovation dilema?or is going outside of that squared(kata)box an option on this thread?if it is not an otpion,I will just step aside."

Was it me that prompted you to say this?


Tim Shaw

Gene Williams
22nd March 2003, 18:38
Hi Tim, I trained in Wado for three years after I was already an ikkyu in Shorin-ryu. I was lucky enough to be in Nashville when Otsuka visited. I understand the differences you are talking about, although I was not exposed to them that far along in my training. About the x blocks in the Pinan, that is just one wa we do it in Shito-ryu. Remember before the x block there are three supported middle blocks (which we interpret sometimes as escapes from wrist grabs, and sometimes as block/punch). Try it like this: block a punch as you slide inside, use he x block as a strike to the lower jaw with the edges of your hands, drop your hands down to grab the lapels while you simultaneously knee groin and sweep the outside leg with the same foot you did the knee with. You will fall right on top of the opponent with your choke already done. If you practice this, he will be about choked out when he hits. If you grab thumbs inside, you an either spread your elbows to choke, or twist your knuckles into the carotid sinus; thumbs outside, the standard cross lapel choke. The x block in Pinan Godan has fingers pointing up, which we interpret as strictly a block followed by a kote mawashi/arm bar or niho nage if you want to interpret it as a throw after the block. I make up new drills for my students all the time. I never change a kata. Yes, this forum has been very civil, but I don't think any of us, so far, has anything to prove or an ax to grind. Hector and I are probably about as different as two people can be in our views of the martial arts, but, hey, he is a serious martial artist, too. Serious martial artists should be taken seriously...even in their freshly mowed backyards Antonio.:D Gene

Goju Man
23rd March 2003, 02:18
Very interesting. I read a very interesting article where the author was interviewing Yukiyoshi Takamura about how he came to re organize his curriculum of Shindo Yoshin Ryu. He says: "When I came to America I discovered many traditional techniques were simply not applicable to the realities facing my new students. When I first started teaching, students began to ask me how I would deal with a boxer, or with a karateka and so on. At first, I was not sure I had the answers. I had to fully examine this. I realized that the answers were right in front of me. I was busy focusing on jujutsu techniques when it was jujutsu concepts that were the solution. New techniques could be devised to address the realities while embracing the time honored concepts." Wrestlers, bjj, judo, boxers, etc., all do this. The concepts of their sport or art is there, but they are constantly evolving the techniques. You won't see any of them trying to do things like their older counterparts did. Kata to me is a book which many instructors "hid" their techniques from outsiders. When these techniques and "concepts" are known, I believe time is better spent working the concepts and drills more than the actual form. But hey, to each his own. That is why we are individuals. I like the kata for the workout.

Gene Williams
23rd March 2003, 02:37
That's right, Manny and I think it is concepts that are hidden in the kata even more than technique. Some ryu's "secret" applications are other ryu's standard teaching and vice versa. I think every kata has a "feel" to it that changes as you progress and the longer you are in karate. After I do Gojushiho a few times, I feel relaxed and kind of mellowed out. I do Seisan and I want to find somebody to do some contact work with or teach a really mean class. My students love me for it:D Gene

shisochin#1
23rd March 2003, 04:17
yes we do

Bustillo, A.
24th March 2003, 19:49
Originally posted by Gene Williams
Antonio, Yeah, I caught that bit about your freshly mowed backyard:D I guess you are going to give me Hell with that.:D Gene

Gene,

No harm intended. Just a friendly joke.
Credit to you, it is refreshing to find someone elase with a sense of humor.

CEB
24th March 2003, 22:52
Originally posted by Gene Williams
...Some ryu's "secret" applications are other ryu's standard teaching and vice versa. ... Gene

In my limited exposure to Japanese Budo I can testify to the truth of that statement. What may be classified as Okuden in one school may be Shoden or Chuden waza in another school. But that is Japanese Budo. The Okinawians have never struck me as ever being that organized or structured in their teaching syllabi. I have been taught things in Goju and told 'do not give this away'. But, I have never seen a catorgized list of this is secret or this is showable.

CEB
24th March 2003, 23:07
Originally posted by Gene Williams
That's right, Manny and I think it is concepts that are hidden in the kata even more than technique. ... Gene

Sorry I don't intend to be picking on you Gene. We are actully very close in thought on many things. Since we have more common ground I can get more into the things you say. I hope you know what I am trying to say with that. I think the kata are mostly about techniques. I mean there are concepts attached to particular forms like Saifa which teaches particular tai sabaki and ashi sabaki that we find only in Saifa and that is probably the primary concept. But if overiding major concept of the form was our prime concern why not just do sabaki drills? I believe a lot was lost at one time and just a few schools may have been successful at retaining the meaning of the forms. I think that schools that spring from Higa Seiko's line have tended to be among the most successful at retaining the nature of the Goju Ryu. I am perhaps being too presumptive. It is a sin of my youthfulness perhaps.

Here is an issue I think really up clouds up the study of traditional karate. There are techniques in the system that are not performed in actuality the way they are done in the forms. I am talking about the commonly taught techniques across the style and not the home grown made-up variety of oyo thingies the practicitioners come up on their own.

Example from kata Seipai. There is a kensetsu waza in the beginning, It is the technique where your hands are clasped then you drop you weight into Shiko dachi then you bringup your right elbow until right forearm is parallel to the floor and the left forearm pretty much runs straight up and down (hope this makes sense). That is he way the 'kata' is done by 3 good Goju teachers from different organization that I am fortunate to be accepted by as a student ( 2 as a welcome guest and 1 is my 'formal' teacher). In order for the technique to work the right elbow needs to rise higher, higher than your own shoulder and not be parallel to the floor. Chinen Sensei in fact teaches it this way in the kata. I tend to run my solo kata in a way that the techniques need to be performed in order to work. Well this got me some negetive attention last summer when I was with Yamakura Sensei in Tulsa. He said no Ed make a nice performance the bunkai is still there but we don't show it. This is just one simple example but I think it is a common issue feeding the problem that guys like Manny have with traditional kata. I've heard 2 reasons for this occurring in our kata. 1) The kata was changed to make a pretty permforamce for aesthic reasons. 2) The kata are changed this way in order to purposely hide the technique. I hope it is reason #2 but I don't really know, I not an old timer like Gene and John. IMO It makes it more necessary to have a good teacher to actually learn the techniques of the style, but I think I would prefer it if the techniques were done as close to the required applied methods.

Here is I questioned I asked here a year or two ago I got all negetive responses. Now we have a new crop of posters and I would like to see if I get any different replies. My teacher taught me kata incrementally. I mean first I learned the basic version which was kind of stripped down. Then as time went along techniques were added. Nobody when I asked before said they learn under that methodology, everybody said they learned the whole thing up front. Example in our kata Sesan when you face the rear and turn to the right. I first learned you simply turn to the right and punch. Then gradually things were added til when I was done I had a snake like movement with the left hand followed by right ippon-ken which is very hard for me to described which may also be the reason it was taught to me later. Sanseiru, Seipai and Suparunpei have also been taught to me in this manner moving from simpler to more complex. Perhaps this is an innovation in my teacher's teaching methodology or I am just a special needs student.

Have a good week everyone take care. Thanks for letting me talk here.

Machimura
25th March 2003, 00:36
Everyone has their own way of teaching. I have heard of learning the kata incrementally, but you would do 4 movements, then repeat, then add the next 4 when the last sequence was memorized. So on until you finished the form in that session. As for teaching the true movements vs. a basic version. I dunno. You should let the mind become accustomed to what its really suppose to do. Not the other way around. I am no expert or oldtimer, but you learn to shoot a jumpshot correctly by doing it the right way from square one. Just an opinion.

That segment of Seisan is suppose to teach Taisabake right? At least in Matsumura Seisan that is. Ed, doesn't your son do Matsumura Seito? Why not Goju with his pops? Why doesn't pops do Matsumura Seito as opposed to Goju? Does Shorin seem like a kids art or something? I was just wondering, and I may have you mixed up with someone else. I taught last summer with a Higaonna Goju guy who was good. I didn't see that much difference in the way he did things as opposed to me. His kata and kumite were very good, and his kihon was too. With the exception of some Meibukan guy I saw on TV and a class that was taught in the PI (I forget what Org. it was), Goju seems really awesome.

Kata is the template, the "jump off"!

Bryan Cyr

Gene Williams
25th March 2003, 00:42
Ed, Thanks for a really good post. I do Seipei as you do it...show the technique...if you don't do it in the kata, you won't do it in the street. That being said, no fight ever looked like a kata. Go figure. I think Shotokan has been the most guilty of prettying up the kata (for instance, in empi uchi, squaring the elbows in front of the body instead of bringing them all the way forward and turning the hip as you would if someone's head was there), but I know a lot of very practical minded JKA folks. Shito-ryu tends to do the kata with more realistic actions, at least Motobu-ha. As for learning incrementally, I was never taught that way. We learned the kata as it was supposed to be done, then took years to be shown all the bunkai. Now, with time (like years) doing the kata, your performance will change. Stances a bit less rigid, smaller movements, less tension (which alone changes alot), sliding some in stances,more subtlety. I think the incremental bit is Sensei specific rather than ryu specific. As for Goju, Morio Higaonna is the only Goju senior I have spent time with and I feel that his kata and applications are pretty close. He credits kata with all his abilities, which in my estimation are considerable. Gene

CEB
25th March 2003, 00:55
Originally posted by Machimura
...

Ed, doesn't your son do Matsumura Seito? Why not Goju with his pops? Why doesn't pops do Matsumura Seito as opposed to Goju? Does Shorin seem like a kids art or something? I was just wondering, and I may have you mixed up with someone else.

Bryan Cyr

No, he does Seito. I used to train with the Seito folks. My college roommate that I shared an apartment with for three years is a student of Phil Koeppel. That is how got familiar with Seito. I've met your teacher a few times through Mr. Koeppel. Mr. Lindsay is a very strong karate-ka man. I hope he is doing well. I can mimick most of the Seito forms but I in no way consider myself a Seito practitioner.

I had my boy in our Goju dojo but I didn't think it was working out well. I rode him too hard. He liked karate but not the old man's constant criticism. I can teach him Judo and we have a great time. But karate seems a lot more tedious and I was always on him pretty hard about correcting the little details that would slide by as being acceptable for beginners. Lucky Phillips is my neighbor and he teaches Seito at a dojo he has behind his house. He is a good teacher and a good man and him and my boy have a good student teacher relationship. My wife or I can just drop him off there and get out of Dodge and let the boy train in peace away from the old man. He still had an interest in karate so it seemed to be the best solution for me. In fact I need to leave and pick him up soon.

Take Care

CEB
25th March 2003, 01:15
Originally posted by Machimura
...
That segment of Seisan is suppose to teach Taisabake right? At least in Matsumura Seisan that is. ...
Bryan Cyr

Different kata though they do have a similar flavor. It does teach a body but it is a body change that is fairly common to Goju. The main thing get from that move is the body change combined with a nagashi uke into an arm wrapping technique done with the left hand /arm combined with a strike or grab to the throat done simultaneously with the right hand. I guess I'm really into the whole picture as opposed to being a concept guy.

Machimura
25th March 2003, 09:23
That is so cool to see you encouraging your son to train in the Okinawan arts. It's also nice to hear that your son enjoys training. I can't wait to have kids of my own, and I hope they share my passion for MAs. Your son is probably already a good karateka, but starting out young in a strong system with a good teacher-- he will be awesome! BTW, Mr. Lindsey and I thank you for the kind words.

You seem like a good person and a wonderful father. I know I can be an a-hole on ebudo at times, but don't take it personally. I always respect and look forward to hearing what you have to say. You seem to be truly blessed in life. Thank you again for your courteous manner. Have a great week!

Bryan Cyr